I want to hold your hand – Thursday, 2nd Week in Advent – Isaiah 41:13-20

Today we read of mercy in the midst of madness. For seventy years the people of Israel were. in exile. Chapter 41 offers hope that now seems to take on concrete form. In 41:2 we read, “who has roused a victor from the east, summoned him to his service? “This is certainly a reference to Cyrus the Great of Persia, though he is not named until (44:28). The Lord anointed Cyrus the Great, king of Persia who ruled from 550 – 530 B.C., to accomplish His righteous will by conquering Babylon (in 539 B.C.), and allowing some of the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. 

Scattered through the text of Chapter 41 is the reassurance of God, seen in the form of assurance, protection and providence.


Assurance is experienced in the words  “do not fear” which appears in verse 10, 13 and 14. On reading the text of verse 14 one is left a bit perplexed. The verse reads, “ do not fear, you worm Jacob, you insect (men of) Israel. I will help you says the Lord.” While Israel and Jacob certainly needed to be called out for the years of disobedience and rebellion against God, did they really need insult to injury?

While we may think that the analogies could have been a bit more sensitive we need to keep in mind what God wants to communicate and sometimes the most unexpected examples serve to fully draw out a point being made. A worm is an insect that has no spine and in reality is at the bottom of the food chain. Yet it is this creature that could be so easily crushed in a fraction, that will be taken and made into a threshing sledge; new and sharp. It will be able to crush the mountains and grind the hills into chaff. God’s assurance is for us too; we have ‘mountains’ in our lives, those insurmountable obstacles that challenge us. At times we feel like we are at the bottom of the food chain, ready to be devoured by forces around us. God assures us this advent that we will not be crushed, that no obstacle is too great for God and that shows us He is with us.

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