God spoke through the prophets to encourage us to flee from our sinful nature and return through faith to Our Lord and Creator. Christ, the Lord, came and suffered to save us from our sins. Christ is the Church’s final salvation in “the last days,” which began with Christ’s Ascension. As we celebrated over a month ago, the birth of Jesus Christ inaugurated a new age—the first taste of the greater salvation that Christ brings to God’s people. Peter’s second epistle reminds us the words of prophecy fulfilled in Christ are being fulfilled today in His Church: “So, we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You do well to be attentive to this as a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” [1.19].
Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you. You are a people holy to the Lord your God, who has chosen you to be a people, God’s treasured possession. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of the Lord who called you out of darkness into the Lord’s marvelous light.
“You are My witness,” declares the Lord, “and My servant whom I chose. Know and believe Me. Understand that before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.
“I took you from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I chose you and have not rejected you.’ Remember these things, for you are My servant; I formed you, and you will not be forgotten by Me—everyone called by My name, whom I created for My glory.
“I am the Lord Almighty, enthroned between the cherubim; I alone am God over every kingdom on the earth. I made heaven and earth. Do not fear; I am with you. Do not be afraid, dismayed, discouraged, or anxious, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, and I will uphold you with my victorious and righteous right hand. I am your shield, your great reward. Did I not command Joshua and the nation of Israel millennia ago to be strong and courageous, not to be afraid or discouraged? I the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“When you pass through the turbulent waters of trials, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers of despair, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fires of temptation, they will not burn you; the flames will not set you ablaze.
“So do not be afraid, my servant; do not be dismayed,” declares the Lord. “I will save you out of a distant place, from the land of your exile. You will again have peace and security, and no one will make you afraid. I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, do not fear, for I myself will help you,’” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
“Yes, everyone who is incensed, enraged, and angered against you shall be put to shame, confused, disgraced, and humiliated; those who strive against and oppose you shall be as nothing and shall perish. They will say of Me, ‘Deliverance and strength are in the Lord alone.’ Those who raged against you will be put to shame. No evil charge against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is your heritage as My servant, and this will be their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.
“Though you search for your enemies, those who contend and quarrel with you, you shall not find them; those who attack you shall come to nothing. In a while, the wicked will be no more; though you look with care at their place, they will not be there. My servant David had seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green laurel tree, but the wicked man soon passed away and was no more; though David looked for him, the ruthless man could not be found. True, the wicked may prosper in the business of this world. However, far from being envied by you, these ‘prosperous wicked’ should be mourned since their temporary success is a prelude to eternal loss. The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and they who have an eye for evil will be cut down like a flourishing green laurel tree. They perish forever like their refuse. They fly away like a dream, and no one can find them. Even like a vision of the night, they are chased away. The eye that saw them sees them no longer, and their place no longer beholds them.
“Why them and not you? I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Realizing this, My servant David professed, ‘Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.’ Therefore, I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will watch over you as My servant and will appoint you as a covenant for the people and a light to the nations.”
Like Paul, what shall we say in response? If God is for us, who is against us? Our response should resemble that of David, “You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to God’s people. Praise be to God!”
When our soul is weary with sorrow from passing through the turbulent waters of trials and the rivers of despair, the Lord strengthens us according to God’s Word. Because the Sovereign Lord helps us, we will not be disgraced. Therefore, we must set our face like flint, resolved and determined in the face of opposition, knowing a setback—any setback—will not put us to shame. The Sovereign Lord helps us. Who will condemn us? The Lord is our light and our salvation; whom shall we fear? The Lord is our refuge, the defense of our life; whom shall we dread?
When we go out each day to battle our “enemies” and see numerous obstacles, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord, our God, who brought Israel up from the land of Egypt, is with us—even to the end of the age. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord our God goes with us. Our God will not fail us nor forsake us.