Last week, we started a short series on fighting fear and anxiety with the capable of ammunition of the gospel. Fear unchecked has the potential to paralyze us, rendering even the most ardent follower of Jesus powerless.
In Isaiah 41, God brought us face to face with hope. Here God spoke words of hope to his people Israel when facing the real trial of pending captivity at the hands of Cyrus and the world dominating Persian empire.
God addressed the pending terror with repeated admonitions not to fear. It would be natural for Israel to dread what was coming and deduce that God had abandoned them. His words of hope were based in the character, nature and actions of God Himself. Last week we examined the first reason not to fear, as God told Israel “I will be with you.” (v 10) God’s next word of comfort in trial, was not only is God with them, but He reminds them “I am your God.”
In the ancient world, every nation had their god or gods. Each victory on the battlefield was regarded as a triumph of their deity. Yahweh had shown Himself as the conquering Victor of the earth, having defeated even the most powerful nation Egypt on behalf of His people. Time and time again God had demonstrated His unmatched power, against the enemies of Israel in what seemed to be overwhelming odds ,from the Red Sea and the Egyptians, Gideon and the enemies of Midian, to countless battles of David and the Philistines.
Not only is Yahweh unmatched in power, His commitment to them as their God was not dependent on their faithfulness, but on His personal character. His position as their God did not originate with their choice of Him, but His sovereign plan to create a nation and a people for Himself. Israel had repeatedly turned their back on Him in rejection for the false hope promised by other gods. Yahweh had repeatedly received them back, Often He sent hardship to turn them back to His benevolent and merciful arms of forgiveness.
This promise of a faithful powerful God remains true for those who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God and have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Despite our sin and lack of faith, He remains our God, a God who never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121:4). His commitment to us is based on the oath He Himself made (Hebrews 6:17, 18).
So the rising flood waters cause us to take hold of the hope set before us, the solid anchor of the soul, Jesus Christ. The seemingly overwhelming trials are designed at least in part to remind us that we would not trust in ourselves but in Him who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). In this, God is most glorified as the supreme God of gods and Lord of lords.
What false gods are you tempted to go to for aid and comfort? Who is your God?
What does taking hold of the hope set before us, look like in the details of your life?
Write down one verse of scripture that can be a verse of hope for you this week as you fight fear with the gospel.