I have been reading the whole Bible through for many years, mostly in one year but recently I slowed it down to reading it in two, three or four years. This year, in 2023, I’m doing it completely differently because last year there was too much pressure. (Self inflicted!) I found it such a challenge to read it in one year, feeling I wasn’t gaining much as I read so fast. So now I’m working through 'Thrive' which is a daily Bible reading guide produced by Dr Matthew Jacoby (and as a member of 96three, it’s complimentary and it’s so good). As I read that and anything else I feel God is leading me to, I’m relaxed and enjoying my Bible reads. I now have more time to meditate on the Word without rushing.
Recently, when I was reading Isaiah 35, I got out the tried and true 'SOAP' method for analysing the Bible and found it really helpful. In case you are not familiar, it’s a way to study scripture and hear God through it. Years ago when I began using it, I found that the Word really opened up for me. So let me share with you how it works.
S is for the scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P for Prayer. I find journalling is really helpful and the science backs this up for mental well being. In this case I applied it to verse four of Isaiah 35. Here is my exploration of this verse straight from my journal but you may like to do your own using the SOAP method.
‘Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.’ Isaiah 35:4 NKJV
I believe from this, that God understands that we struggle with fear and so He is addressing it, saying for us to be strong. When we are strong, it seems likely then, that it is actually possible let go of fear. Things are seen then in better and positive perspectives. For me the verse also suggests that strength and fear are mutually exclusive and that it is almost a recipe for happy and stress-free living. Who doesn’t want that!
The word behold, also grabbed my attention – it could mean we are to get ready because God will save the day (and us too). I really love that. It's like being saved over and over! And of course sometimes we need saving from ourselves. Ha ha! Well I do.
I think I must do a bit more work on the being/getting to/obtaining strength along with chucking out fear. We can so often dwell there instead of with God (see Psalm 91:1). So how to do this? The next part of the verse tells me that He will come and save me. And that’s for you too. God can judge and will one day, make things right for the wrongs Satan has done. Amen!
Here's a prayer that I prayed for this verse as a result of hearing God speak through His Word. I'm sharing it with you in case you have been touched by my journalling and it is relevant for you. Or you might like to pray your own thankful revelation.
Lord, I thank you as I work on gaining strength as Your Word describe in Philippians 4:13, that I can do all things, including being strong and that You will rescue me from the fear that I hate. You are awesome and the most amazing thing is Lord, You will even bring the vengeance, I don’t need to! I thank You Lord, for Your goodness and mercy and grace to save me from myself. I need that daily. I also ask You for Your strength Lord, to fight fear with all that is in me, in Your name Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of me. And Father God alert me by Your Holy Spirit when I begin to get caught up in fear, so that I instantly meditate on Your strength in me.
In Jesus name,
Have a go my friends. Fight that anxiety with the Word. Here are some more verses to fight anxiety with, to maybe get your SOAP teeth into:
Joshua 1:9; Psalm 23:4; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 34: 4–8; Psalm 46:1–3; Psalm 56:3–4;
Psalm 91:4–5; Psalm 107:28–3; Psalm 112:6–8; Matthew 6: 26–27; Matthew 6: 33–34; Matthew 8: 23–27; John 14: 25–27; Romans 8: 38–39; Philippians 4:6–7; 1 Timothy 1:7;
1 John 4: 16–18.