The Book of Isaiah
GOD IS OUR STRENGTH
Text: ISAIAH 41
1. We saw last Sunday evening that the theme of Isaiah 40 is the greatness of God. This theme continues on in chapter 41.
2. In contrast to the greatness of God we have the weakness of man. Isaiah 41:14 says, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob…”
3. A worm? This does not sit well with proud sinners. The # 1 religion in America today is “humanism.” (By the way, the Supreme Court of the US declared secular humanism a religion in 1961.)
4. Humanism has replaced the Gospel in most churches.
5. Humanism is the unofficial religion of the public schools, colleges, and universities, judicial system, news media, and entertainment industry. The vast majority of our political leaders (e.g., Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani) are humanists.
6. “Humanism is the placing of man at the center of all things and making him the measure of all things. It means man beginning from himself, with no knowledge except what he himself can discover and no standards outside himself” —Francis Schaeffer, The Christian Manifesto.
7. A simple definition: “Humanism is the religion which deifies man and dethrones God” — Homer Duncan, Secular Humanism.
8. In fact, Karl Marx admitted, “My object in life is to dethrone God.”
9. Humanism begins with humans, not God. The Bible begins with God. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).
11. Christians are to magnify God. And Christians understand that in the eyes of God, man is nothing but a “worm” (41:14).
12. Isaac Watts, the great hymnwriter, wrote:
13. In contrast to the weakness of man, we have the greatness of God (cf. Isaiah 40:26).
I. GOD IS OUR FRIEND (41:8).
1. Isaiah 41 has to do primarily with the deliverance of Israel from the Babylonian captivity. Their deliverer was the Persian King Cyrus (41:2). Though not referred to by name in chapter 41, Cyrus is mentioned by name in 44:28; 45:1; and other Scriptures.
2. God chose the seed of Abraham (41:8). And God is not just Abraham’s friend, He is your friend and my friend too.
3. Our Lord said in John 15:15, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
4. Isn’t it wonderful to know that the Lord is our friend? Proverbs 18:24 says, “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” That friend is Jesus.
5. The hymnwriter wrote, “What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!”
6. “Abraham my friend” (Isa. 41:8b). In James 2:23, the Bible says Abraham “was called the Friend of God.”
7. Is God your friend? Or is He your enemy? (Cf. Romans 5:10).
8. Psalm 7:11 says, “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”
II. SINCE GOD IS OUR STRENGTH, WE WILL NOT FEAR
1. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee…”
2. Isaiah 41:13 says, “Fear not; I will help thee.”
3. And then Isaiah 41:14, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob…”
4. In Isaiah 41:15, the Lord says He will take this little worm Jacob, and turn him into a “new sharp threshing instrument having teeth.”
5. Why should we be fearful when our God can take a little worm and turn it into a powerful threshing instrument, capable of threshing huge mountains?
6. Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now thus saith 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.”
7. And then again in Isaiah 43:5, “Fear not: for I am with thee.”
8. And in Isaiah 45:2, “Fear not, O Jacob, my servant.”
9. And in Isaiah 45:8, “Fear ye not, neither be afraid.”
10. Our Lord said to His disciples in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock...”
11. In Revelation 1:17, our Lord said to John, “Fear not; I am the first and the last.” The LORD identifies Himself as “the first and the last” three times in the book of Isaiah (41:4; 44:6; 48:12).
12. The Lord Jesus Christ identifies Himself four times in the book of Revelation as “the first and the last” (1:11, 17; 2:8; 22:13).
III. GOD WILL JUDGE THE NATIONS (41:1).
1. This is one of the great themes of the prophets. It is one of the great themes of Isaiah the prophet. God will judge the nations (41:1).
2. These prophecies center round God’s judgment upon the enemies of Israel. God is “the Holy One of Israel” (41:16, 20). God is “the God of Israel” (41:17).
3. Harry Bultema, in his commentary on the book of Isaiah, says there are four kinds of anti-Semitism:
(1) Political anti-Semitism. Bultema writes, “We find it already with Pharaoh who commenced oppressing Israel more than two thousand years before Christ. The drowning of the Jewish baby boys in the Nile was a political measure.” We see much political anti-Semitism today. For example, the Iranian President Mahmoud has said he would like to wipe Israel off the map. He is scheduled to speak at Columbia University tomorrow.
(2) Ecclesiastical anti-Semitism. Romanism and much of Protestantism teach that God is finished with Israel, and that the church is the new Israel, etc.
(3) Social anti-Semitism has been a problem throughout history. Certain people hate Jews, will not live near Jews, will not work with Jews, etc.
(4) Philosophical anti-Semitism. Bultema says this was brought into the world by the Germans and their “higher criticism” (liberalism). Bultema wrote his commentary in 1923, four years after Adolph Hitler and the Nazi movement (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) emerged in 1919.
4. Harry Bultema wrote, “All four kinds of enmity against Israel are in essence one. They will also in the great and fast approaching end time, when everything comes to a head in one evil principle and one evil person, the antichrist, reveal themselves as one and unite themselves in the antichrist, Gog and Armageddon against Israel and her Messiah.”
5. God will protect Israel (Isa. 41:11, 12). These prophecies will ultimately be fulfilled when Israel gets right with God, and God restores them. Presently they are back in their land but they are still in unbelief. But when they repent and believe in Christ at His second coming, they will “glory in the Holy One of Israel” (41:16b).
6. Zechariah 12:10 says, “and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
7. Romans 11:26 says, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
8. “As it is written…” It is written in the book of Isaiah, chapter 59 and verse 20.
9. When Israel turns to God, God will deliver them from their enemies (41:8-16).
10. God is commanding the nations to “keep silence” before Him (41:1). God is challenging the nations to present their case (41:21).
11. God asks the heathen and their false gods to “declare us things for to come” (41:22). Only the true God of the Bible can do that.
12. The gods of the Hindus and the Buddhists and the Muslims cannot do that. Allah cannot do that. There are no fulfilled prophecies in the Koran, but there are hundreds of them in the Bible (cf. 7:14; 53:1ff).
13. In fact, Isaiah called Cyrus by name over a century before he was born (Isa. 41:2; 44:28; 45:1).
14. One of the ways we know that the Bible is the Word of God is fulfilled prophecy. No other religious book contains fulfilled prophecy.
15. Our Lord said in John 13:19, “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He.”
16. Isaiah 41:22 and 23, “Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen… Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods.”
17. But the gods of the heathen were nothing but idols (41:28, 29).
18. Some foolish RC bishop in the Netherlands recently stated that Christians should start referring to God as “Allah.” He was commended by Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim group with ties to several terrorist organizations.
19. Hooper said, “It reinforces the fact that Muslims, Christians and Jews all worship the same God.” No, we do not all worship the same God.
20. In fact, God calls idolatry and false religion an “abomination” (41:24).
1. Regarding Isaiah 41:14, you may have heard the story of the old Indian chief who was asked to give his testimony. He took some dried leaves and formed a little circle. Next he started a little fire with the dry leaves, and then he picked up a little worm and placed him in the middle of the fiery circle.
2. The little worm crawled here and there but he was trapped by the fire. Finally, the Indian reached down and rescued the worm and placed him away from the fire.
3. The old Indian then said, “That is what God did for me.”