Isaiah 44:2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not O Jacob, my servant; and thou O Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. (KJV)
I must admit, when I first read this verse I almost skipped right over it. I mean who would know if I “missed” one of the fear nots. They sometimes read almost the same or seem out of context. But, my moral compass dictated that I explore every single one since this is what I said we were going to do. Time to get out the commentaries, hook up the internet, and see what and who this verse is directed to.
The prophet Isaiah uses the name Jeshurun only once in the book of Isaiah and it is used only three other times in Scripture in Deuteronomy. I do not recall having seen this before. Names in Scripture are replete with meaning and are never used without a purpose. After all, centuries later, are we going to have any earthly idea who these people are? NO, except God uses their names to convey part of His message. It can be tedious to look up every name in Scripture but I have found it to be a worthwhile endeavor because it shines much light in understanding scriptures like this one.
Jeshurun is a term of endearment for the people of Israel, or the land of Israel or of the Patriarch, Jacob, the father of the nation of Israel. Isaiah is reminding Israel, Jacob has long since died, that God calls Israel His servant. Jeshurun is a poetic name meaning upright, just, or straight. This nation, this people are objects of God’s justifying love. Much like my Granny called me “Patsy” her entire life. A term of endearment of sorts-she hated my name so she changed it. Old people get to do stuff like that I guess. Just sayin’.
The LORD is telling this nation through His prophet that as His servants, they need not be afraid because He knows them completely. He made them, formed them, chose them, and will help them. Why is this tiny nation with this stubborn people so important to God? The answer is simple. The “darling of Heaven” (Jesus) would come through this people to save the entire world. Deuteronomy 32:15, “But Jeshurun (the nation of Israel) grew fat and kicked– You are grown fat, thick, and sleek– Then he forsook God who made him, And scorned the Rock of his salvation.” (NASV)
Let’s think about these servants for a second. They are suppose to serve. Follow directions. Do as they are told without complaint, grumbling, or backtalk. They are called children; they were birthed by God so is obedience not expected? Yes, this is getting to be some really choppy water we are swimming in. Israel has a history of not serving God consistently or faithfully, they tend to be disloyal and have a divided heart. Yet, the God of the universe is calling them by a term of endearment and encouraging them. I wish I was this patient! I would be yelling threats and pulling out a paddle.
Thank goodness I am not The LORD. Listen again, He says, “Fear not, O Jacob (nation of Israel), my servant, I will help you and don’t forget I chose you!” He will never abandon Israel. He will always help them. This nation is His baby. What do we do when our disobedient children are in danger? Exactly, we put aside our anger and do whatever needs to be done to protect, help, save, and we call them by terms of endearment while we are doing so. Israel was not exactly upright, just, or straight but through them the Upright, Just and Straight One would come. (The word straight is used to convey a measuring tool).
When I fell down my Granny’s back stairs and busted my head open after being told not to go down the steps without a grown-up, she called me “Patsy” and helped my Mamma get the bleeding stopped, apply ice, and rock me in her squeaky rocker. My disobedience which caused the injury and left a scar in my forehead was never mentioned. Grace given. If my Granny who was not known for being gentle and kind could give me this kind of grace, how much more will our heavenly Father give us? This really is an important verse to ponder today. Fear not our God loves us, He calls us by His own special name for us, and the best part is He will always help us!