Isaiah 8:11-13

“For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

A few verses before this the LORD had promised that He would send the king of Assyria against Judah. Much had happened politically. The nation of Israel had been taken away by the Assyrians or would soon be. The people in Judah saw what was going on.

Now, the LORD spoke directly to Isaiah. God commanded him to not see things the way the people saw them. Herd mentality had overtaken the people in Judah, and they concluded, “a confederacy.” This word could be translated alliance, or conspiracy. The people in Judah saw everything going against them. The nations around them had fallen. Nations came from far away and carried away nations. Perhaps they had a sense that they were next.

The LORD told Isaiah that He was going to bring their enemies to Jerusalem. But God had a different perspective. Isaiah was told to not follow the people: he was not to say, “a confederacy”, as they did. He was told not to fear like the people feared. Isaiah was to see God in the events of life, no matter the political clouds. Verse 13 of this passage was the focus that Isaiah was to have: “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

To sanctify the LORD is to hold Him up, to hallow Him in our thinking, to purify Him in our heart. That is, to think nothing but the best of Him. When fearful events come upon us, we think to blame God, if not out loud, at least in our hearts. We rightly understand Him to be Almighty, and we also rightly understand that all matters are under His control. With these two proper concepts of God in mind, we jump to the wrong conclusion that difficulties should not happen to us. When they do, we wonder if either we have done something terribly wrong, or if God missed something. This is when and where sanctifying Him should happen.

An equally important aspect of God’s character is that He is good. No matter our situation, if we must remind ourselves every second of God’s goodness, we must do it. In Nahum 1:7 we read, “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble: and He knoweth them that trust in Him.” Jesus told the rich young ruler, “Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19). After Job endured great losses, losing all of his wealth and children in one day, in Job 1:20-22 we read, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Job sanctified the LORD in his heart. Though he was in great sorrow, he did not blame God for his losses. It would have been foolish to do so.

Isaiah was told by God that he should “…let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” In the turmoil of his time, Isaiah was told by God to hold to Him. He was to trust God no matter what were the events, no matter what his eyes could see, no matter what the people were saying. God was in control, and He is Almighty.

The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). In Psalm 46:1-3 the author states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” In other words, the author would trust God, he would not fear, though the world around him collapsed. “…let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”

Everyone that belongs to the LORD must sanctify the LORD. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

The world is filled with fear over health and divisions. But we are not to think like the world, neither are we to talk like them. Believers on the LORD Jesus Christ are to let God be their fear, and let Him be our dread. When Jerusalem fell, Jeremiah said, in Lamentations 3:57, “Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.”

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake. (John Rippon)

Matthew 6:31, 32

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”

In this portion, part of what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was teaching His disciples, and those that overheard. Consider His words; “take no thought” means “don’t be anxious”. Jesus told them that there are things about which we should not be anxious. He told them to not worry about food, drink, or clothing; things about which we worry most! It seems unreasonable to not be anxious about them because we are in need of them. Without any one of these we would not survive.

But the One that was talking was the One Who created mankind. He knows what we need. He made us that way. Moses, Elijah, and Jesus Himself all went for 40 days without food or water. The Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert, and their clothes did not wear out. And they received water out of a rock at least twice. God is also well able to provide.

Just prior to saying this, Jesus told them, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:26-30).

This puts a further perspective on the matter. Lesser things such as fowls and lilies receive blessing, feeding, and clothing from God. If He provides for them, how could we conclude that He doesn’t care about us? He feeds the birds, He clothes the lilies, which last only a day. How much better are we than they?  Shall He not much more clothe us?

The most important concept in the verses above is that our heavenly Father knows that we need all of these things. Again, He made us, and He made us to need the things we need. Our needs are intended by Him to be an opportunity to learn to trust Him more, even with the littlest things, even with our needs.

Similarly, in Matthew 6:7, 8 we read, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” The ending thought is the same as above.

But these verses touch on the matter of prayer. Some think that if they pray long enough and hard enough about a matter of concern, then God will answer. The unknown is how much is enough. The heathen think that long, even mindless, praying turns God’s ear. Quantity is the key, they think. In some cultures, wheels are set up that, when they are spinning, are supposedly sending prayers heavenward on behalf of the person that has started them spinning. All vain repetition. God promises us that He hears our praying. The often-asked question, “Does God answer prayer?” can be answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

Often, that question is asked out of disappointment over what seems to be a lack of an answer. A situation hasn’t changed, or a need has not been met. We are not to be like the heathen, who think that our much speaking impresses God. Faith, or trust in Him, is what pleases Him. The answer we await to our praying could be no, or it could be wait, or it could be yes. If we are trusting Him, then we conclude that He knows better. His timing, His will, His purposes are important. No matter the answer, or lack of answer, the bottom line is, He knows what we need before we ask!

Here is how we learn to trust Him. What do we need? Clothes? He knows. Water? He knows. Food? He knows. Money? He knows. Friendship? He knows. Health? He knows. ___________? He knows. We certainly should pray about these things; we should persist in our praying, for scripture tells us to. But it is not our much speaking that makes any difference. Our requests come to a Caring Person Who knows what we need before we ask.

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
And long for Heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Let not your heart be troubled,
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth,
But one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.


Whenever I am tempted,
Whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing,
When hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him,
From care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Refrain (Civilla D. Martin)