“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. 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; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
If you really desire to understand how the Lord deals with His children today, then you should look closely at how He dealt with Israel. In doing so, you will see the love of God and the faithfulness of God to those whom He loves.
These three verses in Isaiah 41 portray to us today powerful promises that we should never forget.
In Isaiah 41:8, notice that the Holy Spirit addresses His chosen people by two names—Israel and Jacob. The name Israel means “Prince with God,” and Jacob means “schemer.” The truth of the statement is that Jacob was what they were, and Israel was what He would make them. This speaks of sanctification, and it tells us that at the moment we accept the Lord, He begins to work in us to change us into the image of God. The process of sanctification is not a onetime thing; it is progressive and ongoing.
Self doesn’t die easily. It takes mountain and valley experiences, troubled seas, and wilderness sojourns to bring us to the place of brokenness and denial of self, with the Holy Spirit then molding us into what God wants us to be.
As you study the life of Jacob, you are actually studying the doctrine of sanctification. While the church has a basic understanding of justification (salvation), sanctification (to make holy) is not as known and understood as it should be.
The biggest problem in understanding sanctification is that too many Christians think that we sanctify ourselves by the doing of Christian rituals, which only breeds self-righteousness.
Sanctification is a process—we have been sanctified, and we are being sanctified.
The position of sanctification given to us at salvation is a position of perfection. However, we soon learn that our condition is not up to par with our position. This is where the process of sanctification takes place, and that process of being sanctified pertains to one’s daily living for the Lord (I Thess. 5:23-24).
Sanctification is a daily walk of faith whereby the believer has, as the focus of his faith, the cross of Christ, and the object of his faith is the finished work of Christ. Then, the Holy Spirit, who is the power source, brings about the correct result—victory (sanctification).
Next, as Israel was called “My servant,” so are we servants of the Lord. No greater compliment can be said of anyone than to be called a servant of the Lord.
In Isaiah 41:9, the text says, “Thou whom I have taken form the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said onto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.”
This passage tells us that God has chosen you. The individual never chooses God; God always chooses the individual. The initiation of choice is always made by God, not man, and those whom He chooses He does not cast away. We may choose to cast Him away, but He will never cast us away. Once this truth is established, the Lord gives to us a manifold promise that should delight the heart of every believer.
First, the Lord declares, “Fear thou not.” Throughout the Bible, this great promise is declared. No matter the battle, the Lord is with us. There should never be a single believer who is a prisoner to fear.
In II Timothy 1:7 Paul said, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Here is why we should not fear:
• “For I am with thee.” God will never leave us or forsake us. As a parent hovers over his small child at play, so does the Lord hover over His children as we journey in this life.
• “I will strengthen thee.” In weakness we are made strong by the person and power of the Holy Spirit. He is our refuge and strength (Ps. 46:1). Psalm 29:11 says, “The LORD will give strength unto His people,” and Exodus 15:2 says, “The LORD is my strength and song” (defense).
• “I will help thee.” We are not alone. The Lord is there, helping us on our journey. Psalm 54:4 says, “Behold, God is mine helper.” Just study the lives of the Bible greats, and you will see the Lord’s continual help for those who trust Him.
• “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” God closes out His promises by stating that He will uphold us—a portrayal of the Lord throwing His arms around us, His right hand of righteousness representing the Lord’s power.
So fear not!
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