by Tim Hall
God provides a simple solution for the problem of worry.
We often shake our heads in disbelief at what happened to ancient Israel. Though they were the beneficiaries of incredible blessings from God, they turned away from God to serve idols. How could it happen?
Isaiah helps us to understand the problem. In chapter 40, the prophet exhorted the people with these words: “… Lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!'” (Isaiah 40:9) “Be not afraid,” he wrote. Of what might the people of God be afraid?
The land of Israel was constantly harassed by enemy nations. Located in a strategic spot north of Egypt, Israel was envied by many. The land was fertile and prosperous, and other people wanted it. That’s why Israel was afraid. And fear led them to embrace anything that promised to protect them, even the idols God detested.
But should they have been afraid? Isaiah speaks to that question in verses 28 and 29: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.”
Isaiah’s message to Israel was simple: God gave you this land, and He is able to keep you here. Why don’t you believe this, Israel? Have you not heard?
That’s precisely our problem most of the time. When fear grips our hearts we should ask ourselves, “Have we not heard? Have we not known?” God’s promises are extended to His people today just as they were extended to Israel. For too many, however, those promises are shrouded in darkness. They haven’t been to the Word in a very long time. They’ve forgotten the power of the One who has called them.
Bible reading sounds like the most mundane activity in the world. When we have so many exciting activities from which to choose, why should we make time to read such an old Book? Sadly, most don’t make the time. As a result, they haven’t known and they haven’t heard about God’s power and might. Their failure to read and meditate on God’s word is the reason why their lives are filled with anxiety.
What strength comes to those who spend time reading their Bibles! We are reminded of God’s past actions and comforted by His promises of help, both in the present and in the future. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
As the new year dawns let us again be a Bible-reading people!
by Tim Hall