The following is a Bible study I had finished on Saturday but finally finished typing it today. To see it in an outline format in Microsoft Word document, click on the following words: I Will Help Thee. Otherwise, it is as follows:
Bible Study: I Will Help Thee
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 41:13, 14).
Question: What is going on here that the Israelites might have a reason to fear?
Answer: See previous verses: v. 11, 12.
– There were those that war against the Israelites
We are in a spiritual warfare: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…” (Ephesians 6:12).
Although we spiritual Israelites (see Galatians 3:29 to know Christians are spiritual Israelites), we have nothing to fear because *God will help us if we put on the whole armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10, 11).
*In Isaiah 41:13, 14, it says “I will help thee” twice. When God repeats himself, it is because it is of great importance.
Question: What is so significant about God holding the right hand?
Answer: “Right” in this context is H3225. It means “the right hand or side (leg, eye) of a person or other object (as the stronger and more dexterous.” In other words, God will strengthen the strongest part of you. Other passages where “right” is H3225: Proverbs 27:16; Ecclesiastes 10:2; Song of Solomon 2:6, 8:3; Isaiah 41:10, 44:20, 45:1, 54:3, 62:8, 63:12.
Question: Why was Jacob called “worm”?
Answer: “Worm” in the passage (Isaiah 41:14) is H8438: a maggot (as *voracious). Other passages where “worm” is H8438: Job 25:6, Psalm 22:6; and Jonah 4:7.
*Voracious = having or showing a tendency to eat very large amounts of food.
Compared to a holy God (Psalm 22:3), man is considered to be like what we view a maggot (Psalm 22:6).
In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Jacob being called a worm, he mentions that “Jacob and Israel are reduced and brought very low. It is the worm Jacob, so little, so weak, and so defenceless, despised and trampled on by every body, forced to creep even into the earth for safety…God’s people are sometimes as worms, in their humble thoughts of themselves and their enemies’ haughty thoughts of them—worms, but not vipers, as their enemies are, not of the serpent’s seed. God regards Jacob’s low estate, and says, ‘Fear not, thou worm Jacob; fear not that thou shalt be crushed…do not give up yourselves for gone…’ ”
“Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 41:15, 16).
Question: What is this passage talking about?
Answer: See Matthew Henry’s Commentary: “The Lord will help them by enabling them to help themselves and making Jacob to become a threshing instrument. Observe, He is but an instrument, a tool in God’s hand, that he is pleased to make use of; and he is an instrument of God’s making and is no more than God makes him. But, if God make him a threshing instrument, he will make use of him, and therefore will make him fit for use, new and sharp, and having teeth, or sharp spikes; and then, by divine direction and strength, thou shalt thresh the mountains, the highest, and strongest, and most stubborn of thy enemies: thou shalt not only beat them, but beat them small; they shall not be a corn threshed out, which is valuable, and is carefully preserved…; but these are made as chaff, which is good for nothing, and which the husbandman is glad to get rid of. He pursues the metaphor, v. 16. Having threshed them, thou shalt winnow them, and the wind shall scatter them. … That, hereupon, they shall have abundance of comfort in God, and God shall have abundance of honour from them: Thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, v. 16. When we are freed from that which hindered our joy, and are blessed with that which is the matter of it, we ought to remember that God is our exceeding joy and in him all our joys must terminate. When we rejoice over our enemies we must rejoice in the Lord, for to him alone we owe our liberties and victories. ‘Thou shalt also glory in the Holy One of Israel, in thy interest in him and relation to him, and what he has done for thee.’ And, if thus we make God our praise and glory, we become to him for a praise and a glory.”
“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water” (Isaiah 41:17, 18).
Although the above scriptures were written during the time a nation was under distress, it is a practical passage for anyone that needs to be reminded that God will take care of them. A place that lacks water is a wilderness. God will not forsake someone who was left in a mental, spiritual, emotional, etc. wilderness. He promises to open rivers in high places (ex: spring waters that are refreshing and rejuvenating) and foundations in the midst of the valleys. This is the heart of the gospel. The woman at the well was seeking for something only the gospel could supply (John 4:7-29). This world is our wilderness. Jesus came to this wilderness to supply us with water (John 4:13, 14) of everlasting life.
“I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it” (Isaiah 41:19, 20).
Question: What is the significance of the cedar, shittah tree, myrtle, oil tree, fir tree, pine, and the box tree in the wilderness/desert?
Answer: Notice how many: seven. In the Bible, seven is a number of completion (see Genesis 2:2, 3), fullness (Revelation 15:1), and perfection (Revelation 16:17).
- Cedar (H730): From H729; a cedar tree
- H729: To be firm.
- Shittah; see “Shittim” (H7848): From the same as H7850; the acacia (from its scourging thorns).
- H7850: To flog; a goad;—scourge.
- “Shittah” is singular and “shittim” is plural
- According to http://swedenborgstudy.com/books/G.deCharms_Tabernacle/shittim-wood.htm, the cedar and shittim may have been referred to as one plant; a type of cedar plant.
- Myrtle (H1918): The myrtle:—myrtle (tree)
- According to biblestudytools.com/dictionary/myrtle, it is a shrub or low tree (sometimes ten feet high) with green shining leaves and snow-white flowers bordered with purple and smells more exquisite than the rose.
- Oil (H8081) tree: From H8080; grease especially liquid (as from the olive, often perfumed); figuratively, richness:—anointing, x fat (things); x fruitful, oil(-ed), ointment, olive, pine.
- H8080: A primitive root; to shine, i.e. (by analogy) be (causatively, make) oily or gross:—become (make, wax) fat.
- Fir (H1265): A cypress (?) tree; hence a lance or a musical instrument (as made of that wood):—fir (tree).
- According to biblestudytools.com/dictionary/fir, its wood was used to make musical instruments and doors of houses, for ceilings (2 Chronicles 3:5), the deck of ships (Ezekiel 27:5), and floorings and spear-shafts (Nahum 2:3, RSV). The true fir (abies) is not found in Palestine, but the pine tree, of which there are four species, is common.
- Question: Is this fir tree related to the pine that is also found in the same passage (Isaiah 41:19)?
- Pine (H8410): Apparently from H1725; enduring; a species of hard-wood or lasting tree (perhaps oak):—pine (tree).
- Box (H8391): From H833; a species of cedar (from its erectness):—box (tree)
Although the wilderness is a place that lacks, water, God surrounded this nation with symbolisms and characteristics of trees that were firm, defensive (with thrones), fragrant (smells more better than roses), rich, and enduring. When we find ourselves in a mentally, spiritually, emotionally, etc. wilderness, God desires to provide us with these characteristics so those who are looking on will know that God’s hand had been the provider and created (recreation) these strong and sweet characteristics in us.
“Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob” (Isaiah 41:21).
Question: What does God mean by “produce your cause” and “bring forth your strong reasons”?
Answer: In my Study Bible, “produce your cause” in Hebrew means “cause to come near.”
- “Produce” (H7126): To approach (causatively, bring near) for whatever purpose:—(cause to) approach, (cause to) bring (forth, near), (cause to) come (near, nigh), (cause to) draw near (nigh), go (near), be at hand, join, be near, offer, present, produce, make ready, stand, take.
Note: “Reasons” was added when interpreting the Bible from Hebrew to English (to allow the words to flow smoothly). So the original phrase is “bring forth your strong” (the word “reasons” cannot be found within this passage reference in the Strong’s Concordance).
- “Forth” (H5066): To be or come (causatively, bring) near (for any purpose); euphemistically, to lie with a woman; as an enemy, to attack; religious to worship; causatively, to present; figuratively, to adduce an argument; by reversal, to stand back:—(make to) approach (nigh), bring (forth, hither, near), (cause to) come (hither, near, nigh), give place, go hard (up), (be, draw, go) near (nigh), offer, overtake, present, put, stand.
- “Strong” (H6110): Feminine of H6099; a bulwark, i.e. (figuratively) argument:—strong.
Sum: Present your argument.
According to Matthew Henry’s Commentary, God is speaking to the idolators, telling them to prove that their idols are gods (see verse 23).
Sometimes, our own thoughts and emotions can become gods. Often, we are in conflict mentally to go with what our emotions are saying versus what God has said. God desires to help us but who will let Him?
- The Holy Bible, KJV (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+41&version=KJV)
- Strong’s Concordance (https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/isa/41/1/ss1/s_720001)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary (http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhcw/isaiah/41.htm)
- Sweden Borg Study (http://swedenborgstudy.com/books/G.deCharms_Tabernacle/shittim-wood.htm)
- Bible Study Tools (com/dictionary/myrtle and biblestudytools.com/dictionary/fir)