According to the most-downloaded Bible app YouVersion, installed on over 500 million devices, the most shared Bible verse of 2022 is the same as 2020 during the rise of COVID. It also occupied the top spot in 2018.
It has universal application and shows how people felt and what or WHO is bringing them comfort. So, what does this verse offer that has such world-wide appeal?
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
The passage is written hundreds of years before Christ. God’s people have suffered captivity by a foreign foe, destruction of their beloved temple, and the plunder of their land by Assyrian and Babylonian Kings.
Now the Persian ruler, Cyrus the Great, has issued an edict that Israel can return home. But there is the work of rebounding from years of exile, rebuilding, and restoration. How can they face it? Where do they begin? And can they do it?
Jehovah says through the prophet, “Yes. You. Can.” Isaiah is affirming even through your struggles; you are not alone. God is on your side.
Believing, embracing and internalizing that truth begins with two words: “Fear not.” I once read that there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible. One for every day of the year.
Numerous surveys through the years reveal the most common fears American’s possess. Among them are fear of heights. Fear of the darkness. Fear of snakes, bugs or spiders. Fear of sickness. Fear of closed spaces. Fear of rejection. Fear of poverty. Fear of old age. Fear of criticism. Fear of the loss of love.
One survey listed public speaking as people’s top fear. In second place was death. So, presumably, some folks would rather attend their own funeral than deliver the eulogy at someone else’s funeral.
While some fears are real, others are imagined. Regardless, fear will paralyze you. Fear creates anxiety. Fosters helplessness. Harms heath. Impairs good judgment. Creates suspicion. Causes cowardice. Limits vision. Kills dreams. And breeds uncertainty.
Fear is a formidable foe to your faith.
So what is the answer to fear. Follow the ancient advice.
#1 Remember God says, I AM with you.
God promises His presence. He is our rock. Our refuge. Our help in time of trouble. God knows our problems. Feels our pain. Hears our petitions. And cares about our plight. Even when we don’t feel God’s presence, He is there. C. S. Lewis expressed it this way, “We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.”
#2 Don’t be Dismayed.
The word “dismayed” means to look around in a state of alarm or danger. There is much to leave us feeling dismayed, discouraged and depressed. Especially if all we do is listen to the bad reports amplified 24/7 on cable news. Because of God’s promise, we can keep calm. Be secure. And possess peace of mind.
#3 Know that God is Your God.
He is “the Lord of hosts.” He is all knowing. All powerful. Ever present. Our foes are no match for His power and might. When we personally know and enjoy a relationship with Jehovah as our God, we have nothing to fear.
#4 God will Strengthen and Help You.
God will enable us to endure trouble, bear every trial, and perform every task. With our prayers, by His providence and through His people, we can overcome our anxieties, and subjugate Satan.
#5 God will Uphold You By His Right Hand of Righteousness.
This phrase is a Hebrew expression that speaks to God’s faithfulness. It is God’s righteousness that supports and sustains the oppressed from the abuse of the oppressor.
As we grow in faith, hope and love, the “God of all comfort” will soothe our spirits, settle our minds, and subdue our fears.
Face your fears. Feed your faith. Fortify your hope. And fill your mind with the Truth of God’s Word.
Whatever trial, trouble, or temptation you may be facing, boldly repeat God’s promise:
“I will never leave you nor forsake you…”The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman