Fear Not! God's Not Bluffing
“Don’t worry,” I tell my kids. “It’ll be fine.” There’s something about a parent’s confidence that helps anxious kids cope. Sometimes it works. When it doesn’t work I have to get creative.
God is creative in a different sense of the word—He actually creates things. It’s amazing enough to consider that the world, everything in it, and everything beyond it was brought about by the creative Word of God. But just as amazing is the creative work that He continues to do through His Word in our hearts and minds. Through His Word, “Fear not,” He creates peace amid conflict, stillness during chaos, and comfort during bouts of anxiety.
This creative word is at work in Isaiah 43:1:
“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.’”
If I’m being honest with you, sometimes I’m bluffing when I tell my kids, “it’ll be fine.” I don’t really know how everything will play out. I don’t always know if it’ll be fine or not. Sometimes they just believe me, but it often helps my kids trust my word if I can give a solid reason for my confidence.
For our comfort in Isaiah 43:1 the Lord gives solid reasons for His confident words of reassurance. When He says “for I have redeemed you,” He’s reminding Israel of His mighty acts of salvation when He delivered them from Egypt by the blood of the Passover lamb and through the waters of the Red Sea. With Abraham as our spiritual father, that history is part of our redemptive story, too.
But the ultimate redemption occurred in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. Why should you trust the Lord who invites you not to fear? Because He has redeemed you, not with corruptible things like gold or silver but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18). So we can confidently say along with the writer of Hebrews 13:6, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Dear Christian, the Lord has redeemed you. Fear not.
As an added comfort, the Lord says, “I have called you by your name.” You are not just one among many. You are one whom God has His eye on and knows by name. On the one hand God knows you by the name you have. On the other hand God knows you so deeply that He has given you a new name.
In Isaiah 62:4 the prophet writes, “You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married (Hebrew: Beulah); for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.” In Christ, the believers are no longer presented to God according to our sins which name us as forsaken and desolate. Rather, by Christ’s sanctifying work of the congregation He has “cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27). Having been baptized into God’s triune name (Matthew 28:19), you who confess your sins and believe in the risen Christ need not fear any scary thing because the God who redeemed you knows you so well that He renamed you as His own.
“I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” The last part of Isaiah 43:1, “you are Mine” is beautiful. We who were enemies of God according to our sin have become His very own children through the redemption He brought about through the Son. Our heavenly Father claims us as His own! Jesus Christ His Son is not ashamed to be called our brother (Hebrews 2:11)!
When the Lord says “Fear not,” He does it with the same creative power as when He said, “Let there be light.” By the powerful working of the Word of the cross the Lord lifts His countenance upon us (smiles at us) and gives us His peace. Fear not! Peace be with you.