What does your heart feel like? If it’s hurried and anxious, as mine often is, then you’re not alone. Our world pushes us to hurry, to perform, to keep up appearances. It’s exhausting. But scripture has encouragement for us.
“Strengthen the weak hands and make the staggering knees firm. Say to those who are hasty of heart, ‘Be strong; you must not fear! Look! your God will come with vengeance, with divine retribution. He is the one who will come and save you.’” (Is. 35:3-4, LEB)
Many translations begin verse four with the phrase “fearful heart” but “hasty” is closer to the Hebrew. Mahar (H4116) means “to be hurried, be anxious … hasty, precipitate, impetuous” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon). And doesn’t that describe the state that so many of our hearts are in? We’re constantly pressured to hit deadlines, be somewhere, meet somebody, manage time, and forget nothing. It’s no wonder anxiety disorders affect 18.1% of the U.S. population every year and our stress levels are significantly higher than the global average.
In the midst of all that, faith offers us an oasis of calm. God gives us a new perspective on reality that brings joy, hope, and peace to our hearts. There are times, though, when we’ll still feel hurried, attacked, and afraid. When that happens, there is a specific promise we can turn to.
He Will Save Us
Most of the promises we’ll look at today are ones Yahweh made to the physical nation of ancient Israel. Many are prophetic, though, and we can claim them as the spiritual heirs to the covenants God made with physical Israel and Abraham’s descendants (see post “Inheriting Covenants”).
“But don’t you be afraid, Jacob my servant. Don’t be dismayed, Israel; for, behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob will return, and will be quiet and at ease. No one will make him afraid.” (Jer. 46:27, WEB)
There are several reasons God gives us for why we should not be afraid. The one we’re looking at today is “I will save you.” This is a personal assurance from the One who created all things and gave His life to save humanity that He will keep coming through for us when we need Him. It is impossible for God to lie, so when he promises something we can be sure He means it (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2).
Let God Handle It
There are times when God wants us to fight our own battles (though always with His help). That’s why He equips us with armor (Eph. 6:10-18). But there are also times when we don’t have to do anything but sit back and watch in awe as He works.
“You will not need to fight this battle. Set yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid, nor be dismayed. Go out against them tomorrow, for Yahweh is with you.” (2 Chr. 20:17, WEB)
If you read this whole story, you’ll see Moab and Ammon were gathered to attack Judah. Understandably, King “Jehoshaphat was alarmed, and set himself to seek Yahweh” (2 Chr. 20:3). That should also be our first step when we’re alarmed. You can read his prayer in verses 6-12.
We’ve already seen how Yahweh answered, and the people responded by praising God “with an exceedingly loud voice.” The singers actually marched out at the head of the army the next morning (2 Chr. 20: 18-21)! I don’t know about you but I don’t know if I’d have responded this way with an enemy army camped right outside. Not only did they believe God, but they also acted as if the salvation He promised was already accomplished! And it was. By the time they reached the field of battle all their enemies were dead (2 Chr. 20:22-30).
We’re unlikely to find the enemies we face pilled up as corpses, but God is just as capable of fighting our battles today as He was back then. And we should trust — and praise! — Him as much as the people did who heard His salvation promise in the days of King Jehoshaphat. When the Lord promises salvation He will follow through.
Nothing Can Stand Against Our Savior
King David wrote, “Yahweh is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Yahweh is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps. 27:1, WEB). It’s a good question to ask ourselves, because it reminds us the answer is “no one.” Paul does much the same thing when he asks, “If god is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31, WEB).
They’re both rhetorical questions because the answer is so obvious. No one can stand against us or give us cause for fear with the God of the Universe on our side. We just need to remember that.
“‘Don’t be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Don’t be afraid of him,’ says Yahweh: ‘for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.'” (Jer. 42:11, WEB)
The Lord knows exactly what enemies you are facing. Whether it’s an invading army, an angry coworker, or something inside your own mind He can handle it. He might not take care of things exactly when you want Him to, but He’ll handle it when and how you need Him to. Remembering this promise gives us a stable hope to hold onto when we’re feeling overwhelmed.
A Fear-Free Perspective
“Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust, and will not be afraid; for Yah, Yahweh, is my strength and song; and he has become my salvation.” (Is. 12:2, WEB)
It’s easy to get distracted and anxious in today’s world. But if we can take a mental step back from our hurried lives and remind ourselves what’s really going on it will help. The feeling of being hurried, trapped, and pressured beyond coping is tied to a lie that we’re helpless against the pressures of this life.
Reality is that God is in control and everything will turn out all right in the end. He offers us an opportunity to see things from His perspective and realize that He’s bigger than all our problems. He also offers assurance that He loves us so much that He has saved us already and will keep on saving us.
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