Daily encouragement

Video by

Kat Brown

ACF Devo Team

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Isaiah 41:13

For I, the LORD your God,

   hold your right hand;

it is I who say to you, “Fear not,

   I am the one who helps you.”

Behind the Scenes

Isaiah 41 begins with God addressing idol-worshiping nations. God, through the prophet Isaiah, presents the nations with a series of questions, ending with, “Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning?” (Isaiah 41:4). The Enduring Word Commentary points out the continued relevance of this question, rephrasing it like this: “Who is in control of the course of human events?... Is there a point, a direction to human history? Is it just a random, meaningless combination of undirected events? Is it a cycle, fated to repeat itself endlessly? Or, is there a God in heaven who directs human events, always moving to a final resolution and fulfillment?”

God answers this question by declaring, “the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.” In response to this revelation of God’s power and sovereignty, Isaiah 41:5 tells us the coastlands are afraid and the ends of the earth tremble. Those who oppose God have good reason to fear, but when God turns to address his people, his “servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend,” his message is very different: “fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10, emphasis added).

Make it Real

In the sports world, it’s not uncommon to hear an uneven match-up described as a David-and-Goliath scenario. In 1 Samuel 17, the Philistines were confident; they believed they had an unrivaled champion on their side. Israel too believed that Goliath could not be beat, so they “were dismayed and greatly afraid.” While many view David and Goliath as a classic underdog story, that’s not exactly right. David and Goliath were certainly unevenly matched, but as David knew, the odds were actually in his favor all along.

As he stood defiantly before Goliath, David boldly declared, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…the battle is the LORD's.” Underdogs prevail over their favored opponents because they play fearlessly, outmaneuver the opposition, work smarter rather than harder, refuse to stay down, etc. But David wasn’t relying on any of these underdog strategies to defeat Goliath. He was relying on God. He knew and believed what no one else on either side of the battlefield did–the true unrivaled champion was actually on Israel’s side.

Many of us go into each day feeling like the underdog. The demands of life, the uncertainties of the future, and our lack of control can leave us feeling dismayed or even greatly afraid. But God has given us his word to remind us of what we so easily forget: the unrivaled champion is on our side. The command, “do not fear,” is repeated several times in Isaiah 41. Each repetition of the command is followed by a reminder of God’s presence, power, and love for us: “for I am with you,” “for I am your God,” and, in today’s verse, “I am the one who helps you.”

Is there an area of your life where you are dismayed? Do you tend to dwell on worst-case-scenarios that leave you feeling greatly afraid? Let me be the first to remind you, the unrivaled champion is on your side. The one who is all-powerful and in control dearly loves you. He calls you chosen. He calls you his friend. I’ve often repeated this simple mantra from Jon Foreman’s “Your Love Is Strong” to my heart when I feel small in the face of life’s many giants: “Two things you told me: That you are strong and you love me.”

God is strong. He holds the world in his hands. And that same sovereign God loves you so much he took on flesh and endured the cross to bring you close to his side. He not only holds the world, he holds you, right in the palm of his hand. Fear not. He is the one who helps you.

End in Prayer

Loving Father, Strong God, thank you for holding me. Help me to be diligent in reminding my soul that you are for me. I do not need to give into fear. I will not be overcome. The battle is yours, Lord. Help me to face today in your strength, empowered by your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Written by

Hailey Schroeder

ACF Devo Team