I entered the 21st century recently. It’s a beautiful place. It all started when my husband bought me a cell phone. No one ever told me how wonderful those things are. Well, they probably did, but I’m old-fashioned and stubborn so I didn’t believe them.
Did you know that you can take Pinterest with you wherever you go? There’s a clock so you don’t have to worry about forgetting your pocket-watch (yes, I have a pocket-watch). There’s even a flashlight. And so many emojis or whatever those things are called.
And if you sit there with your phone in your lap without realizing that the camera app is on, you can unknowingly take 136 almost identical photos of your nostrils. (I discovered that exciting little tidbit at the fair yesterday).
But what I love most about this phone is my Bible app. Each day, I click on the reminder and it brings me right to that day’s spot in my reading plan.
A couple of weeks ago, my daily reading included Isaiah 7. Have you ever read Isaiah 7? I mean, really read it? If not, get out your Bible (or your phone) and check it out. It’s one of those passages that … well … honestly, I’d normally just skim through.
Honestly, I did skim through it at first.
But then I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me: Go back. I have something I want you to see.
Do you ever get the sense that God wants to speak to you through something, even though you’re initially not sure how or why? It was one of those moments. Over the last few of weeks, God has been teaching me to overcome discouragement with praise (see this post). And Isaiah 7? This is where it started. Because when I went back and read that passage again, the Lord spoke to my heart in a big way.
The passage is basically God telling the king of Judah not to be afraid. Let me give you some context. A bunch of kings got together and decided to wage war on Judah. They said, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it…” (Isaiah 7:6, ESV).
In a nutshell? The plan was for several groups of people to come together, look big and use fear to paralyze the nation of Judah so it would be easy to conquer.
I know. You’re thinking, “That’s a great history lesson and all, but where is this life-changing revelation?”
I wondered the same thing at first. But as I read the passage again, I had this thought: What does the name Judah mean?
Judah means “praise”.
And suddenly, light bulb.
Isn’t it so true that the enemy wants to steal our praise—and it often starts with fear? Whenever I hit a season of discouragement, it begins with very specific thought patterns. And when these insecurities take root?
Fear defeats me.
Fear paralyzes me.
Fear steals my praise.
Fear that isn’t rooted in the truth of God’s Word. Argh.
This is what was happening in Judah. But God had a message for Judah’s king. He said, “Listen up. [That first line is my interpretation.] It shall not stand. It shall not come to pass.”
Have you ever noticed that most of the things that frighten us never actually come to pass? God is bigger than our fears. He’s bigger than our confusion. He is bigger than any enemy that we can face.
And He fights on our behalf.
But we have a responsibility too. Isaiah 7:9 says, “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”
It’s not always easy to chase fear away with faith. It’s not always easy to stand firm. That’s why praise is so important. The Bible says that God is enthroned on the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). When we worship God, we’re acknowledging His greatness. We’re putting our entire focus on Him in all His power and glory.
We become overwhelmed with awe and reverence.
God becomes big and our problems become small because His perfect love eclipses our fear (see 1 John 4:18).
So when the enemy tries to use fear to steal our praise, we need to stand firm in our faith that Jesus has defeated him on the cross. And we need to “yadah”—shoot out those arrows of praise—and watch the Lord send our enemies fleeing.
I love that.