“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 hand.”
O Anxious Soul! You who fear tomorrow…that great unknown…that dark cloud of uncertainty that lies ahead. You who expect to be undone underneath the enormous weight of difficulties you bear. You…who see more foes than friends, more conflicts than comforts, more dangers than defenses and more sorrows than solace. You who sense the depths of your own inadequacy and the boundless reaches of your own iniquity. O dear soul that treads within the valley of death’s shadow and that “walks in darkness and has no light (Isaiah 50:10).” Hear now the words of the Lord: “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 hand.”
First, notice that God Almighty bids your trembling heart to look at Him. Five times in one verse He directs our attention by “I.” “I am with you” “I am your God” “I will strengthen you” “I will help you” and “I will uphold you.” I…I…I! Oh dear soul, consider who it is that bids your gaze! The Eternal and Everlasting One invites you to look up from your present and momentary affliction. “I the Lord am the first, and with the last I am He (Isaiah 41:4).” He lived before ever your present trial was born and shall exist long after this affliction is gone. Men, angels and beasts all have their likenesses in the world. But this God who requires your regard has no equal in heaven or earth. “To whom will you liken Me and make me equal (Isaiah 46:5)?” Look up, dear soul, look up and take captive all the powers of your contemplation to consider Him, the Omnipotent Maker of all that is. “Unto You I will lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens (Psalm 123:1).” Let Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God-with-us, have your attention in the midst of this affliction. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).” Spurgeon put it this way “Thou lookest within, and thou sayest, “There is nothing acceptable here!” But look at Christ, and see if there is not everything acceptable there.”
Second, notice dear quivering spirit that this God is now speaking directly to you. He who has no equal, He who “measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span”, and He before whose glory angels cannot lift their eyes, is now in these words speaking pointedly and personally to your very heart. Five times He said “I” and now five times He says “you!” “with you” and “your God” and “strengthen you” and “help you” and “uphold you.” Do you hear this dear reader? Will you pause for only a moment to meditate on what this means? In this text heaven has come knocking at your door. Oh wonderful grace, Oh unexpected and blessed intrusion! It is more than could ever be hoped for, and were the words not so clear…more than could ever be believed. But it is true! The Lord God sees you, has come to you, and is speaking to you! Dying Joseph said to his brethren “God will surely visit you (Gen. 50:24).” The “High and Lofty” condescends to deal intimately with the weak and lowly. Our God draws near His afflicted children. He speaks to you. It is a mystery and wonder that the Lord even notices rebellious mankind in general, “what is man that you are mindful of him.” But who can adequately express the surprise that God Almighty should so stoop to speak to you and I? The disciples on the road to Emmaus were sad, but then “Jesus Himself drew near (Luke 24:15).” Paul was in prison, but “the Lord stood by him (Acts 23:11).” And it is to you dear saint, for whom Christ died and rose and comes again, that our Savior says “I will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5).”
Thirdly, dear reader, consider from our text that this God who speaks to you knows precisely how you feel. He knows your anxieties, for He says “fear not.” He knows your confusion, for He says “be not dismayed.” He knows, more fully than you or I will ever know, your weakness…and He says “I will strengthen you.” He knows you are helpless, but He says “I will help you.” He knows you have been brought low, and from heaven He reaches down and says “I will uphold you.” Dear child of God…no one on earth knows you like this! Oh be convinced of this dear soul, be more convinced of this than of anything else, that our Great High Priest knows your heavy heart and your present trial. Forget not that our Savior too, and more so than any man, was a “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3).”
Finally, as a conclusion to all these comforts, I would confirm them to your heart with two little words from our text: “your God.” You are, if you are in Christ, in an unbreakable and eternal relationship with God, sealed by the very blood of Christ, and written forever in the Lamb’s book of life. “I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands (Isaiah 49:16),” says the Lord. Through a faith implanted by heaven in your soul, by an irreversible transformation of your heart, and a down payment upon your eternal happiness by the Spirit of God Himself…He is your God! “What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)” Your God is also your Father. The door to His chamber is ever open to you. “I am the Lord your God (Num. 15:41).” Remember in the midst of “your trial” to listen to the voice of “your God.” Your trial is but for a moment, but “the Lord shall reign forever – your God (Psalm 146:10).”
Oh stranger who happens to read these words…is He your God? Can you say with the hymnist “Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home?” If not, then I implore you to flee to Jesus Christ, cast down your good works and your evil works and leave all and go to Him. He has a righteous for you, prepared in Christ, and free to all who come to Him by faith. Those who will not come have much to fear. But once embraced by God’s provision for your soul in Christ, then to you He says “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 hand.”