10a Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God.
These assuring words pertaining to God’s presence were given to Israel in the context of Isaiah’s prediction concerning the conquest by the Persian king, Cyrus. The latter is referred to as the “man from the east” in verse 2. Some two centuries before this Persian king was born, Isaiah predicted his victories, even calling him by name in later chapters (cf. 44:28; 45:1). According to verses 6 and 7, because of his all conquering military advance, the trembling nations would be driven to help and encourage one other and also to turn to their idols for help, but all to no avail.
However, the Lord assured His people: “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” (vv. 8-9). God gives to His people the assurance of His protection and friendship. God has a purpose in the rise and fall of the nations; Israel did not have to fear (vv. 10, 13-14) because God was with them and working out His purposes.
Like Israel, we all will have fears in frightening and difficult circumstances. It is important that we do not turn to anyone else but to our God to overcome our fears. He is faithful to see us through all the frightening circumstances around us.
The first and foremost encouragement is found in the promise of Divine presence: “I am with thee”. He is ever by His people. As Psalm 46:1 reminds us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” God is with us though He is invisible to us. He is with us in secret, sustaining power. He knows well how to deliver us in the midst of trouble, and to infuse strength into our distressed hearts.
Sometimes the spirit of dismay may overwhelm us, even though we are aware of the Lord’s presence with us. So the Word of God tells us: “be not dismayed, for I am thy God”. The Lord presents Himself to us as our God; He tells us to remember that He is our God. Is it not the most endearing relationship we can ever enjoy? Friends and relations may not be around to help us. Our possessions might be taken away. But the Lord is always with His people as their God. The Lord will not cast His people away. He is our covenant-keeping God; He will not leave us. So, let us not fear.