Above is a sermon I preached on Isaiah 41 at North Side Baptist Church on February 21, 2016.
God never reassures people based on their potential but with his presence. The greatest promise of God is the presence of God. God’s presence is the only promise powerful enough to subside our fears.
- God invites the people to try to renew their strength apart from his (Is. 41:1; cf. Is. 40:31).
- This remnant faced a challenging journey back home – needed to be reminded (Is. 41:2).
- The coastlands are the most distant from the Promised Land.
- God can use unconverted world leaders to further his work and his people (Is. 41:2-4; cf. Rom. 9:17; Acts 4:24-28).
- God is stirring up Cyrus (Is. 41:2) to anoint him (Is. 45:1) as shepherd (Is. 44:28) of the people and as a bird of prey towards their enemies (Is. 46:11). This pagan king would do the King of Kings’ bidding.
- The LORD is the first and the last (Is. 41:4; cf. Rev. 1:17).
- These fearful surrounding nations are manufacturing more idols to help – how pathetic (Is. 41:5-7)!
- Crippled by fear, they are mustering strength trying to convince one another that their idols will be enough (Is. 41:5-7).
- Self-esteem lets me down, but Christ esteem sets me free!
- God desires me (Is. 41:8-9)!
- God takes worms (Is. 41:14) and makes them friends (Is. 41:8-9).
- The greatest promise of God is the presence of God (Is. 41:10).
- God’s presence is the only promise powerful enough to subside my fears.
- God is beside me, over me, inside me, around me, and under me (Is. 41:10).
- No one messes with God’s children (Is. 41:11-13).
- Babylon can’t stop this, Cyrus can’t take credit for this, because God is controlling this.
- It is impossible to fear your circumstances when you truly fear your God.
- Stop thinking about my inadequacy, and start focusing on God’s sufficiency.
- The LORD says, “fear not,” seven times in this section (Is. 41:10, 13, 14; 43:1, 5; 44:2, 8).
- Worms are covered by dirt and filled with dirt, and that is what God calls us people (Is. 41:14).
- The two most pivotal truths about God’s people must be held simultaneously or they become dangerous isolated: 1) I am a worm; 2) I am loved by God.
- God never reassures people based on their potential but with his presence (Moses – Ex. 3:11-12; Joshua – Josh. 1:5, 9; Gideon – Judges 6:12; David – 1 Sam. 17:37; Ps. 23:1; Psalms – Ps. 46:1; Ps. 73:28; Jesus – Matt. 1:23; 28:20; Holy Spirit – John 16:7; Heaven – Rev. 21:3-4, 22-25).
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.