Fear Not

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Focus Scripture 
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)  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.  
This verse is a promise from God to His 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 to 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 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!!!  
Monday  Key Word: Fear 
Isaiah 41:10 (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.  
Definition of fear:  noun an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.    

Connection to Us  
We do live in a world full of evil, but God does not want us to live a life full of fear.  
It is possible to live in this crazy, unstable world and not feel afraid, and God wants us to realize this.  We are God’s children.  He WILL protect us!  There is no anger or threat that can separate us from Him.  Even if our flesh feels threatened, our spirit WILL remain safe and secure in God’s powerful hands, but we must put our faith only in Him!  
We may get ourselves into uncertain situations at times and God may allow us to remain in that situation for a season.  As we are looking to be rescued, we must understand that the only person who can ultimately save us from this negative state is GOD alone.  We must fully place our faith in HIM!       
Tuesday  Key Word: Dismayed    Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)  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.  
Definition of dismayed:  noun disheartened (made less hopeful or enthusiastic); deprived of courage; to feel as if you are broken down  

Connection to Us 
Unfortunately, most of us have or will experience a horrible life changing event sometime in our lifetime.  Whether that be a financial hardship, loss of a loved one, problems with a relationship, or some other terrible thing; experiencing any one of these events has the potential to break us! If we allow the event to break us - we are essentially lying down in the pain and giving up.   
By doing this, the pain never eases and we never heal.  Isaiah 41:10 is written specifically for times of uncertainty or tragedy.  This verse is written to reassure us.  We do not need to feel broken.  We must understand that feeling “dismayed” in this verse does not mean the same as sadness.  
There is a difference between feeling sadness and feeling broken (dismayed).  Feeling sadness can be a natural and healthy emotion, but feeling dismayed is not.  When a person feels dismayed they feel as if they can’t go on.  They have no enthusiasm about their future and lack the courage to even try to move forward.  
God does not want this for us!  HE IS OUR GOD!  HE LOVES US!  HE IS WITH US!  We must not lie down in our sorrow or fear!  We must TRUST God to help us through it…  and we MUST KEEP MOVING.  
Wednesday  Key Words: Strengthen, Help, Uphold    Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)  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.    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, we should not just focus on just one of these in our devotion time today.  It is important for us to focus on all three of these powerful words as well.  
Definition of strengthen: verb to make something stronger so that it will take more weight or force without breaking.     Definition of help: verb to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist.    Definition of uphold: verb to lift up, to support; to sustain; to keep from falling; to maintain.  

Connection to Us  

 As we read the three words for today along with their definitions we should notice something huge. Each definition involves GOD JOINING WITH US in our struggle!  
First, 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 should really touch us now!   
Just as a brace can be used to cover and strengthen a weak joint, our Heavenly Father will cover and strengthen us!  
Next, 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 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”- should make us feel so safe and loved!  This word shows that God will never be too far away from us to help. No matter the amount of danger or pain that we experience, our Heavenly Father is willing to personally JUMP IN, experience the tragedy with us, and literally help to PULL US OUT!  

Finally, think about the word “uphold.”  This word should bring to our minds an instant connection.  When we read it, we may visualize a toddler just learning to walk.  This toddler 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 his 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 many ways we are like a child just learning to walk. There are times that we should land flat on our face, but God upholds us.  He is always RIGHT THERE willing to keep us from falling!  
As we read our Bible verse again let’s visualize our Heavenly Father’s hands.  Let’s see Him walking beside us with His arms stretched out- ready to grab hold of us and steady us whenever we ask.  
Our Heavenly Father LOVES US SO VERY MUCH!  
Thursday  Key Words: Righteous Right Hand  
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)  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.  
Definition of righteous: adjective morally good    Definition of right: adjective of, relating to, or located on or near the side of a person or thing that is turned toward the east when the subject is facing north (opposed to left).    Definition of hand: noun the end part of a person’s arm beyond the wrist, including the palm, fingers, and thumb.  
Connection to Us  

What do the three words (righteous, right, hand) mean to us when used together in the Bible?  Let’s look at the clues from another verse in the Bible:    Mark 16:19 (NKJV) After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.  

Notice in this verse who sits at God’s right hand… JESUS! Jesus sits or stands at God’s right hand, and HE is the righteousness of God.      This is SO AMAZING!  First in this week’s scripture, God promised us Himself, His presence, His strength, His help, and now, towards the end of the verse He also promises us Jesus!  
We have God’s right hand, JESUS, with us at all times!  
Read this week’s verse again with this new realization in your mind. Isn’t is incredible just how much God truly loves each one of us.  We have God’s RIGHT HAND MAN personally holding us UP and keeping us from falling!    right-hand man: noun an indispensable helper or chief assistant, or partner……JESUS    

Week Four SOAP Activity

SOAP Reflection    We have spent this week reflecting on different key words from our focus verse. It is now time for you to make this verse personal.  Let’s now allow the Word of God speak to us.  One way to do this is to use the SOAP method as we read the Bible.   
Let’s do this now.  
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)  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.