Isaiah 8:12 – Do not be in fear


In the New Testament, Peter said there would be persecution but not to be afraid. “Do not fear their threats and do not be troubled” (1Pet 3:14). Having said that, he turns around in the next verse (1Pet 3:15). and says that they ought to fear God.

These two verses of Peter compare with a similar two verses in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Isaiah. First the Lord says, “Do not fear their threats or be in dread.” (Isaiah 8:12),Then he says, “The Lord of hosts shall be your fear” (Isaiah 8:13).

As we read through Isaiah, we keep coming across this theme, “Don’t fear your enemies but do fear the Lord”. God was letting the armies of surrounding nations invade Israel and Judah. Even the dreadful armies of the Assyrians from the north were coming. The invasions are likened to a flood that will come up to Judah’s neck (Isaiah 8:7-8).

Understandably, these invasions made the people fearful. God had sent Isaiah to meet king Ahaz when “the people shook, as the trees of the forest shake with the wind”. Isaiah’ told Ahaz, Be calm, have no fear, and do not be fainthearted” (Isaiah 7:2-4).

Other places in Isaiah where this theme recurs:

Believe in the Final Victory

  • Isaiah’s prophecy about the end of the world reminds us that “he who flees the sound of fear will fall into the pit” (Isaiah 24:17-22).
  • The hymn “O Lord you are my God, I will exalt you” has the line, “Cities of ruthless nations will fear you… the song of the ruthless is silenced”(Isaiah 25:1-5).
  •  The LORD gives us something absolute to trust in troubled times, and the certainty of Heavenly reward if we will but fear and obey the Lord. How does God regard such fear? “The fear of the LORD is his treasure” (Isaiah 33:1-6).

Have the Messianic Spirit

The Messiah himself will have the, ” spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord and he will delight in the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah, 11, 1-5).

  • Isaiah tells God’s people that they should cast away idols and return to God. He gives them a victory song to sing, in which the princes of Assyria “will be in fear” when they see the standard of the Lord(Isaiah 31:6-9).

Be Encouraged

  • Isaiah foretells that, after the invasion and captivity at the hands of Babylon, “the Lord gives you rest from your pain and fear”(Isaiah 14:1-7).
  • Isaiah continually encourages those who are distressed. “Take courage, fear not, behold your God will come with vengeance… but he will save you” (Isaiah 35:3-4).

Two verses from Isaiah can be compared. First the Lord says, “Do not fear their threats or be in dread.” (Isaiah 8:12),Then he says, “The Lord of hosts shall be your fear”(Isaiah 8:13),

Another passage of encouragement from Isaiah. “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” (Isaiah 41:10,14).

Don’t Fear Fearful Things

  • The coming flood and fire of invasion and captivity will be a fearful thing, but God’s people are not to fear. God has called and redeemed them and they will survive. “When you pass through the waters I will be with you… when you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched.”(Isaiah 43:1-2).
  • The one who is afflicted and who is plunged into darkness need have no fear so long as he fears the Lord and trusts in him. (Isaiah 50:6-10).

Consider God’s Nature

  • In telling the people, “Do not fear”, the Lord invites them to consider the nature of their God. “I am the first and I am the last. There is no God besides me. Who is like me? …Is there any God besides me? Is there any other Rock? I know of none!” (Isaiah 44:1-8).
  • Again Isaiah encourages the people, “Do not fear the reproach of man, neither be afraid at their revilings.” He goes on to compare man who dies like the grass with God who is eternal. If we trust in God, we need not “fear continually all day long because of the fury of the opressor.” Isaiah assures us that “the one in chains shall be set free” (Isaiah 51:7,12-16).

Bear Humiliation and Oppression

  • One effect of opression and tribulation is that the victim is humiliated. Isaiah encourages the people in that regard. “Fear not… neither feel humiliated… you will forget the shame.” (Isaiah 54:4,14).
  • A right relationship with God depends on fearing and trusting him and his glory. This the leaders of Israel did not do, but Isaiah looks forward to God sending his Son so that people “will fear the name of the Lord from the west and his glory from the rising of the sun” (Isaiah 57:11,Isaiah 59:16-21).

Fear God and Only God

The final chapters of Isaiah confront us with an awful truth. If we go on resisting God’s Holy Spirit and straying into sin, God will harden us and alienate us with his righteousness. Instead of being our redeemer, he will become our enemy and adversary, a consuming fire (Isaiah 63:7-19,Isaiah 66:4,14-16).

What do you want to know?

Ask our AI widget and get answers from this website