Meditations on “Fear Not”: 4. I am with you
Isa 41:10 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.’
Where to start, how do we choose which of the many ‘fear nots’ to start with? Well I am going to start with this one for two reasons. First, it is a verse that the Lord has used to bless and encourage me a number of time and so is fairly familiar. Second, because of the basic truth that it declares.
We have pondered in the last two studies on the fact that we are called to ‘fear the Lord’ and yet HE says that because He is with us we don’t need to fear. Let me give a somewhat silly illustration. I am out in the country and suddenly a tank appears. Not a petrol tank but a massive armoured vehicle. It is a seriously scary sight and I do not know why it is here or what its intentions are, when suddenly the top hatch pops up and a head appears, and a soldier calls down, “It’s all right, come on up, come on in.” I hesitantly scramble up a small ladder on the side and gingerly ease my way down through the hatch – and I’m inside a tank! Awesome! Guided missiles aside, I am totally safe. I feel good.
Now when we turn to Christ the Bible starts uses such words about our position as being “in Christ” (e.g. Rom 6:3,11, 8:1, 12:5, 16:7,9, 1 Cor 1:30, 2 Cor 1:21, 5:17, 12:2,19, etc. etc.) It is not only that “Christ lives in me,” (Gal 2:20) but also that I am ‘in him’. Now that phrase has a number of meanings but one of them, surely and clearly, is that we are part of his body, one with him, and you can’t get more intimate with God than that – Him in us and us in Him. That is the wonderful starting point here.
But then we come to what the Bible teaches us about this wonderful God that we have come to know – that He is love (1 Jn 4:8,16) and He is good (Mk 10:18) – that He doesn’t come to us and bring about this intimate relationship for no good purpose, but He does it to be able to express His love and goodness to us. I mentioned in a previous study the blessings and curses passages of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Put aside the curses side for a moment, because they are like a nuclear missile, a deterrent hopefully never to be used, and focus instead on the blessings. Look up and wonder at Lev 26:4-10 and Deut 28:4-13. This is God’s desire for His people, His intent for them, to bless and bless and bless them. Is God out to ‘get you’? No, He’s out to bless you!
So, “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.’” When we are tired and weary, He will come and strengthen us, when we are in trouble, He will come and help us and when we feel bowed down with worries and cares, He will uphold up, straighten us up, lift us up.
His “righteous right hand”? Right is the side of authority, the hand is the means of doing things practically, righteously is in accord with His perfect design, His perfect will, so He will come on our behalf, with all His authority that nothing or no one can withstand, and lift us up, strengthen us – and why? – because He is with us and we are His. How wonderful! How amazing! Praise His name!