“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”
Isaiah 41: 10
Isaiah 39-41 (Psalm 118)
King Hezekiah fell from trusting God, (who saved him from death - 38), to trusting others and himself (he made implied alliances with the King of Babylon, the enemy of the Assyrians – 39). The consequences were great for God’s people but not for Hezekiah.
Scholars and theologians debate whether the next set of chapters are written by Isaiah himself, as foretold prophecy, or by a school of prophets following on from Isaiah’s teaching. God is quite able to ordain, and speak through either route! It is the message that is important; and what a message. Three voices speak of: a prepared path for salvation (40: 3-5, Mark 1: 1-3); the eternal Word of God (40: 6-8); and the Shepherd deliverer (40: 9-11). God’s nature absolutely guarantees these promises. In chapter 41, we see them affirmed through what Pastor Roger Ellsworth* calls ‘unbreakable cords of comfort.’ In verses 8-10, 14, we see these cords cemented in statements made by God; I have, I am and I will. God has chosen and called His people, He is their God and He will strengthen, uphold and help them.
*The God of all Comfort by Roger Ellsworth
For the ‘Big Picture’ on Isaiah click here for the second video
When we have nowhere else to turn, we will turn to God, and trust Him. There is a challenge in delivery though. Will we stay trusting God in the good times or like Hezekiah revert back to trusting ourselves and/or others? In stewardship of our gifts and roles in life, will we be only concerned for our times, or be equally concerned for our legacy and its impact on those that follow us (Is. 39: 8).
We are in times of challenge now, exasperated by a further form of lockdown. History, is however, in God’s hands; He IS working His purposes out in all that we face. We need to turn to God and trust Him. He has given us hope for the present, in the presence of Jesus Christ. He has made a way for the eternal Word of God to be our Shepherd and deliverer through these times. He provides three unbreakable cords of comfort for us, His children: He has called and chosen us; He is our God; and He will strengthen, uphold and help us.
The Question of Application
Where, and how, do you see God working in our current times? How does the present and future hope God gives us in Christ provide comfort, strength and help?
Lord, you bring good news of salvation; lift your voice that we may hear your love. You come to us with your reward of recompense; reconcile us to yourself. Be our Good Shepherd, tend and guide us; lift us close to your heart and gently lead us. Amen
From Isaiah 40: 9-11
O God, our help in ages past by Grace Community Church
Eagles Wings by Hillsong
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.