3/08/2016

No Reason to Fear (Isaiah 41)


"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you," declares the Lord, "and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel" (Isa 41:10, 13, 14, NASB).

Fear. If we are able to not fear about anything regarding our life and future, life would be such a happy, joyful and peaceful endeavor. But alas, fear arises in our hearts, often seemingly out of nowhere. We fear everything from vague uncertainties to an increasingly likelihood of a Trump presidency!
If Isaiah 40 is about starting over on a new day, Isaiah 41 is about starting over with a new attitude. Isaiah 40 is about having hope. Isaiah 41 is about having confidence with no fear.

God and History (41:1-29) [Derek Kidner, New Bible Commentary]
  1. God's challenge to the nations  (1-7).
  2. God's servant reassured (8-20).
  3. God's challenge renewed (21-29).
God, his people, and the nations (41:1-29) [Barry Webb]
  1. The nations on trial (1-7, 21-29).
  2. Israel, God's servant (8-20).
The Reality of God in an Unreal World (41:1-20) [Ray Ortland, God Saves Sinners]
  1. God alone activates history (1-7).
    1. God invites the nations to settle a question (1).
    2. Who controls history? "I, the Lord" (2-4).
    3. The nations flee to their idols (5-7).
  2. God alone emboldens us (8-20).
    1. He upholds his fearful servant (8-13).
    2. He transforms his worm into a threshing sledge (14-16).
    3. He refreshes his thirsty pilgrims (17-20).
John Oswalt (41:1-20).
  1. God's Challenge to the Nations (1).
  2. God's Activities as Evidence (2-7).
  3. No Need for God's People to Fear (8-20).
Alec Motyer (41:1-20)
  1. Who rules the world? (1-4)
  2. A hopeless reaction: Make new gods! (5-7)
  3. By contrast: Life with Yahweh--three pictures (8-10).
    1. Picture 1: Victory for the weak (8-13).
    2. Picture 2: Transformation for the negligible (14-16).
    3. Picture 3: Provision for the needy (17-20).
  4. The wider Gentile world (21-29).
    1. Gentile need exposed (21-24).
    2. Yahweh by contrast (25-27).
    3. Summary in conclusion: The plight of the Gentile world (28-29).