Shaddai

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Fear thou not, for I am with thee

Fear thou not -

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ki immekha ani ...

Isaiah 41:10a (BHS)

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed;
for I am thy God... (Isaiah 41:10a)

Angst

Fear is an emotional response we have to a perceived danger, often inducing a desire to fight or flee from the conscious threat. Anxiety, on the other hand, is fear of an unknown threat, a sort of ominous foreboding or dread of something that has not yet declared itself to consciousness.

As human beings, we experience everything in terms of spatio-temporal relationships. We can’t help it. Whatever you experience is “framed” within boundaries of space and time. Language itself is embedded into this framework, since it is rhythmic (time-based) and intentional (space-based); that is, it attempts to correlate a sequence of human sounds with events in the world (the grandiose attempt to “transcend” these limitations has been the dream of metaphysical philosophers for ages, but the task is ultimately self-stultifying and idolatrous).

Look at the sweep of a clock’s second hand and consider - if only for a moment - how life and time are intimately connected. If everything in the universe were to become completely motionless, then time itself would not exist. In fact, time is a kind of measurement of motion, and motion is a perception of changing states of affairs and their relationships.

Time

You were not the same person you were just a moment ago - something has changed; you are different, you are literally in a new time and a new place.

Death

These brute facts of our experience might seem dizzying and even terrifying were it not for memory and the sense of conscious identity we retain through the narratives we tell ourselves. Most of the things in our experience have “a story” that we can tell, and that comforts us as we navigate through the byways and passages of our ephemeral days.... We label things; we give ourselves roles, we anticipate events based on generalizations from experience.

Yet we suppress the truth that life is ephemeral, even though we experience the dissolution all around us and feel it in our bones. This the source of our hidden angst.

If we are suddenly shocked from our “everydayness” we invariably will ask the question about the meaning or purpose of life.  Is everything random, purposeless, pointless, and ultimately vacuous, or is there some goal or point to all the motion of the universe?

God speaks to us today, just as He spoke to the ancient Israelites who were questioning the meaning of their lives. Notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, the God of Israel decidedly is in control of history, and His chosen people - even if in exile - need not fear or be dismayed. Yes, there is comfort in the center of the storm: Life rages inscrutably on, but in midst of it you can hear the whispering word, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee...”

There is a way out of the death-grip of anxiety, “for we are saved by hope” (Romans 8:24). You can hope in the LORD and His ultimate plan for your life. You can trust that your life is eternally significant and meaningful. Every breath you take has been given to you from on High, and every hair on your head is numbered. There is a day soon coming when God will wipe away every tear and bring the fullness of love to your wounded and forlorn heart....

“Fear thou not, for I am with thee.” Surely the LORD God of Israel is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). Despite your present state of exile, God will neither leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5, John 14:18). Trust now that He will strengthen and help you with “the right hand of His righteousness.”

Transliteration:

Isaiah 41:10a (BHS) Transliterated

al tira ki immekha ani,
al tishtah ki ani eloheykha

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