FEAR NOT I AM WITH THEE
As an introduction to part four of our study of Isaiah 41 let me review a brief history of Israel. Gen. 12:1-3 with Acts 7:2-5:
“The LORD said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.’” And from Acts, “This was Stephen’s reply: ‘Brothers and fathers listen to me. Our glorious GOD appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran. GOD told him, ‘Leave your native land and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’’”
It is important for us to realize that the nation that became Israel, did not arise naturally as did those nations that formed from the migration from Babel. The nation that would become Israel was supernaturally created by GOD. The Creator called the nation into being much the same way He called all things into being. And as GOD formed Eve, for a special calling, from the rib of the man Adam, similarly, GOD formed Israel using the ‘rib Abram’ from among the nations, for a special calling. And, GOD prepared a land for this unique nation, much as He prepared a garden for the first man and woman.
After 400 plus years in Egypt, while GOD raised up a nation unto Himself, Joshua eventually led this appointed nation into the land of promise – promised by GOD – in 1451 B.C. Saul became the first king of this nation and ruled from 1052 until 1010 B.C. (Acts 13:20) The second king was David and he reigned from 1010 B.C. through to 970 B.C. The kingdom became divided during the reign of Rehoboam in 975 B.C.
254 years later the Assyrians carried away the northern kingdom of Israel. After another 120 years in 600 B.C. the Babylonians carried away the southern kingdom Judah.
Three groups of Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity to Judah.
In 536 B.C. a group led by Zerubbabel returned. 78 years later a second group returned led by Ezra. And 14 years later still a third group led by Nehemiah returned and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
In 63 B.C. the Jewish nation became a Roman satellite, and the Romans called the nation Judea. In 40 B.C. Emperor Mark Antony appointed Herod King over Judea. And Herod built the second temple in 17 B.C.
After national Israel rejected their Messiah, Israel was utterly destroyed and its people scattered about the globe in 70 A.D.
This, of course, is not the end of their story. A serious reading of Romans 9-11 should convince any reader that GOD is not done with Israel nor has He thrown her away. It states quite definitively that the ‘blindness placed upon Israel’ is in part for our, Gentile, benefit. And this GOD appointed blindness will only last until the ‘Fullness of the Gentiles is come in.’ A few reminders from Romans 11:
“I ask then, has GOD rejected His own people Israel? Of course not!”
“Did GOD’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not!”
“Since their rejection meant that GOD offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who are dead!”
“And so all Israel will be saved . . “
“And this is My covenant with them that I will take away their sins!”
“For GOD’s gift and His call can never be withdrawn!”
I leave it for the reader to search Romans 11 for these verses. (NLT)
So, their acceptance begins with their recalling from the ends of the earth back into the land of promise. And this truth is not found in only a few scattered verses but is promised over and over again throughout the Old Testament and confirmed in the New Testament, specifically Romans 9 through 11. Hear then, what the word of GOD promises.
Isaiah 11:11-12 – NLT – “In that day the LORD will reach out His hand a second time to bring back the remnant of His people –those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia and Elam; in Babylon, Hamath and all the distant coastlines. He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth.”
A thorough reading of this chapter reveals that the “flag” or “ensign” that is raised is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The time frame is the last days. The phrase, “reach out His hand a second time,” reminds us that only twice has GOD brought His people back from a scattering – once from Babylon and this second time from their post 70 A.D. scattering. He is bringing them home from “the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 14:1 – NLT – “But the LORD will have mercy on the descendants of Jacob. He will choose Israel as His special people once again. He will bring them back to settle once again in their own land . . .”
Isaiah 43:1, 5-7 – KJV – “But now thus says the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give up,’ and to the south, ‘Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;’ Even everyone that is called by my name: for I have created him [Israel], I have formed him; yea I have made him.”
Then, there are many references given by the prophet Jeremiah. These include, Jer. 16:14-16; 23:3-8; 29:14; 30:10-11; 31:8-10; 32:37-38.
Allow me to mention a few but the reader needs to reflect on all of the above.
“And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries whither I have driven them, and I will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase . . .Behold the days come says the LORD that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch and a king shall reign and prosper and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, that they shall no more say, ‘The LORD liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, the LORD liveth, which brought up and led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all the countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”
It will be during the “days of the Branch” – Jesus their Messiah – that Judah and Israel will be saved and placed back into their land. And the days of Messiah are from the time of His birth as the Son of Man until He returns. It will be during this interval that Israel will return to the land and be saved. The name given Messiah here is earth-shattering to the Jewish heart and mind, for it is upon this truth that their salvation is finally received. THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! Suddenly, in a flash, this truth invades their consciousness. It’s no longer about LAW; it’s no longer about ritual; but rather the cry, ‘the LORD is OUR righteousness!.’ Each one avails them self of this grace – the very same grace offered and accepted by we who call Jesus our Lord and Saviour!
Jeremiah 29:14 – “And I will be found of you, says the LORD; and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place where I caused you to be carried away captive.” (KJV)
Here is another place in Scripture where the LORD GOD promises that not only will He bring them back from among the nations but that at that time the LORD GOD will be found by them! This speaks of the spiritual regeneration of the people of Israel. That has yet to happen to the fullest extent since they returned but it is happening as we speak, and it will come to complete fruition in the near future.
Jeremiah 32:37-38 – “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, where I have driven them in my anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. And they shall be my people, and I will be their GOD:” Please read the rest of this Scripture.
GOD scattered them and GOD will bring them back and not only bring them back but also set them back into that place of special and unique privilege.
Ezekiel 11:17 – “Thus says the LORD GOD; ‘I will even gather you from among the people, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’”
Ezekiel 34:11-13 – “For thus says the LORD GOD; ‘Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.’ And, I will bring them out from the people and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.”
Ezekiel 36:24 – “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.”
Amos 9:14-15 – “And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they will build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they will plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they will also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they will be no more pulled up out of their land which I have given them, says the LORD GOD.”
They will be brought back to the land originally given them by the LORD GOD and will never be removed from it again.
See also Hosea 1:10-11 and Micah 4:4-7 along with Zephaniah 3:18-20 with Zechariah 8:4-8.
I know that I have given you much Scripture but I feel it is crucial that we understand that GOD’s promise to re-gather Israel in the last days does not come from a scattered few verses of the Bible but that His promise is repeated over and over again from nearly every prophet. Many of us have one or two or several verses that are most meaningful to us upon which we place our faith in Him, but here is a promise He has given to Israel that encompasses so many verses it begs we pay attention to the cry of GOD’s heart and recognized His passion to bring back His flock. And, believe it when I say, I have only included a minimum of references!
A reminder of our main Scripture of topic, Isaiah 41, I wish to quote once more verses 8 and 9.
“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.’” (KJV underline added)
The people and the nation of Israel have not been cast away nor is the LORD GOD done with them for He has promised “Fear not for I am with thee.” This became the title for this message. Can anyone doubt that the LORD GOD has been with his people Israel? Throughout the “dark and cloudy” times of the past 2000 some years, the LORD GOD has been with them and has maintained a remnant – some believers in Yeshua and some not. He knows His sheep, everyone of them, and He is continuing to bring them home again to the land that He gave them in the beginning. It is still His land and the people of Israel are coming back home.
Bear with me for there is still one more section of Scripture that needs be presented here. I will only include a few select verses but I strongly recommend that every reader become familiar with this passage.
The Valley of Dry Bones – Ezekiel 37.
“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, there were very many . . .and they were very dry. And He said unto me, ‘Son of man can these bones live?’ And I answered, O LORD GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, ‘Prophecy upon these bones, and say unto them, Oh ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.’ Thus says the LORD GOD unto these bones; ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you and you will live: and I will lay sinew upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you will live; and you will know that I am the LORD.’ So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I did so there was a noise and behold, a shaking, and the bones came together bone to his bone. And as I looked the sinew came upon them, and the flesh came upon them and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said He unto me prophecy unto the wind, and say to the wind, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” Then He said unto me, ‘These bones are the whole house of Israel, they say our bones are dry, our hope is lost: we are cut off from our parts. Therefore prophecy and say to them, Thus says the LORD GOD; ‘Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And I will put my spirit within you, and I will place you in your own land: and then you will know that I the LORD have spoken it and performed it,’ says the LORD GOD.” The passage continues by mentioning that when He brings them back to the land they will return as one people and not return as they left as two separate kingdoms. God instructs the prophet Ezekiel to take two sticks representing Israel and Judah and fit them together as one stick – one nation.
I have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that even though the Jews were scattered about the world, GOD was never finished with them, nor had He rejected them and neither had He changed His mind nor His promises concerning His chosen people. They would ever be watched over by the LORD and would be brought back to fulfil all that GOD had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. They would return to their land in the last days and be first physically restored as “an exceedingly great army,” before eventually being filled and reborn by His Spirit. This is yet future but the time is fast approaching.
“I will not cast thee away; fear not for I am with thee.”
Amen. To be continued.
Let us pray. Father we thank you that you often tell us to fear not for I am with you. We thank you that as with Israel, you will never cast us away. We thank you and praise you that we, as Gentiles, have been grafted into the branch that is Abraham and that we also are part of the vine which is Jesus Christ. Remind us to constantly pray for the peace of Jerusalem where our words ascend to You and call to Your remembrance Your promises to Israel and to us who through the blood of Jesus are partakers of Your grace and mercy and forgiveness. We pray for our brothers and sisters as we continue to stay strong and faithful in these cloudy and dark times. And those among us who are struggling with issues of health we ask that You anoint each one with the balm of Gilead for the healing of body. And for those of us dealing with financial issues due to this season of uncertainty we ask bread for the day and comfort in the knowledge that you are familiar with our needs. You who can feed thousands with a word; You who is able to be that well of living water springing up unto salvation continue to feed us both physically and spiritually. We bless You for Your word and for Your promises; for Your Truth and for Your Faithfulness. Create in each of us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within each of us. Grant that we may count in these last days, to be worthy to bring glory and honour to Your Name; that Name above every name. Give us refreshing sleep, clear minds, and soft hearts. May the works of our hands along with the words of our mouths be pleasing in Your sight O LORD. Let us remember to call one another and to continue in the fellowship of prayer one for another. Grant us Your peace and may we marvel at what You are about to do. We place our absolute trust in You, our LORD and our Saviour. Blessed be Your name LORD JESUS, our hope, our life, our future and our great Redeemer. Amen.