“But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, ‘You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off’;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…
For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not,
I am the one who helps you…’
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.” Isaiah 41:8-10,13,16b-20
Position begets protection. The ‘but’ that begins this passage sets up the juxtaposition between who are are as Christ’s own, and what that means for us in a trepidatious, wilderness life. No matter what, we are named by God. No matter what, He has chosen us as His friend. We are His. We were sought, called, and pursued by Him to be His servant, secure in love-bondage forever.
As His servants, we are not guaranteed life without fear, nor free of disturbing, painful circumstances. There is no promise we will not be poor, needy, parched, bereft of fruitfulness and hope. In fact, as Jesus the Suffering Servant experienced these, we, as His children, may know them all. (Isaiah 53:3-12; Matthew 4:1-11; 20:28; 27:46; John 4:5-7; 16:33; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 2:21)
But it is in the knowing and being known, named by and belonging to Him, that we hold His hand. What bountiful provision has He given we would not otherwise know? What angst or turmoil can we bring to be smothered in His presence? In the light of His love, dismay flees! He strengthens, helps, and upholds! From the place of darkness and drought, in all these gifts we can glory and rejoice!
There is no thirst He cannot assuage, no pang He cannot comfort with His presence, no emptiness of purpose or inspiration, in relationships or hope, He cannot overcome and fill. Every call He hears and answers, every need He knows and meets. The Holy One has done all this that we might know Him! (Psalm 34:4; Philippians 4:19)
Lord, I am privileged to be Your servant. You order every dearth that I might seek and know Your fill. Keep me humbly, desperately dependent on You, rejoicing in the works of Your hand so I make Your glory known.