Fear Not in 2019 (Isaiah 41:10)
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10
A few weeks ago my pastor, Mark Vroegop, opened his sermon on Psalm 20 by asking us this question, “If you had the option, how many of you would want to know right now the bad things that will happen to you in 2019 and how many of you would want to wait until they happen?” The response was mixed. Some wanted to know ahead of time to prepare and others preferred to wait and deal with it when it comes. There are good biblical reasons for either response. We should heed Paul’s instruction in Ephesians 6:13 to "take up the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day…” and we should heed Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6:34 to “not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
One practical step we can take to prepare for what is coming in 2019—good or bad—is to memorize Isaiah 41:10. Having this passage deeply rooted in our soul will serve us well in the moment of trouble, as well as right now on the threshold of the unknown. Whatever is ahead for us, we have the assurance of God’s promise to be with us, strengthen us, help us, and uphold us with His righteous right hand.
We call these Fighter Verses because one of the weapons we have been given for the spiritual battle we face is a sword, and Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17 this sword is the Word of God. Memorizing this collection of verses is a way to keep the “sword” close at hand for use at a moment’s notice, for whatever spiritual battle we may face.
Another indispensable weapon alongside the Word of God is prayer. Paul completes his challenge to “take up the sword of the Spirit” by adding “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer and Bible memory come together in at least three ways. First, we pray seeking God’s grace to memorize His Word. The will, the desire, and the ability to memorize all come from the One who, according to this week’s Fighter Verse, has promised to be with us, strengthen us, help us, and uphold us.
Secondly, we pray seeking the Lord’s grace to apply the verse to our own lives. When we are afraid, it usually doesn’t help when someone simply tells us to “fear not” anymore than being told “be not dismayed” delivers us from being dismayed. But again, He who tells us not to fear or be dismayed is our God who has promised to be with us, strengthen us, help us, and uphold us. Therefore, as we sharpen our sword by memorizing the Word, we should seek God’s help with all prayer and supplication to do what it says, which in this case means his help to “fear not” and “be not dismayed.”
Third, memorizing the Word of God equips us for praying Bible-saturated prayers. Bible memorization facilitates Bible meditation and what we meditate on very often shapes and influences our prayers. Prayers that are saturated with the Bible carry with them the authority and power of God’s Word.
Take a few more minutes to read “A Prayer for Grace In Anticipation of Memorizing Fighter Verses in 2019“ to learn how Scripture can fuel your prayers this next year.