Isaiah 41:10 New King James Version (NKJV)
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.
History Behind this verse
The book of Isaiah is full of God's righteousness: both His warnings against those who sin and worship false gods and His hope for those who worship and follow Him as the ONE TRUE GOD.
Verse 10 contains promises given to God's children that HE will ultimately save those who turn to Him!! :)
The book of Isaiah was written by Isaiah himself. The name Isaiah means: "salvation of the Lord" or "the Lord is salvation." Isaiah was chosen by God to be a prophet. As a prophet, it was his role to be God's messenger.
God spoke warnings and promises to Isaiah and in turn, Isaiah delivered those messages to the Israelites. Just as Christians of today are God's children, the Israelites in Biblical times were God's children. Because we are still God's children, the warnings and promises given in the book of Isaiah are still very much relevant to us today. Like the Israelites, we will sometimes be fearful of our futures. We will be tempted to place our faith in our own hands or worse yet place our faith into the wrong hands. God wants us to place our faith and trust in HIM alone.
During the years that the book of Isaiah was written, the Israelites were living in exile in Babylon. God had allowed this exile of His people as a way to punish them for their sins and bring them back into fellowship with Him. The Israelites had brought their captivity in Babylon on themselves, and it was now time for God to save them. Everything that happened and was about to happen to the Israelites was in God's control. From the beginning of their existence, the Lord had established the Israelites as His chosen people. Because of this He would always protect them. As different kingdoms began threatening to overpower Babylon, the Israelites began to fear and doubt their safety. They did want to be freed from their bondage, but they were fearful about their future. They did not want to escape one bad situation only be placed in a worse situation. They feared falling into the control of a man named Cyrus. Cyrus was the king of the Medo-Persian empire and he was the one powerful enough to defeat the Babylonians. The problem was that Cyrus was not a nice man. God's children were worried that they would be freed from Babylon only to be taken into captivity by Cyrus. Because they were not fully trusting in the Lord, they were tempted to turn to idols for their salvation. Depending on the Lord and not on man-made idols was vital for God's children. God could save and restore them if they would trust in Him! The upcoming fall of Babylon to Cyrus would take place according to God's plan. God was going to use Cyrus as an instrument for His PLANS. God knew that Cyrus would restore the nation of Israel and that he would recommission the rebuilding of their temple. The Israelites had nothing to fear! God was and is ultimately in control of EVERYTHING and EVERYONE... even those people who do not call themselves HIS. All can be used by God in HIS ultimate plans and for HIS Glory! To reassure the Israelites, God sent one of His prophets to speak to them about their situation. The Lord needed His children to TRUST Him. He made a promise to their father, Abraham that they would become a great nation. God would fulfill that promise. He alone would protect them and ultimately save them from their enemies, but they must only worship Him. It was vital for them to turn to Him and not to turn to useless idols for their security. God needed them to realize that their idols could not protect them or save them. God was warning them not to rely on false gods or idols for their salvation. God alone can save!!!
All three of these words are SO POWERFUL! God could have chosen any ONE of these to make His point, but He chose to add all three to this scripture. Likewise, I think we should not just focus on just one of these in our devotion time today. I think it is important for us to focus on all three of these powerful words as well.
Strengthen- to make something stronger so that it will take more weight or force without breaking
Uphold- to lift up, to support; to sustain; to keep from falling; to maintain.
Connection to us:
When I read the three words for today along with their definitions I notice something.
Each one involves GOD JOINING WITH US in our struggle!!
First, I consider what it looks like to "strengthen" something. Strengthening usually involves adding a stronger layer to something that already exists- the weaker object isn't replaced or exchanged in the process, instead it is reinforced by something else (like a covering) : for example, to strengthen a weak ankle, some athletes wear a brace over their ankle to prevent further injury. Seeing the word "strengthen" in this verse really touches me now! Just as a brace can be used to cover and strengthen a weak joint, my Heavenly Father will cover and strengthen me!
Next, I focus on what it means to "help" someone. Help involves action! To truly help someone, you have to somehow enter their struggle and offer assistance. This is seen in many different instances. One example that I thought of off the top of my head is this: if a person is drowning- someone MUST enter the water either by jumping in themselves or by throwing something into the water to pull the victim out. Either way- To truly help they WILL GET WET! Looking back at our verse and considering the action behind the word "help"- now makes me feel so safe and loved! I realize that God will never be too far away from me to help! No matter the amount the danger or pain that I experience, My Heavenly Father is willing to personally JUMP IN , experience the tragedy with me, and literally help PULL ME OUT!!!!!
Finally, I think about the word "uphold".... This word brings an instant connection to my mind. When I see it, I visualize a toddler just learning to walk. The child is so excited and ready to run, but his legs are not quite coordinated enough to keep up. The little one's parents lovingly hold onto his hands as he practices this new skill. They even allow the child to try taking a few steps on his own, but they are always right there ready to assist him when needed. In ways I am like a child just learning to walk. There are many times that I should land flat on my face, but God upholds me. He is always RIGHT THERE willing to keep me from falling! As I read our Bible verse again I visualize My Heavenly Father's hands. I see Him walking beside me with His arms stretched out- ready to grab hold of me and steady me whenever I ask.
Our Heavenly Father LOVES US SO MUCH!!!!