Isaiah 41 — The God who is in control

Sometimes as we look at the news, it seems like the world is going crazy.  We see crime, war, and natural disasters, and we wonder if God is really in control.

But God answers here that ultimately he is the one in control.  In this passage, he seems to be predicting the coming of Cyrus who would conquer many nations, but in making these predictions, God says, “I am the one who is behind it all.”  He asks the people,

Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning?  I, the Lord – with the first of them and with the last – I am he. (4)

In other words, “I am the everlasting one.  And I hold all of history in my hands.  I was there at the very beginning of time, and I will be there at its end.”

How do we respond to this?  We have two choices.  One is to respond as the nations do.  Isaiah says of them,

The islands have seen it and fear; the ends of the earth tremble.  They approach and come forward; each helps the other and says to his brother, “Be strong!”  The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer spurs on him who strikes the anvil.  He says of the welding, “It is good.”  He nails down the idol so it will not topple.  (5-7)

So many people, when faced with the idea that God is in control, respond with fear as these nations did.  And so they try to encourage each other, saying, “Let’s make our own gods that we can control, rather than follow the God that we can’t.”

In those days, that meant making idols out of gold or wood or whatever material they chose to use.  Today, many people try to control their own lives by making money their god.  They think that if they just make enough money, they can rely on themselves rather than on the living God.

But as God exposed the idols for the worthless things they were (21-24), so God will expose the things that we try to rely on.  Just as the idols were helpless to predict the future, so is money worthless when it comes to predicting our future security.  Stock markets crash.  Bad investments are made.  And as quickly as money can be made, it can quickly be lost.  And so God says of these false gods,

You are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; he who chooses you is detestable.  (24)

What is our other choice, then?  Our other choice is to put our trust in God.  And when we do, God says to us,

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (10)

And again,

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, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you…See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth.  You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.  You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away.  But you will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel. (13-16)

God promises that when we trust him, he will not forsake us, but rather that he will turn our “deserts” into “pools of water,” and our “parched ground” into “springs.”  That he will take “a barren desert and wasteland and fill it with trees.”  (17-19)

In other words, though our lives seem dry and devoid of life, he will come and make it into something beautiful.  Why does God do this?

So that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.  (20)

God is already in control, so why not surrender control of your life to him?  The tighter we hold on to control in our lives, the more things spin out of control.  But when we surrender control to him, that’s when everything starts to come together and we find his blessing in our lives.

Who has control of your life today?


About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください:
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