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Janet's Corner

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The Dependable Helper

Isaiah 41

 

Can you make a defense for why you should trust The Holy One of Israel rather than something else in you life – some other idol that you look to for help?  Isaiah presents two things in Isaiah 41 - the futility of trusting idols and the reasons to trust in God, the creator, the sovereign king, and redeemer. As he contrasts the idols and himself, He gives us substantial intimate truth of why we should trust Him and Him alone as our dependable helper.

 

This chapter opens up as a courtroom scene. God summons the nations before Him. God has the floor.

“ Be silent before me, you islands! Let the nations renew their strength! Let them come forward and speak; let us meet together at the place of judgment. (vs. 1)

In the NAS God calls the nations “to listen to Me.”

He has something to say.

1. Verses 2-3 God calls a nation to deliver His people from their captivity. Who else but God could do this before it happens? Verse two refers to the future deliverance of his people from their Babylonian captivity through Cyrus – the Medes and Persians would overthrow the Babylonians, allowing Judah to return to Jerusalem. God would raise Cyrus up and give him victory over the Babylonians for the sake of restoring his people to Jerusalem. He is omnipotent and sovereign.

2. Verse 4 God has done this from the beginning – “I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last I am He.” He is the beginning and the end. The Message says in everyday language, “He is first on the scene and the last to leave.” He is infinite, eternal and unchanging and omniscient.

3. Verse 5-7 then God turns to the nations and says this is what you do when you see my hand and are afraid:

a. You look to each other to find encouragement  “Be Strong.”

b. You try to overcome your fear by trusting idols that you make – hammering them out with your own hand- and have to secure so they won’t topple over.

 

Then God turns to His people. As He does, he speaks to us. Where do we turn when we are afraid?

1. Remember who you are! Vs 8-9. Did you see the account of the man who had amnesia? Somebody that knew him, had to tell him who he was. That’s just what God is doing here. He is telling us who we are to Him! Look at how he describes us – His servant, chosen, a friend, not rejected by Him!! Remember he is saying this to a people who have forsaken Him – who sinned and walked away from God. Who probably were wondering what their standing with God was. And God assures them that they are His servant, chosen and not rejected. Remember who you are when you are afraid!!

2. Don’t be afraid! Vs 10-14 I am your dependable helper and I have plans for you, as you trust me! What reasons does He give us?

a. I am with you

b. I am your God (don’t be confused or dismayed)

c. I will strengthen you

d. I will help you

e. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. This is a picture of Jesus extending himself into our lives and intervening in the affairs of man to help us! Not only did He do that in salvation, saving us from our sin, but He desires to intervene with his mercy and grace in our everyday life.

f. I will give you victory over your enemies – the ones who have it in for you or are working against you or pick quarrels with you. They are real losers – they will be brought shame and dishonor, they will be as nothing before the power and justice of God, there will be no trace of them.

And then he repeats again who He is to us – I am the LORD YOUR GOD! I will hold your hand!

When you were afraid as a child, did you reach out for someone’s hand to help you? Who do you reach out to now to help you when you’re afraid?

It His Word that breaks through our fear and gives us faith!

He says to us…vs 13…”Do not fear, I will help you.”

g. I have plans for you…Verse 14 identifies how we might be feeling or should be feeling, to receive the help of God. He identifies his people as worms.  A worm is absolutely helpless – at the mercy of anything it encounters. Jacob was nothing until he encountered God at the brook, wrestling with God until he was ready to receive God’s strength and help. We are helpless in God’s eyes and He wants us to bow our knee to the Lord our Redeemer. He does not say I will help those who help themselves, but instead he says… “ I know you are helpless and you need me! And I am here. I will help you… your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel!”

 He wants not only to help us, but redeem what the locusts have eaten in our lives. In a couple of weeks we will look at that name “redeemer” more closely. He wants you to receive what He has for you!!

Today He says, “If you are feeling helpless or hopeless, I’m ready to use you. Even in you helpless and hopeless state, I will make you an instrument in my hands, as you trust in Me. How does He describe the instruments He will make of us. He wants to make you a new and sharp instrument to bring those mountains in your life, down and blow them away!” (vs 15-16)

What is looming before you? God wants to give you new teeth to your faith to become what he needs you to be. And you will bring honor to him, glorifying him for what he has done, what you would never been able to do! (vs16). It is only God who can make us “somebody,” when we are a nobody.

It is only God who can take us from our helpless state and use us. He is a God who not only renews our strength, exchanging our strengths for His, but He has transforming power - making us an instrument that He can use.

h. I will provide. Vs 17-20 Are you thirsty?  Not satisfied with your life. Fearful of what lies ahead? Not knowing how you will make it through? The Israelites knew they had a long haul before them. God assures them that He will provide for them…”I will answer them Myself,..I will not forsake them.” (vs 17) Just as He provided water and shelter to the Israelites in the wilderness, He would provide what they needed – miraculously – again.

And He promises the same to you today – his provision. He sees your need! And will provide!! Why would God do that? It is because he provides for us with his powerful arm and his tender heart. But there is a greater reason. Because as His servants, His chosen ones, His redeemed – He does great things in our lives, so that others will take notice! (vs 20) So others will see and know God!

 

He has presented His case for who He is! Do you believe the truth of who He is? Or are there idols you are holding onto? Idols that seem more powerful or more knowing than God? Is there anything or anyone in your life whose strength, wisdom or advice you credit above God’s? Is there anyone or anything that will be with you from the beginning through the end?

 

God calls the idols to defend themselves in verses 21-24. ‘Present your case.”  Explain what has happened and what will come “so that we might know you are gods.” (vs 23) Do something, whether it be good or evil, so that we see proof of your power. The truth is that no one but God, the Holy One of Israel, can do this…Look at what Isaiah 44:6-8 says…

6 "This is what the LORD says— Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
 I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

 7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my people, and what is yet to come— yes, let him  

 8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?

You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."

 

Going back to Isaiah 41:24, God declares that the idols are of no account – they are nothing compared to God.

In verses 25-29 the idols are still being challenged and God restates the proofs of who He is and passes the logical sentence on the idols.

*He is all powerful and all knowing. He is able to bring about what he has purposed. Isaiah 46:10 states this truth“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

*There was no man or nation that could answer God’s questions about the idols. No one who could support their cause (vs 28). Therefore, God concludes that the idols were false, their deeds amounted to nothing and their images only brought confusion.

God has laid out his arguments – the futility of trusting in idols and the reasons to trust God.

After listening to God through the words of Isaiah, has your faith been strengthened – have you received comfort?

 

Do you have an idol in your life? Maybe it comes down to the fact that when you are afraid, you need to identify who or what you turn to?   Is there something other than the Holy One of Israel, your redeemer, that you look to for help? Whose hand or help do you reach for?

          God alone is your dependable helper!

Can you make a better defense for why you should trust in the Holy One of Israel rather than something else in you life –

Can you give a defense for the one in whom you place your trust?

Elijah said it well…”If Jehovah is God, then follow him, but if Baal be God, then follow him.”

 

God is your dependable helper. Let others see him through your life, as you trust Him.