No fear, live in faith is easier said than done sometimes. Our world has plenty of threats: terrorism, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, unrest, anger, disease, etc. Perhaps, there have been threats in every time and era in which faithful people have lived. We see this in Isaiah’s time.
God’s people are soon to be conquered by Babylon and carried away in captivity as a result of their idolatry, injustice, and years and years of forsaking the Lord. Tough times are on the horizon. The first part of Isaiah, chapters 1-39 (The Book of Judgment) speak to this reality. Please understand that they brought this upon themselves from decades upon decades of disobedience to God.
But then there’s the second half of Isaiah, chapters 40-66 (The Book of Comfort). God still loves his people and promises to redeem them and bring them home again.
To the faithful God says in effect No Fear, Have Faith.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
The Lord promises to be with them, redeem them, and return them to their homeland. Those who live in faith, no matter what happens, will know the presence, love, guidance, and redemption of the Lord.
We live in interesting and scary times but God is still Lord of all. We can rest in God’s strength and caring presence; he knows us by name. As Jesus often said, “Be not afraid.”