For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ Isaiah 41:13
“Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,” says the Lord And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, And make the hills like chaff. Isaiah 41:14-15
God, the master of history, has chosen the descendants of Abraham as his servants. A good master, God will not desert them. Those who rage against Israel will ultimately be disgraced, for God himself will help his people. In contrast to dumb idols, God is able to tell what the future holds. When the future is transformed into history, unveiling what God revealed beforehand, all will shout, “He was right!”.
The message of comfort found in chapter 40 provides the context for this chapter as well. In that chapter Isaiah spoke of God; here God Himself speaks. While He speaks to the nations, the message is intended to comfort Isaiah.
God speaks from a courtroom, in which He can take any legal role, for the Lord is the injured party, the prosecutor, and judge (41:1). The Lord goes onto describe the stunning rise of Cyrus of Persia, a historical movement of which the Lord is the author (vv. 2-7), an event that Israel, in captivity in Babylon, is not to fear. Israel’s enemies will be put to shame, and her desperate needs will be met by God.
The trial scene resumes, with the gods of the nations in the dock (vv.21-24). They are proven powerless and flase, for only the Lord can predict beforehand what will happen (vv.25-29). These verses like the first verses of this chapter predict the rise of Cyrus, which lies 150 years in the future as Israel writes.
Key verse. 41:10: Tomorrow’s wars hold no terrors for those God has chosen as His own.
Personal application. You have trusted God with your eternal soul. Trust Him with your tomorrow as well.
God’s Assurance to Israel
41 1 “Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, And let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; Let us come near together for judgment. 2 “Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, And made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, As driven stubble to his bow? 3 Who pursued them, and passed safely By the way that he had not gone with his feet? 4 Who has performed and done it, Calling the generations from the beginning? ‘ I, the Lord, am the first; And with the last I am He.’ ” 5 The coastlands saw it and feared, The ends of the earth were afraid; They drew near and came. 6 Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, “Be of good courage!” 7 So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, Saying, “It is ready for the soldering”; Then he fastened it with pegs, That it might not totter. 8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend. 9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ 11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. 12 You shall seek them and not find them– Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing. 13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ 14 “Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,” says the Lord And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15 “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, And make the hills like chaff. 16 You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, And the whirlwind shall scatter them; You shall rejoice in the Lord, And glory in the Holy One of Israel. 17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water. 19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, The myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine And the box tree together, 20 That they may see and know, And consider and understand together, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.
The LORD’s Challenge to False Gods
21 “Present your case,” says the Lord. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob. 22 “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. 23 Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together. 24 Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination. 25 “I have raised up one from the north, And he shall come; From the rising of the sun he shall call on My name; And he shall come against princes as though mortar, As the potter treads clay. 26 Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? And former times, that we may say, ‘He is righteous’? Surely there is no one who shows, Surely there is no one who declares, Surely there is no one who hears your words. 27 The first time I said to Zion, ‘Look, there they are!’ And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings. 28 For I looked, and there was no man; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word. 29 Indeed they are all worthless; Their works are nothing; Their molded images are wind and confusion.