by Naomi B.
from Virtuous Daughters, October/November 2016~Volume 16, Numbers 7-8
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH
is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2
God gave me this verse above several years ago as I was reading through the book of Isaiah. I only read it once, but it fastened itself in my mind, and I found I had memorized it without trying to. Curious, I searched one day to find the reference. After about a half hour of hunting, I finally discovered that it was Isaiah 12:2. Ever since then, it has been my special verse.
However, I was surprised to realize that I had never really tried to find out what that verse really meant—what truths were contained in it, and what it could mean to me. I thought I’d share with you what I found.
The first part of this verse states that “God is my salvation.” What really stands out about this part is the “my.” So often we say things like, “Jesus Christ died for everyone.” It is so easy to generalize salvation that we forget the personal aspect of it! It is not enough that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world—He must be my personal Savior.
Since we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, we need to be saved. We cannot find that salvation in ourselves; but in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God, we may have salvation. So many look to other things and people for salvation—but the Bible does not say, “Behold, baptism is my salvation,” or “my parents are my salvation,” or “my pastor is my salvation,” or “my good character is my salvation.” No, it says, “Behold, God is my salvation.”
What a wonderful thing it is when you realize that God truly is your salvation! He has promised that the salvation you have in him—salvation from sin and death and hell—is a salvation you can never lose, no matter what! If our salvation were not in God, then, indeed, we would have cause to worry. But because “God is [our] salvation,” we can know that we are safe and secure in Him, that He will never leave us or forsake us, that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord! There is such confidence and peace in knowing that God is my salvation. My eternal destiny is secure, and I have nothing to fear.
And that brings us to the next part of the verse. “I will trust, and not be afraid.” Because God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid. It is so easy to fear—to fear death, fear the future, fear disappointment, fear trials, fear man. But God’s Word says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) The fear this verse is talking about is not a healthy, smart fear that will keep you safe, but a fear of things that are beyond our control.
Why should I fear, when God is with me? He has promised He will always be with me. He has taken away the sting of death. After all, the worst thing that could happen to us is that we would die. But in a sense, that is the best thing that can happen to a Christian, because it will mean going to heaven to be with the Lord! As to fears about the future or trials that may come, He tells us, “And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) Sometime when you feel the oppressive weight of fear starting to make you depressed or panicked, search God’s Word for some of His precious promises. He promises to be a refuge in time of trouble. “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.” (Psalm 9:9-10) Another great verse to claim when you feel stressed, confused, scared, or insecure, is Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
God will be your salvation, not only from sin and hell, but also from fear and the terrible effects that fear creates. Because He is my salvation, I need fear nothing, but rather trust.
The connotation of the word trust is a restful one, as of leaving something in someone else’s hands and resting in the knowledge that because they will handle it, everything will be okay. Think of the trust a child has for Mom and Dad. So should our trust be in our all-powerful, all-knowing God!
Recently, my family and I were on vacation, and while there, we decided to climb a mountain. This mountain was steeper than any other one I had climbed before, with narrow rock ledges and sheer cliffs. Although if you used your common sense, there was little risk of death, it would still have been very easy to hurt yourself in some other way. Now, I am naturally cautious, and some of these rock ledges were a little too steep for my comfort. I could just envision myself slipping and sliding down, twisting or breaking some bone in the process! So I frequently reached for someone’s hand, often my dad’s, to help me as I walked over those areas. As soon as I grasped my father’s hand, I felt secure and safe and could walk with confidence. I knew that someone strong was holding me up, and that everything would be okay and I would be safe.
This is an example of how it should be spiritually. God is so powerful, so loving, and He has promised to be with us. He is our heavenly Father, and wants us to trust Him so much! We can feel safe and secure having given Him control of everything—our problems, our lives our fears—knowing that because He is with us, everything will be okay, we will be safe.
It takes a lot of faith to trust God, since we are unable to see Him. Faith is not something that we can work up within ourselves. One of the best things to do if you are “low” on faith is to just pray. Pour out your heart to God, even if you don’t feel that He is there or will hear and answer your prayer. He will give you peace, if you truly hand everything over to Him.
The things we are afraid about are the things that are out of our control. But worrying and fretting and struggling will not change them. Hand then over to the all-powerful, all-present God, and rest in the knowledge that because He is in control and is with us, everything will be okay! In a world of fear today, what a testimony it is when God’s people have peace and joy.
And here’s another reason not to be afraid: “for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song.” My strength. But what kind of strength? The dictionary defines strength as “permanence by virtue of the power to resist stress...durability, enduringness, lastingness.” Perhaps strength is best shown by an illustration.
The baby is screaming, it’s a half hour until supper needs to be on the table so you can get to church in time, you have a pounding headache and feel like collapsing, plus your “to-do” list hasn’t diminished by one thing since you created it last week. Do you ever have days a little like that? Days when you feel like “I can’t take it anymore!” Days when everything is overwhelming, when you feel stressed and emotionally pressured?
Well, everyone does. And we need strength to get through the stressful times in our lives. Sometimes we need strength to resist sin—perhaps unkind or bitter thoughts the devil sends into our minds, perhaps the urge to be grumpy and irritable, or to gossip about somebody else, or to pull back from our commitment to the Lord and His will. Other times, we need strength just to do what needs to be done, and to do it with cheerfulness and love, when our feelings are completely the opposite! Some may need extra physical strength as well, if they battle health problems or weakness.
Often the reason why people fear trials is because it looks huge and overwhelming—like they can’t get through it, as if it will never end. Much of their fear would melt away if they could just have the assurance that they would be able to endure it and come through alright.
But God has promised to give us strength. He will give us the strength as we need it. He doesn’t give us tomorrow’s strength today, but when tomorrow comes, He will give us tomorrow’s strength. He will give strength a day at a time. “as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” (Deuteronomy 33:25b)
Sometimes, we need physical strength too. Depending on your physical condition, there may be days when you feel that, although you have the will-power, you simply aren’t strong enough to do all that you need to do. Ask God for strength then, as well—He will certainly give it. If He in love allows you to have a physical problem or disability, even temporarily, then be assured that He will give you the strength you need. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
We cannot fight our spiritual battles alone, because the devil is far more powerful than we are. However, there’s good news! God is far greater than the devil! He will be with us and will give us His strength and help if we ask for it. In Him, we can have the strength to resist sin and the temptations of the devil.
The key is to rely on God. Reading His Word, claiming His promises, and pouring out our hearts to Him in prayer are very strengthening. Rest in Him, knowing that He is all-in-all and our strength. If we ask, He will give strength. He will strengthen you in a way that is really unexplainable unless you have experienced it. It is such times in life that God becomes very real and that faith is actually increased.
Let’s take just a moment to look at the meaning of God’s name, Jehovah. It means “the I AM,” or “the Eternal Living One.” It gives a suggestion of permanency and steadfastness. God has always been, is, and always will be. He never changes! He still hates what He hated thousands of years ago, and still loves what He loved thousands of years ago. His promises never change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In this, we may find security and peace. I just love His name, I AM. I’ve heard it compared to a blank check, which you can fill in however you need. Do you need joy? I AM joy. Do you need peace? I AM peace. Do you need love? I AM love. Do you need strength? I AM strength. So this verse is expressing that in the everlasting God, the unchangeable God, the God that is complete, is our salvation. That the Lord Jehovah is our strength and song, and that this will never change and will always be.
But God is not only our strength. He is also our Song. Our source of joy. Think for a moment of all the problems that the Christian people you know have. And, of course, you and your family have your own trials and troubles. What’s amazing to me is that twice a week, though, we all get together and sing, praising the Lord! From a human perspective, this doesn’t make sense. Howe can people with so many problems still sing in the middle of it all?
Yet, really, we have more reason than anyone else to be joyful. Joy is not based on our circumstances and situation. Rather, it is based on the unchangeable facts of our salvation, and on our relationship with Jesus!
You will have so many different situations in your life. You will have times of happiness and peace, where everything goes smoothly. You will also have times of disappointment, stress, trial, and sorrow. But our joy cannot be based on our situation.
God must be our song, our source of joy. Think of the many spiritual blessings we possess that can never be taken away! Firstly is our salvation! John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.”
We cannot lose our salvation. Even if we do not “feel” saved, that does not change the fact that we are! Our home in heaven, with God, is eternally secure! What a wonderful truth.
At any time, we can access an all-powerful God in prayer. God created the world, and all that is in it. He holds the key of death and hell. What is incredible is that He cares for us, on one of the smallest planets, sinful humans who have disappointed and grieved Him so often...yet He cares for you, personally! You can come to Him in prayer, asking for forgiveness, or peace, or strength, or help, or telling Him your joys and hopes and fears. What a privilege! No one on earth can take that away from you, no matter what.
The Bible talks so much about God’s love, making it very clear that He loves us and that His children are so very precious to Him. God showed His love so beautifully when He sent His only Son as a baby in a manger, to die for the sins of the whole, sinful world. Isaiah 38:17 “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.” Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:14 “For the love of Christ constraineth us;” Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” Titus 3:4-5 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” 1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” 1 John 4:9-10 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:19 “We love Him, because He first loved us.”
This is why we as Christians can rejoice and sing, even in the middle of trials. Our joy is not based on the things of this earth, for they are temporal and will perish. Rather, it is based on knowing the Lord Jesus Christ in a personal relationship through prayer and reading His Word, and on spiritual blessings He has so graciously given us: the privilege of prayer; a home in heaven; His love, peace, and joy; those precious promises that stand strong through all situations....yes, there is much to rejoice in if our rejoicing is in our wonderful, loving God!
Singing gives a connotation of joy and praise, and we certainly have so much to be thankful and praise God for. I love these words of Habakkuk, which express how our joy must be in God. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield not meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
He is indeed our Song, our source of joy. And this is a joy that can hold strong through all the tests and trials of life, because He is with us! If you are feeling discouraged or fearful, why not spend some time searching God’s Word for His precious promises and expressions of love to us? It is so important to get our focus on the eternal, on Jesus, so that we may have joy that brings glory to God!
And all through this verse, these truths are personalized. The Lord Jehovah—the I AM, the Eternal Living One—is my Strength, my Song. This can be true for everyone, and for you personally.
And then, again, this verse finishes, “He also is become my salvation.” Obviously, God is putting a special emphasis on the fact that He is our salvation, and that is the basis for all the other truths of this verse! When you have come to the end of your life, you will have no regrets that you’ve walked with Jesus all your life. Knowing Him is absolutely wonderful! Certainly, there will be times of struggle and trials in life, but because God is my salvation, because He is my Strength, because He is my Song...I will trust and not be afraid.
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