I am the LORD, Your God,

Who Takes Hold of Your Right Hand

41: 11-20

   DIG: Why does God address the exiles as worm Jacob and little Isra'el? What type of thirst is Isaiah referring to here (also see Psalm 42:1-2)? How will their situation soon change? Why will the LORD restore his people? Of all the peoples conquered by Babylon, only the Jews retained their religious, ethnic, and political identity. How might this be a witness to the other nations? How does this relate to Israel’s call to be His servant?

   REFLECT: If God moves heaven and earth in order to protect and save His people, how should that knowledge affect your prayers? Your worship? Your attitude in hard times? Your priorities and purpose in life? How might meditating upon the picture of the LORD in Chapters 40-41 help you to grasp this truth? How can you be little and a worm? What mountains and hills are there in your life today? If you compare your faith to Isra'el’s threshing sledge, how new, sharp, and many are your teeth?

    In this scene we see a far eschatological prophecy, or the final deliverance of Isra'el. In contrast with ADONAI’s choosing and helping Isra'el, He will not protect the Gentile nations who oppose her. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced (41:11a). There will be a mounting tide of hostility against Isra'el during the Great Tribulation starting with the emotion of rage, moving on to the formation of a complaint from those who opposed them, next will come active opposition from their enemies, leading to open war against them (see my commentary on Revelation Ds – The Woman and the Dragon). But God says: those who oppose you will be as nothing and they will perish (41:11). When the Gentile nations of the world align themselves, with their demonic leader the antichrist, to persecute the Jews it will signal their descent into oblivion. God will bring princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing (40:23).

    ADONAI promises that He will help Isra'el in her distress. Furthermore, the nations that were Isra'el’s enemies will disappear. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all (41:12). Not only will they not be found, but they will also be as something that never existed. When the LORD destroys the Gentile nations at the end of the Great Tribulation, for all practical purposes, it will be like they never even existed. How does this happen? God, through His prophet, tells us.

    He is the One who will support and sustain Isra'el during the calamity of the Great Tribulation. For I am the LORD, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you: Do not fear. I will help you (41:13). This verse parallels 40:10, where ADONAI says: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Interestingly, where verse 10 points to God’s right hand, verse 13 says that He will uphold their hand. Taken together, these two verses pose a powerful picture of parent and child. In the father’s right hand is a mighty weapon ready to defeat any enemy, but his left hand is holding the child’s right. He is not merely defending the child, he is with the child – safe and secure.

    Could you use some courage? Are you backing down more than you are standing up? Jesus scattered the butterflies out of the stomachs of His nervous apostles . . . We need to remember that the apostles were common men given a compelling task. Before they were the stained-glassed saints in the windows of cathedrals, they were somebody’s neighbor trying to make a living and raise a family. They weren’t cut off from theological cloth or raised on supernatural milk. But they were an ounce more devoted than they were afraid and, as a result, did some extraordinary things under the power of the Holy Spirit. Earthly fears are hardly any fears at all. If we answer the big question of eternity, the little questions of life fall into place (from The Applause of Heaven, Nashville, W Pub Group, 1990).

    Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Isra'el, for I myself will help you, declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Isra'el (41:14). Here the word redeemer, or go'el, makes its first appearance in Isaiah (see my commentary on Exodus Bz - Redemption). It is the key word in Chapters 40 to 55. Elsewhere in the TaNaKh it is used of a near relative who delivers a poor person from enslavement and the loss of family inheritance because of their poverty (see my commentary on Ruth Bb - Bo'az Redeems Ruth the Moabitess). But it is also used of a person who avenges the blood of a murdered person by killing the murderer (Numbers 35:21-27; Deut 19:6; Joshua 20:5).

    Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Isra'el: Both Isra'el or Jacob are referred to here as a worm. This is a symbol of meekness and humility. In fact, in Psalm 22:7 the crucifixion is depicted where Yeshua is nailed to the cross. He is looked upon as a worm because He is in a total helpless condition with nothing left but to die. So when Isra'el comes to a point of total helplessness, God will intervene to help (see Kg – The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Bozrah). He is Isra'el's Redeemer, and is strong enough and compassionate enough that no one will be able to prevent Him from defending His people. He not only desires to do so, He is able.

    The context here is the end of the Great Tribulation. The antichrist will receive the news that Babylon has fallen (Revelation 18:1-24). Although his entire army will still be intact, he does not move east to engage his enemies. At that point Satan will control him and he will be fixated on annihilating the Jews. So, instead of moving east the antichrist, his army and the armies of the world, will move south against Jerusalem and the Israelites from the Valley of Jezreel (Zechariah 12:2-3, 14:1-2).

    However, because God will greatly energize the Jews, the antichrist and his armies will not have an easy time of it. See, I will make you like a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth (41:15a). We have the same picture given to us in Zechariah 12:5-9 where all the weak Israelites begin to fight as David’s mighty men (Second Samuel 23:8-39; First Chronicles 12:1-40). Here, Zechariah merely elaborates on this very same prophecy given by Isaiah. It will be as though the Israelites are threshing the mountains around Yerushalayim, inflicting heavy casualties on their enemies. They will fight so courageously that it will seem as if they reduce the hills to chaff (41:15b), but their success will be short lived.

    The armies of the antichrist will suffer heavy losses. God will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves (Zechariah 12:3). The temporary empowerment of the Jews is also described in Micah 4:11-5:1. The LORD said: You will winnow them, the wind will pick them, and a gale will blow them away (41:16). Although the Jewish forces prove very formidable, the antichrist, his army, and the armies of the world will prevail. After their victory the City will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Jerusalem will fall into Gentile hands for the last time. Half of the Jewish population will be taken away to be made slaves and the rest will remain in Tziyon to await their fate (Zechariah 14:2).

    The poor and the needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst (41:17a). Any time the terms the poor and the needy are used together it points to the faithful remnant. This will be that segment of the Jews who reject the covenant with the antichrist (see my commentary on Revelation Bz – The Signing of the Seven Year Covenant with the Antichrist) and refuse the mark of the beast (see my commentary on Revelation Dp – The Mark is the Name of the Beast or the Number of His Name). Thus, they will not be able to buy or sell, only persecuted and driven into the wilderness at Bozrah or defeated by the armies of the antichrist in Jerusalem.

    But I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Isra'el, will not forsake them (41:17b). The persecution of the antichrist will cause the spiritual scales to fall from their eyes and they will finally recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Simultaneously, the Jews in Jerusalem and the Jews in Bozrah will look to Yeshua, the One they had pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a first-born son. As a result, they cry out for Jesus to return (see my commentary on Revelation Ev – The Basis for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ) and will rejoice in ADONAI and glory in the Holy One of Isra'el (41:16b).

    After His Second Coming, (see Kh – The Eight Stage Campaign of Armageddon) the LORD promises that He will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. He will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs during the messianic Kingdom. Not only will God miraculously provide food and water as He did during the Great Tribulation, but when the millennial Kingdom is established, God will also reforest the Land with seven kinds of trees. All seven are listed here. He will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. He will also set pines in the wasteland the fir and the cypress together (41:18-19).

    Then He gives us the purpose for all the miracles that will be seen during the millennial Kingdom: So the people may see and know, may consider and understand (41:20a). The first purpose is that Isra'el may see, know, consider, and understand. These are four key words to understanding the truth: that they may see spiritual truth, that they may know spiritual truth, that they may begin to consider, or meditate upon spiritual truth, and that they may understand or comprehend spiritual truth. The second purpose is that they might know that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Isra'el has created it (41:20b). What a day that will be!

 

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