Isaiah By The Day continues to be one of the best book purchases of 2012. A lifetime of study in the writings of this prophet has equipped Alec Motyer to produce rich, satisfying, and delightful food for the soul. Consider the translation of just one verse found in the "run-up to the final Servant Song (Isaiah 52:13-53:12), a forecast of what the Servant will accomplish," Isaiah 51:12:
It is I, I who bring you comfort.
Who are you to be afraid of frail mortal humans,
and of a son of mankind to be classed as grass!
Here is the loving honesty of God represented in a word of encouragement, and tender rebuke. God declares to his own: "You have no right to be afraid!" The temptation is to respond too quickly, to find reason to disagree with God, to voice our objection to his tone. But look closely before you speak.
Promise from God: I bring you comfort.
And who is this God? Isaiah has already informed us through his previous prayer:
Wake up, wake up, put on garments of strength,
arm of Yahweh.
Wake up as in earlier days, generations long ago.
Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
piercing the monster?
Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the abundant deep,
who made the depths of the sea a road
so that the redeemed might cross over?
And Yahweh's ransomed ones will return,
and they will come to Zion with loud shouting.
And eternal rejoicing will be upon their heads.
And they will overtake happiness and rejoicing,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Is. 51:9-11)
This is the mighty Yahweh!
Now we are ready to hear his instruction: As one so comforted by Him (51:12), this God, I do not have the right to be afraid. I have no need to be afraid. It may be hard to fully believe. But like you need to for any good story, suspend your disbelief for a moment, and ask yourself, "What if it were true?"
Then, how would you live?