By Susan Nero
“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 right hand.”
Every word in this verse has always led me to a sense of God’s Presence; His comfort, encouragement, and even His voice! As if He was speaking personally to me! I have always considered it to be a verse that the Holy Spirit would bring to my remembrance in times of loneliness, fear, weakness, or spiritual warfare.
When I began putting this “study” together, I prayed that the Lord would guide me in what He wanted me to share with you today and He provided this commentary in a book I was reading and I will quote it now:
“Today, our purpose is to ask ourselves; is His Presence recognized as it ought to be? Are we sufficiently anxious to obtain His help? We know that without Him we can do nothing! but by His power the most extraordinary results can be produced.” Do we always look up to Him both for our inner life and our outward service with respectful dependence?” We have only to seek Him, and He will be found. We only have to ask…and He will be there.”
I took this to mean: Look at this beautiful verse as containing 5 distinct promises available through the Holy Spirit to each of us! So I want us to look at what God’s Word has to say about each one.
Bible promises are God’s declaration of His love for us. So when we look at this first promise, let’s keep in mind 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.”
FEAR NOT! FOR I AM WITH YOU
Fear Not! is used in the Bible 302 times in 129 verses. This seems to be a constant command that God uses when He addresses those He loves. It often precedes God’s assurance to those who are fearful.
Paul wrote to Timothy “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Chuck Smith wrote: “When the Lord touches us with the awareness of His love for us, it should take away our fear. It should give us peace, and we will be strengthened. How powerful is the awareness that you are loved by God!”
It is written in Hebrews 13:5-6 and Psalm 27:1…He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.”
If we choose to trust God and say no to our feelings, we can say like David “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.”
Often times the enemy will throw old fears at you that can cause you to reflect on old fearful feelings. Instead ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance past victories over fear that He has helped you overcome.
One of my favorite verses is in 1 Samuel 17. When David in response to King Saul’s “You are not able to go against this Philistine (Goliath) to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth; David replied “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear; He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David saw the giant from God’s perspective: It wasn’t David against the giant, but the giant against the God David served. The Spirit of God gave David this perspective, and He will give it to us when we ask.
So the first thing God tells us is not to fear or be discouraged and then follows this command with the reason why we should not fear: that He is with us always. The reason we should not fear is that He is there…always!
Our second Promise in this verse is:
BE NOT DISMAYED FOR I AM YOUR GOD
The Hebrew dictionary defines the word dismayed as, “to break down in discouragement.” It is also defined as , “to lose enthusiasm”, “be upset, distressed, worried, with sadness, or a sudden or complete loss of courage.” In Joshua 1:9 The Lord speaks to Joshua saying; “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.” Today He is with us wherever we go; His Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. What a promise!
The enemy does not want us to hold on to this verse:
I want to read an e mail that I received from ACLJ Jay Sekulow Chief Counsel: The subject is Joshua 1:9 BANNED
The verse from God’s Word that first comes to mind is: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ.” Philippians 4:6
I had a call from a woman that used to be in my prayer group as I was typing this verse; she dialed the wrong number as she asked for Barbara; I said no this is not she it is Susan and she said, “ oh I dialed the wrong number, but I just needed to talk to someone, I have been feeling so sad and alone ….is gone for 5 days. I responded, “No you didn’t call the wrong number, I was just writing……….Philippians 4:6. Let me share with you what God had you misdial so you could hear.
“I WILL STRENGTHEN YOU”
…is a wonderful promise. When God calls us to serve, witness, even suffer through trial of rejection, illness and loss; when we stop and take stock of our strength we will find that we little or none. How many times are you conscious of your inadequacies? (In a day, I can’t count them!)
Too often, you may fail to remember the times of trial where you received such special strength that you were amazed with yourself! In the middle of danger you were strangely calm; in sickness you were patient. Even in bereavement, you were broken but unusually comforted. God promises to surround you with His presence in these situations. He knows your need for His strength and His promise is that He will give it to you. Looking back on these experiences we realize He was there. This promise of strength secures you for what you have to endure.
“I WILL HELP YOU”
Last summer, God gave us a 6 week study entitled, “The Helper.” It was from a book by Catherine Marshall and blessed us by helping us to come to know the Holy Spirit and His ministries more intimately. Many of you were able to be here, so I will only touch on the basic scriptural teaching.
In essence the Holy Spirit is IMMANUEL - God with us today! He is the answer to our deepest loneliness. Whatever we are feeling; whatever our circumstances/trials - we are never alone. The Holy Spirit iS God’s promise. The last earthly words of Jesus (Immanuel) were “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Charles Spurgeon writes:
“At the time of Jesus’ ascension, the Holy Spirit became the head of the present Church and His power became available to His children. He remains at this hour the present Immanuel - God with us, dwelling in and with His people. He was given to God’s people to remain with them forever.”
Even though we may grieve the Spirit, He will not leave us. We however can “forget” to depend on Him, and become overwhelmed by our circumstances; we can “walk away” but He is always waiting for us to turn back to Him.
“I WILL UPHOLD YOU WITH THE RIGHT HAND OF MY RIGHTEOUSNESS”
Isaiah 40:10-11 tells you that when you are in “battles” “Behold!, the Lord shall come with a strong hand.” but when you are tired, discouraged or overwhelmed…”He will gather (you) the lambs with His arem and carry (you) them.”
God’s arm is a mighty arm for winning our battle, but is also a loving arm for carrying His lambs. We can look at the Good Shepherd in scripture.
When David was in the wilderness he wrote; “My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8
And in a Psalm to the Lord, David wrote; “The Lord upholds all who fall; and raises up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14
All of these Promises that are found in Isaiah 41:10 reassure us that His power is available to “all who call upon His name! How can we fear?
Thank you Lord for your encouragement today! Amen