But now, thus says the LORD,
who created you, Jacob, and formed you, Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name: you are mine.
When you pass through waters, I will be with you;
through rivers, you shall not be swept away.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,
nor will flames consume you.
For I, the LORD, am your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your savior.
I give Egypt as ransom for you,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you
and nations in exchange for your life.a
Fear not, for I am with you;
from the east I will bring back your offspring,
from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north: Give them up!
and to the south: Do not hold them!
Bring back my sons from afar,
and my daughters from the ends of the earth:
All who are called by my name
I created for my glory;
I formed them, made them.
This passage was my prayer and meditation today. And the words that jumped out at me were that God calls me by name; that I am his; that I am not to fear and that fear is somehow overcome by redemption; God is always with me though fire and flood and raging river; I am precious in God’s eyes; and that I am created for God’s glory--not that God selfishly made me so that I would slavishly continually offer up my glory to God, but that God is somehow glorified by my mere existence, that I am so precious to God that God takes honor and pride just from the fact that I am, regardless of what else I may ever do or not do.
And of course that tells me something about who God is--and that is the quest after all, finding out, for me, WHO God IS.
God is remedy for my fears. I am told not to be afraid, and the reasons offered by God for telling me that are twofold: 1) I am redeemed; and 2) God is with me.
Oxford American Dictionary (thank you Kindle) defines "Redeem" as "to compensate for faults or bad aspects." Psalm 38 says that my sins cause me anxiety (GNT), but God says not to be afraid because he has compensated for my sins; he has made adjustments for them. Redeem also means "to gain or regain in exchange of payment.” And God has gained me by purchasing me with the blood of his Son.
So God doesn’t see me as something to loathe or despise. God doesn’t see me as a sinner or as unworthy. God sees me as something precious, so precious that he paid for me with the blood of his Son, so that he can compensate for my sin, so that my sin doesn’t have to be an issue or factor that comes between me and God.
God also tells me not to fear because God is with me. God is my constant companion. But more than that. With also means “ally” and “supporter.” God says that he is with me, not merely that he is next to me no matter what I face, but that he is my ally, that God has my back, that God is for me, that God approves.
God approves of me, supports me, compensates for the parts about myself that I don’t like, so I have nothing to fear. If I have fear it is because I don’t trust God at his word. I don’t trust that God has compensated for my sins; I don’t trust that God is with me, not that he isn’t present, but that he isn’t WITH me, on my side, supporting me.
God is glorified by me. Glory is “renown” or “honor won by notable achievements”; it also means “takes great pride in.” When God says that I am created or his glory, he is declaring that he was won honor and a notable achievement by making me. I am no more or no less his child, and I am precious. My being glorifies God. God takes pride in me.
Who is God? God is the president of my fan club. God is my number one fan.