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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary
Isaiah 41

 

 

Verses 8-15

The God of All Help

Isaiah 41:8-15

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

The Book of Isaiah is one that lives with us in every daily task and conflict. Sometimes we think that the Old Testament Scriptures are far separated from our needs, and that they have very little in common with twentieth century life. This, however, is altogether erroneous. People of all ages and all climes meet the same needs, have more or less the same environments, and have the same task from God.

Isaiah 41:1-29 displays God as a Friend of His people. Isaiah 41:8 says, "But thou, Israel, art My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, My friend." God first speaks of Abraham as His friend, and then He shows Himself to be a friend. We believe it. was Robert L. Stevenson who said, "Oh, my friend, teach me to be thine." Thus it is that we look into the face of our Heavenly Father and of our Lord and Saviour, and say, "Teach me to be Thy friend."

To Israel God says, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee." But God was no more with Israel in the days past than He is with us. Even now we can hear our Lord say unto us, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." He said unto Israel, "Be not dismayed; for I am thy God * * I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness."

So also does He say unto us, "All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth." With this He gave us the promise of His presence unto the end of the age. Israel is described in Isaiah 41:11 as having her enemies those who were incensed against her, but God says that these same enemies would be ashamed, confounded, and as nothing.

To Israel God now says, "I will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee." Then He says, "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."

How wonderful it must have been to Joshua when the Lord came to him and said unto him, "Only * * be strong and of a good courage * *: for the Lord thy God. is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

How encouraging it was unto the Prophet, Jeremiah, when God said unto him, "Be not afraid of their faces * * for behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land."

These promises of old, however, are made real to us today. When Peter and Paul as the two outstanding witnesses to Jew and Gentile went forth with the Word of God, they were invincible. Every foe that rose up against them was put to nought, until God's testimony through them was fully delivered.

Peter shook the whole Jewish nation, and of Paul and Silas it was said, "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also."

The Church of Jesus Christ needs to strengthen her feeble knees. She should gird up her loins. We are not a defeated, nor a depleted people. We are old in the train of a triumphant Lord. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

I. GOD HELPS US WITH HIS HANDS (Isaiah 41:10-13 )

In each verse before us we have the expression, "I will help thee." In each we have the expression, "I will hold thy right hand," or, "I will hold thee with the right hand of My righteousness." The ministry of the hand should always be the ministry of helpfulness.

1. He took him by the hand. In Acts 3:1-6 we read of how Peter and John approached the Temple at the hour of prayer. Without the Temple gate there was a beggar who was lame; he was asking alms. When Peter saw him he said, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." Then Acts 3:7 says, that he took him by the right hand and lifted him up. Peter encouraged the faith of the lame man by the touch of His hand; and the man entered into the Temple to praise God, There are scores of people today who need the touch of our right hand.

2. He led him with his hand. Mark 8:1-38 tells the story of a blind man at Bethsaida upon whom the Lord Jesus Christ put His hand. Christ put His hands upon him, and made him look up, then He sent him away. The man, who had hitherto been led by others, now saw every man clearly. Instead of being helped, he could now help, and lead others by his hands.

3. He stretched forth His hand. In this instance recorded in Matthew 14:31 , we have the story of Peter endeavoring to walk on the water. When he saw the storm, he was afraid and began to sink. He cried, "Lord, save me!" The Lord stretched forth His hand, saying, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" How often it is that we have felt the touch of the Lord's hand! It is the touch of encouragement and cheer. We felt ourselves sinking beneath some billow of sorrow, some testing, but the Lord touched us, and it seemed that new strength entered into us.

II. HE UNDERGIRDS US WITH HIS ARMS (Deuteronomy 33:27 )

1. The arm of His strength. In Isaiah 51:1-23 is a pitiful cry from a broken and depleted nation. Here is what Israel says, "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord." Israel seemed to have felt that God was asleep, because He had not been helping, as of yore. Israel remembered the ancient days when God helped Rahab, when He dried up the sea, and led His people with a mighty outstretched arm. Israel now is crying unto the Lord.

In Isaiah 52:1 we have God's answer: "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city." She who asked the Lord to awake was, in turn, asked by the Lord to awake. Then the promise was made of Israel's full and complete restoration, and Isaiah 52:10 says, "The Lord hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." Thus will God stretch forth His arm in behalf of His people.

2. The arm of His salvation. In Isaiah 53:1-12 the question is made: "To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" Following this query, the chapter outlines the story of Christ's first coming, His rejection of men, His being bruised and crushed. The whole message of this chapter is, as we see it, the answer to the query. In other words, the arm of the Lord's strength is His Calvary substitutionary work for His people. It was through His Cross that He sent forth His strength to redeem Israel and to redeem us.

3. The arm of His glory. In Isaiah 63:1-19 comes that remarkable statement of how God led Moses by His right hand, and with His glorious arm. He divided the water before them, and He made Himself an everlasting Name. Thank God that He leads us through with the arm of His strength.

III. HE GUIDES US WITH HIS EYE (Psalms 32:8 )

1. His eyes are all-seeing. 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us that "the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." The Lord is looking not only to discover the wicked and to bring them to nought, but He is looking to discover the righteous. He is strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.

2. His eyes behold the righteous. Sometimes we marvel when we remember that there is not a word but that He knoweth it altogether. He knoweth our ways, and He hears our cry. There is not anything that befalls us that He does not see it.

3. His eyes ponder our goings. It may seem strange to some of us that our God would be so interested in such poor worms of the dust as are we, and yet He is interested. There is not a hair of our heads that He has not numbered. There is not a condition in which we find ourselves that He is not there.

IV. HE HAS US IN HIS HEART (Exodus 28:28-29 )

He who holds us with His hands, undergirds us with His arm, guides us with His eye, likewise has us in His heart. It is a beautiful picture that is described in our key-text. Israel's high priest wore a breastplate. Upon that breastplate he bore the names of the Children of Israel upon his heart. Wherever he went he carried them. All of this is a picture of the heart of the Lord Jesus toward us.

1. His heart is a heart of pity. Psalms 103:13 tells us that "like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust."

2. His heart yearns. In Matthew 23:37 we see our Lord standing before His beloved Jerusalem, as He cried, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."

Did ever anyone love people as the Lord loved the nation which despised Him? In the Book of Hosea, we have the description of Ephraim and his disobedience. Then it is that the Lord says, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?" The Lord truly loves His people, and He yearns after them with all the yearning of a patient, tender, affectionate heart.

3. His heart of love never fails (John 13:1 ). As our Lord approached the Cross, He loved His own unto the end. There was nothing that could stop Him. For those who nailed Him to the Tree. He had a tender word. The men who wagged their heads against Him were the objects of His grace. The man who pierced His side had a part and a portion in the blessing of the blood that flowed from the wounds.

V. HE BEARS US ON HIS SHOULDERS (Luke 15:5 )

1. We dwell beneath His wings. In Deuteronomy 32:1-52 the Children of Israel are likened unto the eaglets whose nest is stirred up. Here a wonderful statement is found. In a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness, God led them about, He instructed them, He kept them as the apple of His eye. Then we read, "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him." We can almost see the mother eagle as she begins to stir up the nest. Her young, who thus far have never flown, look pityingly at her; but the nest is rent. As the eaglets begin to fall, they try to fly. Time and again she catches them. And so with us. Sometimes it may have seemed that everything had gone, and then we found that underneath us were His wings.

2. The government is on His shoulder (Isaiah 9:6 ). We now have the picture of a mighty "Man" holding on His shoulder a tremendous burden. He is none other than our adorable Lord and Saviour, and the burden is the government of the earth. He who was born the Son of David, and heir to David's throne, will come again as King of kings and Lord of lords.

3. We dwell between His shoulders. We now turn from the government of nations to the government of an individual tribe. Moses is blessing the tribe of Benjamin, and he said, "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders." How comforting it is to know that He who is able to bear the burden of the governments of the world upon His shoulders of strength, is also interested in the beloved saint who trusts Him!

VI. HE INSTRUCTS US WITH HIS WORDS (Acts 20:35 )

The Apostle is speaking of how he coveted no man's silver, gold, or apparel, and how he labored with his own hands. Then he calls upon the saints to support the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, who said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." To His words we should give our heed, and our perfect obedience.

1. His Words are a sure foundation. Matthew 7:24-27 gives us the story of a man building a house upon the sand. He is described as a foolish man. The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew so that his house fell. Another man, however, is described as a wise man, who built his house upon a rock. The rock withstood the madness of the storm. He who builds upon the sands, is he who hears the Word of God and does it not. He who builds upon the rock, is he who hears the Word and accepts it as authoritative and final. As the Rock on which he builds can never be shaken, neither can he. Heaven and earth may pass away, but not His Words.

2. His Words are Truth (John 17:17 ). Christ here says, "Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth." He who, with the spirit of Zedekiah, penknifes the Word of God, will find himself penknifing God, because the Word of God, is God: Christ is called the Word. The Word is forever settled in Heaven, and was given to man by the Holy Spirit through Prophets moved by Him. His Word is an inerrant Word.

VII. HE HEARS US WITH HIS EARS (Psalms 18:6 )

During the course of the sermon we have thought of God, His hands, His arms, His eyes, His heart, His shoulders, His lips, and now we close the study with the most wonderful consideration: His ears.

1. He hears us to deliver us. Psalms 34:1-22 describes the prayer of David, and how God delivered him from all his fears. He hears more than the sound of our voice; He hears the yearnings which the words carry. Do you remember when Peter was sinking, how he cried unto the Lord? Paul was in distress on a storm-tossed sea in a ship that had been driven about for fourteen days and nights; the Lord heard his cry and delivered him. In Judges we read that Israel cried unto the Lord seven times, and seven times the Lord heard and delivered her.

2. He hears the cry of the humble. Psalms 10:1-18 tells us how the humble cry unto the Lord and are heard. The proud, God will cast down; the humble He will exalt. God not only hears our cry, but He marks the spirit in which we speak to Him. God looks upon the heart. It was not so much the prayer of the prodigal which appealed to God as it was his mien, the spirit of humility in which he prayed.

3. He hears the prayer of faith. The Bible says, if any man doubt, "let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." When we pray we must believe that we shall receive the things for which we ask. There is one thing God demands of those who seek Him, and that is a perfect and an abiding confidence in His Word, His promises, and His power.

AN ILLUSTRATION

"THE GOD OF ALL HELP"

"How God Gives Help. At one of the Bible classes held for women at a mission station in. Korea, a bright, clean, earnest woman with a baby on her back, walked from her home to the meeting, a distance of one hundred miles. When she told of her journey and saw the astonishment in the face of the missionary, the devoted woman said, 'It was not difficult; God helped me along.'

"This simple and sincere expression of one recently brought from heathen darkness to gospel light has in it a great lesson for the Christian worker. Any hard service becomes exceedingly difficult when we attempt it in our own strength. How bright are the days and how cheering the reward when we can say of the most difficult undertakings that God helps us.

"Happy is the Christian worker, especially the missionary in the foreign field, whose burdens of service are always heavy, who has complied with the command of the Psalmist to cast his burdens on the Lord. The promise which follows this command, assuring us that He will sustain us, enables us to overcome the difficulties with a courageous spirit and to bear our burdens with a light heart."

 


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Isaiah 41:4". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/isaiah-41.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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