Category Archives: Isaiah

If you will trust, you won’t be afraid

Isaiah 12: 2

“Surely God is my salvation;  I will trust and not be afraid.  The LORD, the LORD is my strength and my song;  he has become my salvation.” NIV

For the last few weeks, I’ve been making steady progress on the  list of “fear nots” in my King James concordance.  That’s been a pretty easy way to find reminders not to worry.

But, this morning, I thought that I would go back to Psalm 119, where I know that there are still reminders that I’ve not yet catalogued.

However, when I opened my Bible,  I found myself in Isaiah 12, and something told me that there was a reminder here, too.  I began reading and found this beautiful, beautiful verse, “Yes, indeed — God is my salvation, I trust, I won’t be afraid.  GOD — yes GOD! — is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation!” MSG

My eye is drawn to the capitalization of all of the letters in “Lord” and “God” in these two translations.  When I looked the word up in my Hebrew to English dictionary, it means LORD, again with all capital letters.  This is very interesting to me.  At a minimum, this emphasis calls attention to the power of the one true God in whom I trust.

I am at a time of transition in my life.  Things are not what they always have been, and I don’t yet have a clear picture of what they can or will be.  But now, right now, as I stand in this moment (which is all I really have or can control) I know that GOD is my salvation.  I trust Him.  I will not worry about the rest of today, or tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year.  I won’t let the uncertainty of all of it frighten me.  I will take steps to move forward and I will pray His blessings on my efforts.  Regardless of what happens next, my ultimate future is assured.

That’s a great comfort today.


Filed under Fear, Hope, Isaiah, Old Testament, Trust, Worry

You weren’t chosen to worry

Isaiah 44:2

This is what the Lord says — he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you:  Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.  NIV

I love this verse.  The message is simple and straightforward.  God made us, He will help us, He chose us … first the Jews and then, through Jesus, the rest of humanity.

We shouldn’t worry or be afraid.  God is on our side.

I was unfamiliar with the name Jeshurun, so I looked it up.

It is a Hebrew word that means “upright.”  That got me thinking.

According to, “upright” is an adjective meaning erect or vertical, as in position or posture; raised or directed vertically or upward; raised righteous, honest, or just: an upright person; or being in accord with what is right: upright dealings.

One of the most challenging things to me about this project is the need to express my thoughts in words.  I am not, by nature, a person who delights in writing things down.  I’m a visual learner, and I tend to store what I’ve learned in pictures, much more than in sentences.  As I’m working my way through the Bible and through all of these reminders not to worry, I am gaining an intense appreciation for the written word.  It is amazing to me how the Bible can use the smallest phrases to have the largest impact.

Jeshurun.  Upright.

To stand upright, to be able to lift our faces to God is a true gift.  To live uprightly is a blessing.  And, to be in accord with what is right is an assurance for eternity.

That’s a good thing to think about today.


Filed under Fear, Isaiah, Old Testament, Worry

God has redeemed us

Isaiah 41:14

“Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. NIV

When I first read this verse a couple of days ago, I didn’t want to tackle it.  So, I worked my way through this chapter for the last two days, right up to the point of this verse.  But now, here I am … God calls Israel a worm.

This morning, I thought, “maybe I’m not reading it right … maybe there are other things that ‘worm'” could mean beyond fish bait.”  So, I went to the Hebrew dictionary in my concordance.  Turns out, this word can mean worm, or even worse, maggot, or scarlet thread.

So, then I went to The Message, honestly, in hopes that the translator had chosen “scarlet thread.”  But, that’s not the case.  However, the translation was much more encouraging and easier to assimilate.  “Do you feel like a lowly worm, Jacob?  Don’t be afraid.  Feel like a fragile insect, Israel?  I’ll help you.  I, God, want to reassure you.  The God who buys you back, The Holy One of Israel.” MSG

Now, the question is, why am I feeling the way I am feeling about being called a worm?

The answer is pride.

I don’t want to think of myself as a worm, and I don’t want God to see me that way, but, if I am completely honest with myself, I can see that I am just as helpless as a worm apart from God.  I cannot save myself, I have no control over my own destiny, and I am at the mercy of my surroundings.  Granted, there is little chance that some ghastly oversized robin will swoop down and carry me back to his nest for dinner, but, in abstract terms, there are many other things that could have just that devastating effect on my life here.

When I adopt this perspective, I can see the incredible encouragement that this verse holds.  God cares for me, He redeemed me, He has plans for me … what a miracle that is!

For the last several days, we’ve had gorgeous weather and I’ve been working in a part of my yard that has been a bit overgrown.  As I was weeding, I noticed a real dearth of earthworms, and that the soil had become compacted.  I’ve been planning a trip to the bait shop to buy a box of earthworms.  I did this before in another bed, and it worked beautifully.  I brought the box of worms home, dumped them in a shady spot under an azalea, and released them to a seemingly happy future of digging and eating and eliminating waste — which will improve my garden — and making other little worms to do the same.

But for my buying them, that box of worms would have ended up being threaded, one by one, onto fish hooks (which I have to believe is a painful experience) and being lowered into a lake or a river only to be eaten by a fish.

Now that they and their family live in my garden, bad things might still befall them … one or two of them get carried off every day by a bird … sometimes when I’m putting in a new plant I slice one with my shovel, but, their existence is worlds better than it would have been without my intervention.

It strikes me that, as a Christian, I am exactly like one of the worms in that box.  God redeemed me, at a price much higher than the $6.44 I paid for the 15 worms I bought.  And, as a result, my future is infinitely brighter than the underside of that azalea.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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With God, everybody wins

Isaiah 41:11-13

“All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced;  those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.  Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them.  Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.  For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” NIV

I’m not a big fan of conflict.

I was never very good at sports, I was always the last kid picked in softball, I didn’t sign up for the debate team, I didn’t become a litigator and I have no interest in ever attending a boxing match.

But, conflict is a fact of life.  We don’t all see things the same way, and, when two people fiercely hold conflicting points of view, sometimes a fight is inevitable.  There are winners and there are losers and these verses are a reminder of that.

I have a dear friend whose young son joined a T-ball team.  As she patiently explained the rules and the concepts to me, she ended with a description of the end of each game.  Each child on both teams gets rewarded for having shown up and participated.  I was really surprised by that … I remember telling her that everyone doesn’t always win in life, and that teaching kids that “everybody wins” seemed counterintuitive to me.  Perhaps, a bit of my bitterness at having so often been the loser was showing through.  I didn’t ever get a ribbon (well, once in third grade I got a fourth place ribbon in the long jump … but only four kids entered the competition).

At first glance, this passage is a confirmation of that age-old winners/losers truth.  But, these verse also contain a powerful reminder not to worry.  Verse 13 says, “Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.  I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.  I’m right here to help you.'” MSG

Don’t panic.

When I looked up “panic” on, I found, “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.”

So, people are going to oppose us here.  But, God has a plan.

Things will be hard here.  But, we shouldn’t panic.  God’s team is going to win.

The beautiful thing about God’s team is that it’s not one that you have to wait to be picked for.  You don’t have to be the fastest runner, or the one who can hit the ball the farthest, or even the best at constructing an argument.  You must simply be willing to accept God’s gift of his son, and that’s it … you get a jersey and ultimately, a championship ring.  You DO get rewarded for having shown up and participated.

I will have to think about that today.

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God’s gotcha

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. NIV


God could not have been more clear.  What a beautiful, beautiful verse.

There is nothing to fear because God, the creator of the universe, the beginning and the end, is with me.

I shouldn’t worry, because He is my God, and once I’ve figured that out, everything else will fall into its rightful place.

The message translates that last phrase, “I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.”

I love that.

For a variety of reasons, I don’t have very good balance, consequently, I fall down a lot.

One of the most comforting things about my precious husband is that he gets that, and, while I always seem to find myself unprepared for the inevitable fall, he is on the lookout.  I can’t count the number of times that I have stumbled as we’ve been walking and he’s reached out and kept me from hitting the ground.  It is at those times that he always calmly says, “I’ve gotcha.”  Those words are such a comfort, and, it is exceedingly nice to hit the ground less frequently!

God has that grip on my life, my future, my eternity.

I’ll think about that today.


Filed under Fear, Isaiah, Old Testament, Worry

Look for signs of hope

Isaiah 35:4

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” NIV

Candidly, I am surprised at how many reminders not to worry I am finding in Isaiah.  I expected that there would be a lot in the Psalms … and I expect that there are even more there than the 38 that I have found there so far … but, this is the 15th reminder that I’ve found in Isaiah, and that was unexpected.

This is a beautiful verse.  This chapter seems to me to be a prophesy about the end of a long hardship.  In my Bible, it is called “The Joy of the Redeemed,” and it begins, “Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower — Like the crocus in Spring, bursting into blossom.” MSG.

I absolutely love crocuses.  I had never seen one until a few years ago, but, the first time I found one peeping up through the snow, I was so delighted.  It was the perfect symbol of hope.  Spring was coming, the winter was almost over, and soon, all would be green again.

As I think about this chapter, and specifically this verse in the context of my project, I can definitely see how people could continue to worry and to be fainthearted, even when signs of hope are evident.  It is at that time, when we can see the light, that we are called to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ and to encourage them with the news of what is sure to come.

Our God will come again.

When I was a kid, I think I was in about sixth grade, I was in a Sunday School class taught by a man and his wife.  For one reason or another, they decided to unpack Revelation for us, a group of 12 year olds.  Each week, we’d gather in our little room upstairs in the church and the couple would tell another chapter of the story.  I remember that it was fascinating.  I drank all of it in, and began looking for signs of the second coming.

It was an experience that in many ways has shaped my life.  When things get really unpleasant here, I find myself thinking, “Perhaps today God will come back and then I won’t have to (insert unpleasant experience here).”

As I got older, and I voiced this perspective once to some friends, I was really surprised when this had not occurred to them.  It was then that I realized what an impact those lessons had on me.

So, today, like all days, I will wait and watch for sign so of hope, and I’m ready … because I know “Our God will come!”

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His center holds

Isaiah 33: 6

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge, the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. NIV

I love that.  I love the way that’s written.  “He will be the sure foundation for your times.”

According to my chronological Bible, this verse was written in circa 700 B.C.  And, yet, in 2010, the words jump right off the page, as I am certain has been the case for centuries.   It doesn’t say “He was the foundation of my time” … it is an unequivocal statement for time and eternity … no matter who you are or when you read this, “He will be the sure foundation for your times.”

Now, that’s a reason not to worry.  God is here, he was there, and he will be wherever it is that I and the rest of the world are going next.

The Message translates this verse, “God is supremely esteemed.   His center holds.  Zion brims over with all that is just and right.  God keeps your days stable and secure — salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus, and best of all Zion’s treasure, Fear-of-God.” MSG

There is quite a lot to that.  It’s one sentence, and yet, so powerful.

In this case, according to my Hebrew dictionary, the word “fear,” is translated “reverence.”  When I looked up “reverence” on, it is “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.”

This verse certainly reminds me of the awesomeness of God.  He created all things, He keeps all things in order and yet, He cares for me.

I will think about all of these things today.

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It will wear you down

Isaiah 31:9a

Their stronghold will fall because of terror; at sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic.  NIV

Here’s another reason not to worry … eventually, it will wear you down.

The Message translates this, “Terrorized, that rock solid people will fall to pieces, their leaders scatter hysterically.” MSG

When I think about those “rock solid people” falling to pieces, the image that comes to mind is the Grand Canyon.  I am amazed at its size and scope.  My understanding is that it was once fairly flat rock, but, over time, the Colorado River wore it down until it is what we see today.  It was all caused by water.  Surely, a little bit of water must have, at one point, seemed harmless.  Not so.  The effects on the rock were devastating.

Worry is like that.  I might think that I can afford to do it every so often, but, really, that’s not true.

Worry will have an effect. Just like water causes erosion of rocks or beaches or whatever it is that it repetitively rubs against.

I need to focus on trusting God, and preserving me, just as He made me … not allowing myself to be worn down and broken by the worries of this world.

That’s what I’ll think about today!

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Storms pass

Isaiah 25:4 & 5

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.  For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the desert.  You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled. NIV

These verses, I think, are all about the relief and the perspective you get once a big worry has passed.  And, they are certainly an acknowledgement of God’s faithfulness and awesome power.  He is the refuge, He is the protection.

I love the perspective that the writer shares … he describes the sources of his worries as being, “like a storm driving against a wall,” and “like the heat of the desert.”  Both of these things have a seemingly infinite quality to them when you are experiencing them, but, once they have passed, you can see that at most times, no real harm was done.

When I was in college, a hurricane came through town.  We had plenty of warning that it was coming, and, hurricanes are not uncommon in my home state.  I lived in a large, concrete fortress that had been built in the 60s.  It had long, skinny floor to ceiling windows in each room which, I’m sure, the architect had found aesthetically pleasing, but they had long since ceased to be functional and, when I lived there, they had all been sealed shut.  They were not, however, impervious to the winds of the hurricane.  As the storm raged, those windows shook, and water poured through them at a pretty decent rate.  At one point, the water in my room covered the tops of my feet, and, I was on an upper floor.

But, my bed was nice and dry and the walls held.

In the morning, after the storm had passed, a glorious day dawned.  Trees had been uprooted, cars had been crushed, some people had lost their homes because trees fell through their roofs, but, no one had died. The town began busily putting itself back in order.

In most cases, my worries are just like that storm.  They might make a lot of noise to distract me, they might make my life a bit  uncomfortable or inconvenient, but, they don’t really affect me at the core of where I live.  I need to remember that the next time I face a big worry.  And, these verses paint a beautiful picture to remind me.  I no longer live in a concrete fortress, but, I live each day in the fortress that is Jesus Christ.

I am so thankful for that gift today.


Filed under christianity, Isaiah, Old Testament, Worry

You’re not in this alone

Isaiah 19:20

It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt.  When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them.  NIV

I almost skipped this reminder.  I don’t really understand the context of all of the verses around it, which is not unusual when I find myself in Isaiah.  This book is filled with prophecy, and I am in no way qualified to decipher it.

But, the second half of this verse stuck out for me, I know it is true, so, here I am.

And, this may be the most important of all of the reminders.  God is faithful.  He keeps His promises.

He promised to send a savior, and He did.  His son.

Because Christ lived, and died, and rose again, I have absolutely nothing to fear or to worry about.

One part of this verse that I find really interesting is, “When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors.”  This is something that I’ve seen over and over again in many of the verses that I have found.  God wants us to cry out to Him.  He doesn’t expect us to “buck up,” or to bear the trials of this life on our own.  He knows it is hard, He lived it himself through Jesus, and He wants to fulfill our needs.

But, there is something about crying out to God that is important.  I think it may be tied to glorifying Him.  If I go to Him with my problems, and He solves them, I give Him the glory for that.  But, I think that He wants everything about our lives here to glorify Him.  Crying out to Him is an acknowledgement that I cannot accomplish anything on my own.

I will think about that today.

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