God is in control
God used Isaiah to give His people a proper perspective of the world events that seemed to victimize them. By this time they had been conquered by God's own decree and deported to Babylon. God had allowed this to humble and chasten His people who had become entrenched in the idolatry and sin of the nations around them. On behalf of God, Isaiah calls Israel to face the fact that they are not simply victims of random events by the rulers of empires. God is still sovereign and His hand is at the helm to bring about His purposes for His people. He used Babylon to chasten them, but He will now use the recent conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus, and the Medo-Persian Empire to send God's people home. History supports this fact. Cyrus will send Israel home to rebuild Jerusalem. God calls upon the surrounding nations, the "coastlands," to watch God as He restores His people through Cyrus, whom God will lift up (v. 2).
God gives the Jews a renewed identity and calling as a nation. They will not remain in a foreign land. They will be returned home. They have a future, no matter how impossible it seems. "You are My servant," God declares to them. "I have chosen you" (v. 8). Though scattered all over the known world by the Babylonian rulers, God will gather them back. God had not forsaken them.
Through His word God gives them a basis for faith that can be embraced with renewed hope. This hope can become the foundation for all who are called by God. First, God tells them (and us) that there is no reason to fear anything or anyone because He is with them. Jesus gives us this same promise when He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." It is because of this unshakable promise that we can boldly say, "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'" (Heb. 13:5-6).
Secondly, God told Israel to not be dismayed. We are not to be overwhelmed because we can't figure out how God will fulfill His promises to us. Relax! God has never been nor never will be limited to what we can come up with in our own minds to bring about His own will and promise for our lives. Third, He declares He will be the source of strength and help as we step into the work He is doing to bring about our destiny. We are not limited to our strength, but to God's, which is limitless.
Like God's people in Isaiah's time, we too can feel as though we are nothing more than pawns in the hands of the mighty forces of a sinful world. But it's ultimately not so for those of us who belong to God. God's servants are joined to God. He can override anything and use anything He chooses to bring about His purposes. Therefore fear not. Instead expect great things from a great God who uses all things together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes (Rom. 8:28).
-Calvary Church Boise
Created about 1 year ago