“But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, ‘You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off’;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The Lord has just spoken in this passage of a king (Cyrus of Persia) coming from the east, “whom victory meets at every step,” making other kings “like dust with his sword” and stirring fear among all people. In His description, the Lord makes one thing clear: He is the one who has determined these events. “Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step?…Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last, I am he” (Isaiah 41:2,4).
After describing the response of those in other nations who seek to help and strengthen each other in preparation and fear, the Lord speaks verses 8-10. Beginning with, “But you, Israel.” There is a difference here. A difference between those who are the Lord’s and those who are not. This difference changes the response from one of fear to one of confidence and security.
Because the Lord who stirred up the king from the east, the Lord who is in charge of all these events – He declares that He is with them. He has not abandoned them for this other nation. No, they are His. His servants. His chosen. Those whom He called to Himself from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners. Assuring them in His calling that they are still His, that He has chosen them and has not cast them off.
So they have no need to fear. No need to be dismayed. For He is their God. And He will strengthen. He will help. He will uphold them in righteousness, with all the great power He has.
In further assurance, He tells them, “Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded…You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you’” (Isaiah 41:11-13).
He is the one who helps them. He, the ruler of all things. He, the one who stirred up this king and has given nations into his hand. He is with His people. He is for His people. He will never abandon, never fail to strengthen or help them. He has chosen them and will not go back on His word. Nor will He ever want to.
This is the God who has called us to Himself. These promises are not just for those in the nation of Israel all those generations ago. Because the God who issued these assurances never changes. His faithfulness is just as certain, His actions for His people are just as sure, and He rules over all things as powerfully and unquestionably as He always has.
We see this faithfulness in Jesus’ words in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out,” and in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Let us have confidence today, for the God who rules the nations, who holds all creation in His hand and purposes all things according to His will and the plans of His heart – the heart of the One who is light and in whom is no darkness at all – this God is for you. He is with you. He strengthens you, helps you, and upholds you with His righteous right hand. “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself’” (Acts 2:39).