Isaiah was an Old Testament prophet. He served the Lord through some of the most uncertain times in Israel’s history. Politically the nation was in constant turmoil. Economically the people were suffering. Public safety was at an all time low because of threats from enemies. It was a difficult time to live in Israel. It was even more challenging if you were a follower of Yahweh. Political leaders and social culture had turned their back on God.
It was under these circumstances Isaiah received these words from the Lord:
The Lord has said to me in the strongest terms: “Do not think like everyone else does. Do not be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors will be the end of you. Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else. He will keep you safe. (Isaiah 8:11-14a)
Ironically, there are some similarities between Isaiah’s time and our current world. Our nation has been punched in the gut. Politically, financially, and socially our part of the world is hunched over trying to catch its breath. Spiritually, our nation and culture are rapidly moving farther from God. But amazingly, we can find hope and instruction from God’s Word.
I see three things God told Isaiah that give us light for the times in which we live.
Do not think like everyone else does. Well…this is just hard to do. We live in an information world. Information drives the way we think. When we watch the news or open our search engines, networks and journalists are sharing information formatted to shape the way we think. The only way I know to not think like everyone else is to incorporate a steady flow of God’s Word into our minds. Read or listen to God’s Word daily. God’s truth always outshines the information coming from society and will change the way we think.
Do not be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors will be the end of you. In the midst of this crisis, government leaders and medical professionals have been making decisions that impact almost every detail of our lives. The routines of my life today look nothing like the routines that existed 3 weeks ago. Is it that way for you? It creates a sense of powerlessness…and that is uncomfortable. Powerlessness, mixed with a lack of trust for people in power, is a breeding ground for conspiracies, conjecture, fear, and anger. To overcome those toxic influences, we must trust that God is in control. We must trust that He is using the authorities and systems of the world (with all their faults) to accomplish his redemptive plan.
Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty…He will keep you safe. We have options when it comes to being afraid. Your fear may not be getting sick. No, you fear keeping your job. Your job might be secure, but someone you love is in a high risk group. You fear for their health. Maybe you fear the social changes that will be made moving forward. Perhaps your pet peeve is the lack of respect some have for social distancing, and therefore, you fear their insensitivity endangers your well-being. I could go on because we have many options of things to fear. God says we only need to fear one thing: HIM. Fear of God does not create fright. Proper fear of God is respect and awe. We should revere him to the point of submitting our lives to his authority. If we fear him that way, we have nothing else to fear and he will take care of us.
I don’t know about you, but when I read this guidance from God’s Word, I feel hope. I feel as though someone before me has been where I am today. God helped them. He will help me. He will help you.
Here is a song that has encouraged me. Enjoy!