1God is our refuge and strength,
A[a] very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the [b]midst of the sea;
3Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the [c]tabernacle of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of her, she shall not be [d]moved;
God shall help her, just [e]at the break of dawn.
6The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
10Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
It’s been a very tense and unexpected week for the entire world. Nearly all life has come to a full stop in face of the events that have been unfolding. Some of us are worried, confused, stressed, afraid. It’s easy to become engulfed by the negative narrative that permeates all aspects of life today.
Don’t hide from it, don’t pretend that it isn’t real, rather address it and let us come to terms and look at the situation for what it is.
In the bible God tells His people “fear not” / “Be not afraid” numerous times. When you read the passages in context however, it quickly becomes evident that for those to whom God says it to had more than enough to fear.
The situations that awaited them were filled with uncertainty. Their anxieties and fear in face of their circumstances were fierce by any definition. At times it meant that as a nation they were outnumbered, or enslaved or enduring persecution. Some struggled with doubt or insecurity in themselves to face the impeccable standards and arduous responsibility to carry out His will to fulfillment. Certainly in every one of these circumstances the people of God carried a heavy burden upon their shoulders.
Other times the uncertainty or devastation was faced head-on by unstoppable faith and courageous individuals whose faithfulness and dedication remain unrivaled. Those individuals are few and far between. To them, he entrusted truths and understanding and the gift of revelation. Their lives, however, were filled by testing, pain, and sacrifice. Something that while admirable, isn’t envied even among the bravest by today’s standard.
Almost all of the apostles died under undiscriminating persecution. They faced it knowing that their deaths, although painful and treacherous, yielded in victory over eternal death having accepted Yeshua. They carried out their calling of the great commission and did so loving not their lives unto death. it is upon their heads on which the crown of life rests.
They held close to their convictions about God. They understood that even if their world came crashing down around them God had promised that he would not abandon them.
As always please read the entire chapter to fully understand the context, but as you will see here in
Isaiah 41:8-20, God’s promise is that we His people may never be put to shame and that we are forever under His wings of protection.
8“But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
9You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10Fear 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.’
11“Behold, all those who were incensed against you
Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing,
And those who strive with you shall perish.
12You shall seek them and not find them—
[e]Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you
Shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.
13For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
14“Fear not, you worm Jacob,
You men of Israel!
I will help you,” says the Lord
And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15“Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth;
You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small,
And make the hills like chaff.
16You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away,
And the whirlwind shall scatter them;
You shall rejoice in the Lord,
And glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17“The poor and needy seek water, but there is none,
Their tongues fail for thirst.
I, the Lord, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18I will open rivers in desolate heights,
And fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
And the dry land springs of water.
19I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree,
The myrtle and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine
And the box tree together,
20That they may see and know,
And consider and understand together,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
And the Holy One of Israel has created it.