“‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away. 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 hand.’” Isaiah 41:9–10

One of the great responsibilities of a dad is to give perspective and encouragement to his children. This role starts about the time they are testing their new walking skills. Good thing God gives little kids short legs because there will be a lot of spills! Unsure steps followed by quick tumbles often cause a youngster some measure of consternation. If daddy happens to be close by, those little eyes will often seek out his face for some sort of reassurance that everything is okay. Even if there was a little pain associated with the sudden stop, just a few reassuring words with confident fatherly tones and the joyful child is off and running again, until the next time.

In a similar way, believers regularly discover the need to search out the heavenly Father’s face and need to hear those inspiring words from His great heart, “Fear not!” Our text is an illustration of this grace from God. Isaiah’s immediate audience was the believing Jews who had been taken off into captivity. His wider audience is believers of all ages. His prophetic audience is the believing Jews who will be enduring the horrors of the Tribulation while they await the coming of the King and the ushering in of His millennial Kingdom. They will indeed need to be reminded that God has chosen them, drawn them from the farthest regions of the earth, and made them His choice servants. He will not discard them but has promised to remember them.

How desperately will they need to remember His next words, “Fear not!” Why not fear? He promises His abiding presence when they will feel all alone. He promises that He, the living God, has reserved Himself for them when they are feeling dismayed. He promises He will impart His strength to them when their natural strength is exhausted. He promises He will uphold them with His righteous hand when all justice and righteousness has departed the face of the earth. All these things are His to give. Can you imagine the moment these bedraggled and persecuted saints come across these words in that day? “Fear not” will rekindle hope and reverberate in their hearts, warming their devotion to Him.

Every time a believer reads the words “fear not” in the Holy Scriptures he is allowed a fleeting glimpse of his heavenly Father’s eyes and he hears the encouraging assurance that, with Him close by, there is nothing to fear. When some particular trial has landed on your doorstep or when there is some nameless fear that haunts your heart, trust God’s assurances.

The first instance of God’s reassuring words is found in Genesis 15:1 where Abram receives God’s covenant promise of land, seed, and blessing. “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” With God’s nature of keeping His word, Isaac also receives a similar encouragement in his hour of need (26:24), “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”

The key to living free from real fear is to live your life in the fear of God. Deuteronomy 6:2 and 18 reads, “That you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments…and you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers.” This brand of obedience is what allowed Joshua to hear God’s promise found in 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

David magnified these words in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” His words in Psalm 56:3f bridge the gap between the Testaments, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You…. In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” He knows he can depend upon God’s care because he had stated, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him” (34:8f).

The reason we know we also have this Old Testament style assurance from God is because of a great pair of verses: Psalm 118:6 is quoted in Hebrews 13:5f, “’I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”

When, despite your obedience, your sheep-like soul is disquieted within you, listen again to the words of our Lord found in Luke 12:22–32, “Do not fear, little flock….” And listen to the words of your Father, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you…. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned…. For I am the LORD your God” (Isaiah 43:1ff). Catch His reassuring glance, get up, and serve. Trust and obey.