Helping the Worm To Turn
Father, the heavens declare Your glory, the earth Your love. For Your greatness and tenderness, I praise You.
Read Isaiah 41:1-20
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Isaiah sustained the weary people of God by bringing them back to the great fundamentals of their faith: election, calling redemption, the promises and faithfulness of God” (Barry G. Webb).
I have recently joined Facebook and enjoy catching up on news and views of friends from years ago. It has been fascinating to read about what encourages, discourages, excites and annoys friends of my friends! Isaiah would have done well on Facebook; his fantastic imagery, his passion, the twists and turns of his argument–I am sure he would have started a whole range of debate lines!
Isaiah is nothing if not realistic. He understands the human condition. He knows there is good in everyone; the help and encouragement given to each other by different craftsmen (6,7a) is great. At the end of the day, however, the work they are doing together is still creating idols! Beware of assuming there is no good in unbelievers, but also beware of assuming that, because there is good in people, the results of their actions must be good. Isaiah knows that Israel is God’s chosen servant (8), but the people do not live up to that title and are well described as a worm (14)!
As in chapter 40, the real focus of Isaiah’s attention, the One on whom he wants his readers to focus their attention is God himself. It is he who is in control; it is he who, making use of world powers like Babylon and Persia causes unbelieving nations to tremble (5). It is he who will turn the worm, “little Israel,” into an effective working machine–the ancient equivalent of the combine harvester (14,15). He will help them, strengthen them, and hold their hands so that they will really know there is no need for them to be afraid. He will transform the people and transform the land. The Holy One of Israel really is a force to be reckoned with!
What does this chapter show us of God’s involvement in human history? How should this affect your attitude towards world problems?
Lord, when I focus on the world around, I am often afraid, made to feel like a worm. Help me to keep focusing on You and knowing Your transforming power.