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The Lord, the Holy One of Israel, the Helper of the Weak

Isaiah 41:13

Isaiah 41:13  For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!

Isaiah 41:10-20
Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

Behold, all they who are enraged and inflamed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; they who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you but shall not find them; they who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all.

For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!

Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest or whirlwind shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The poor and needy are seeking water when there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the wild olive; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together that men may see and know and consider and understand together that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! (Isaiah 41:14) Verse 14 jumps out of this passage and almost distracts us from the following powerful words:  I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. How comforting to know all mighty God is our helper and strength but seriously, do we need to call names?

There is much symbolism in calling Jacob a worm.  The Hebrew word found here and rendered in English as “worm” is towla` and translates:  worm, scarlet stuff, crimson; worm – the female ‘coccus ilicis’; the dye made from the dried body of the female of the worm “coccus ilicis”. Also in Hebrew we find the word shaniy which translates as:  scarlet, crimson; properly, the insect ‘coccus ilicis’, the dried body of the female yielding coloring matter from which is made the dye used for cloth to color it scarlet or crimson. Virtually interchangeable. We find shaniy in Isaiah 1:18:   Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.

Without the Lord the nation of Israel is:

  • alone
  • weak
  • defenseless
  • overcome by difficulties
  • considered by other nations to be despised and contemptible
  • scarlet stained because of their sin

With the Lord the nation of Israel is:

  • under the protection of God
  • chosen
  • upheld
  • helped
  • strengthened through prayer, faith, and dependence on God
  • shown how the lowly worm with its tender, seemingly innocuous mouth is able to gnaw its way into the hard cedar wood and destroy it
  • white as snow, white like wool

The Lord, the Holy One of Israel is sovereign God. Almighty God. The God of unlimited resources. Nothing is too hard for Him. He declares: I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the wild olive; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together (Isaiah 41:18-19)

This is the God of miracles. This is the God who provides a way out when there is no way out. The God who brings forth from nothing. The God of the impossible. Just like worm Jacob, there is deep symbolism in God’s promise of trees in the desert. Consider what kind of trees God will plant in a barren, hostile land:

Trees

The Cedar:  uncommonly tall and wide-spreading; its wood is without knots and not liable to decay; The wood is not attacked by insect pests and is used in modern times for closets to protect clothes from moths. In Biblical times it was used to build the Temple, the house of God.

1 Kings 6:1   And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.

1 Kings 6:9-10   So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.

1 Kings 6:1-18   And he built the inside walls of the temple with cedar boards; from the floor of the temple to the ceiling he paneled the inside with wood; and he covered the floor of the temple with planks of cypress. Then he built the twenty-cubit room at the rear of the temple, from floor to ceiling, with cedar boards; he built it inside as the inner sanctuary, as the Most Holy Place. And in front of it the temple sanctuary was forty cubits long. The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with ornamental buds and open flowers. All was cedar; there was no stone to be seen.

The righteous are compared to cedars:

Psalms 92:12   The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible].

Psalms 104:16   The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly and are filled with sap, the cedars of Lebanon which He has planted

The Acacia tree:   large tree having bark covered with black thorns and the wood is very hard, when it grows old its wood resembles ebony

The Ark of the Covenant was made of Acacia wood

Exodus 25:10   They shall make an ark of acacia wood: two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.

Exodus 25:13-14   You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, and put the poles through the rings on the ark’s sides, by which to carry it.

The Table for the Showbread was made of Acacia wood

Exodus 25:23-28   Also, make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high [for the showbread]. You shall overlay it with pure gold and make a crown, a rim or molding, of gold around the top of it; and make a frame of a handbreadth around and below the top of it and put around it a gold molding as a border. You shall make for it four rings of gold and fasten them at the four corners that are on the table’s four legs. Close against the frame shall the rings be as places for the poles to pass to carry the table [of showbread]. You shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, that the table may be carried with them.

Acacia wood was used in the building of the Temple

Exodus 26:37   You shall make five pillars of acacia wood to support the hanging curtain and overlay them with gold; their hooks shall be of gold, and you shall cast five [base] sockets of bronze for them.

The Altar in the Temple was made of Acacia wood

Exodus 27:1   And make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits square and three cubits high [within reach of all].

The Myrtle Tree:   either a shrub or a tree, growing well in stony soil; an evergreen, it is quite bushy in branch structure and has thick, shiny, dark-green leaves; it blossoms with clusters of fragrant white flowers that mature into blue-black berries. Almost the entire plant has a fragrant spicy oil used in perfumes. The berries, though aromatic, are edible. The Hebrew name of Esther, wife of Persian King Ahasuerus, was Hadassah, which means “Myrtle.” Esther 2:7

Fragrance is very important to God and is mentioned multiple times throughout the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 37:29   He also made the holy anointing oil [symbol of the Holy Spirit] and the pure, fragrant incense, after the perfumer’s art.

2 Corinthians 2:15   For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

The Olive Tree:   Olive wood is very hard and is prized for its durability, color, and interesting grain patterns. They tolerate drought well, thanks to their sturdy and extensive root system. Olive trees can live for several millennia, and can remain productive for as long if they are pruned correctly and regularly. The olive tree, Olea europaea, is very hardy: drought-, disease- and fire-resistant, it can live to a great age. Its root system is robust and capable of regenerating the tree even if the above-ground structure is destroyed. if the trunk is cut down, the shoots from its roots continue to grow, ensuring its continued existence.

The Olive tree provided food, oil for anointing, oil for medicine, oil for fuel/light, oil as part of worship and sacrificing, and wood for crafting.  The olive branch has been a symbol of “peace” to the world

The olive tree is a symbol of faithfulness, steadfastness, and blessing or fruitfulness

Psalm 52:8   But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in and confidently rely on the loving-kindness and the mercy of God forever and ever.

Psalm 128: 3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the innermost parts of your house; your children shall be like olive plants round about your table.

The Olive Tree is a symbol of beauty

Hosea 14:6   His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, And his fragrance like Lebanon.

The wood of the olive tree was used in the building of the Temple

1 Kings 6:23  Within the Holy of Holies he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high.

1 Kings 6:31-33  For the entrance of the inner sanctuary he made doors of olive wood; the lintel and doorposts were one-fifth of the wall. The two doors were of olive wood; and he carved on them figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold; and he spread gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.  So for the door of the sanctuary he also made doorposts of olive wood, one-fourth of the wall.

Oil was used for anointing of all kinds: sanctification, kings, priests, sacrifices

Exodus 29:7   Then take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him.

Exodus 30:23-33   Also take for yourself quality spices—five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony; the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base. You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy. And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests.“And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people.’

Cakes of bread “anointed with oil” were among the sanctified offerings Israel made to God

Leviticus 8:26   and from the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord he took one unleavened cake, a cake of bread anointed with oil, and one wafer, and put them on the fat and on the right thigh;

Olive oil was used for light

Leviticus 24:2  Command the children of Israel that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to make the lamps burn continually.

Olive oil was a daily essential part of worship and sacrifices

Exodus 29:4   And with the one lamb a tenth measure of fine flour mixed with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering [to be poured out].

The Olive and the Wild Olive are symbolic of the Jews and the Gentiles

Romans 11:17   But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the richness [of the root and sap] of the olive tree,

Romans 11:23-24  And even those others [the fallen branches, Jews], if they do not persist in [clinging to] their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and against nature grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much easier will it be to graft these natural [branches] back on [the original parent stock of] their own olive tree.

The Fir Tree:   generic term referring to cypress, fir, juniper, and pine trees; used to make musical instruments

Isaiah 60:13   The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious.

The Pine Tree:   a species of hardwood tree, perhaps boxwood, elm; A firm, enduring tree

The Box Tree:   a small evergreen tree, perhaps cypress or cedar. Tallness; hence a tall tree; a species of cedar remarkable for the smallness of the cones, and with branches turned upward. A well-known beautiful evergreen, growing in many parts of Europe and Asia. Its wood is highly prized by engravers. The word employed in Isaiah 60:13  is thought by many to have been a species of cedar. It is used as an emblem of the abiding grace and prosperity
of the church of God.

The sum total of the benefits and provision of all the trees mentioned show the depth of thought God gives to how He responds to the cries of His children.  This is why we are not to fear or be afraid.  He is with us.  He hears our cries.  He knows our need.  He responds with the strength of His presence, water, food, shelter, beauty, fuel, light, holy anointing, the hardness of stability, and the assurance that no matter what happens to the seen, the unseen is thriving and flourishing.

Next:  The Strength and Power of The Holy One of Israel  >

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2014 by in 1Kings, All Sufficient God, Beauty, Benefits of Serving God, Bible Stories, Blessed, Comfort, Deliverance, Esther, Exodus, Faith, Faith, Faithfulness, Favor of God, Fear of the Lord, God, God, God Hears Our Prayers, God Our Refuge, God Our Salvation, God Rules, Good News, Grace, Guidance, Help, Historical Old Testament Books, Holiness, Holy, Hope, Hosea, II Corinthians, Inspiration, Isaiah, Knowledge, Leviticus, Life, Light, Love, Love, Majesty, Major Prophets, Mercy, Minor Prophets, New Testament, Obedience, Old Testament, Pauline Epistles, Pentateuch or The Five Books of Moses, Power, Praise, Prayer, Promises, Protection, Provision, Psalms, Romans, Safety, Seek, Servant, Sovereign, Spirituality, Strength, The Holy Spirit, The Lord Our Shield, Trust, Truth, Understanding, Victory, Waiting on God, Wisdom Books, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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