At the height of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt gave his first Inauguration speech, in which he included the famous line, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Roosevelt continued the address by pointing to the commitment of U.S. citizens to one another, the shared history of overcoming tough challenges, and the need for disciplined work by the country’s financial institutions. The end of fear would come through a joint effort.
In our passage today, the Lord promised to remove the fear of His Servant. Yes, enemies confronted and contended against His people, but the helping presence of the Lord would be sufficient to drive out their terror. They were His chosen people, the descendants of Abraham—the friend of God (v. 8). They were the only nation from among all peoples called to be the Servant of God. They were loved by God, and they could trust that He would be near to defend those He called His own.
As you read this text, take note of all the ways that God will act to save His people. They are described as “little,” to contrast with the Lord’s unsurpassed majesty (v. 14). Their confidence can never be in themselves but only in Him.
The end result of God’s work is that the people will rejoice in Him and recognize His sovereign might and gracious power (vv. 14, 20). Every fear we face in this life should be confronted with the words, “I am the Lord’s servant whom he has chosen” (see v. 8). He alone can fight our battles, conquer our enemies, and dispel all our fears.
Thank God for the diligent work of our Residence Life staff: Bruce Norquist, David Chizum, and Jeffrey Anderson. Keep them in your prayers as they plan programs for the upcoming school year and prepare to welcome students back to campus.