But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 (ESV)
Our church choir has been rehearsing a beautiful a cappella piece entitled Do Not Be Afraid by Philip W.J. Stopford using the text from Isaiah 43. I didn’t remember this particular chapter until it appeared one morning last week in a devotional I was reading. Listen to these words:
“Do not be afraid.” According to scholars, the command to not be afraid occurs 365 times in Scripture.
“…for I have redeemed you;” According to Oxford Languages, redeem means to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something); or to do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior; to vindicate or save/free from blame; to remove guilt from; to make restitution for. It also means to gain or regain possession in exchange for payment.
“I have called you by your name.” Our name is known and called by the creator of the universe.
“You are mine.”
And yet how we do worry. About everything. The world seems focused on stimulating our anxiety, doesn’t it? Listen to television news. Read a newspaper or magazine. Have a conversation with friends. To quote an old Randy Newman song, “It’s a jungle out there!”
Despite all of these verses, despite Paul’s charge in his letter to the Philippians to “…not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) Despite all of these we still spend much of our day worrying. Think of it – COVID-19, the economy, wars and rumors of war, the future. So why are we not to worry?
I remember a lunch with a group of friends, some believers and some not. One of the latter interrupted the conversation at the table to exclaim,” What is it with you people! How can you not be scared to death with all that’s going on?” Another replied with a smile, “It’s because we know how this all turns out. We know where we’ll spend eternity. And we know that none of all these things you’ve mentioned makes any difference.”
So do not be afraid. We are redeemed because He redeemed us. He has called us by our name. We are His!