September 2020

“Do not fear all that this people fear”
Isaiah 8.12 (NRSV)
The text of Isaiah chapter 8 is both confusing and disturbing, but it seems to
reflect a period of political turmoil and a sense of dread among the people.
Read and ponder especially verses 11 to 13 and you will find a Word for our
It appears that the prophet was feeling as jittery as everyone else about the
threat of foreign invasion and all that that might imply. Rumours of conspiracy,
true or false, were increasing the collective atmosphere of panic. Then God
strongly reminds his prophet Isaiah about his calling as a representative of the
One who holds all things in balance for their ultimate good.
We, the general public, can perhaps be forgiven for viewing the state of our
world with a sense of dread and foreboding. There are plenty of fearful things
going on around the globe. It is unfortunate that the media as purveyors of
news add enormously to the sense of panic and alarm. With their emphasis
placed firmly on reporting the spectacular, newscasters can easily feed our
sense that God has lost control and calamity is just around the corner.
“The Lord’s hand was strong upon me” says Isaiah. We, people of faith, like the
prophet, are told to feel God’s hand upon us, and to take a firm grip on
ourselves. We must not align ourselves with those who tend to panic. God’s
loving will must and will prevail, come what may. It is as much a question of
poise as it is of faith and trust. This is why the injunction “Fear not” comes so
frequently in the Bible, most of which was written against a backdrop of
disturbance of one sort or another, often violent.
We do ourselves no favours if we simply go along with the common feeling
expressed by one of my neighbours whose favourite phrase seems to be “Isn’t
it awful!” When we hear and receive this month’s Saying in deep contemplative
silence, then we shall have a better chance of seeing things from God’s
perspective, and in intercession we shall be able to help others to see God’s
truth more clearly.