Note the following.....
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (41:10)
Fear not, I am the one who helps you (41:13b)
Fear not......I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord (41:14)
The same pattern is repeated throughout the Bible. We are told not to be afraid. Why? Not because of our circumstances. But because God is with us. Because God will help us. Because God is sovereign.
My ESV Bible study notes summarize the Isaiah passage this way....
41:1-20 God reassures his people that He alone is guiding all events in human history, for His glory and their benefit.
God does this through both judgment and salvation, both wrath and mercy. History is not only controlled by God, but it also displays God's character. All for His glory and our ultimate benefit.
41:21-42:17 God challenges the false claims of human idols, He presents His servant as the only hope of the world, and He invites the whole human race to praise Him for His salvation.
Only God can predict the future. Only God can connect the past and the future into a cohesive and complete storyline. Only God is sovereign. Only God is Creator. Only God is righteous. Only God is Saviour.
42:18-43:21 God promises to restore His confused people to clarity about Himself as their only Saviour.
God's people need deliverance just as mach as the pagan nations do, and Jesus is their (and our!) only Saviour.
The fall of Israel cannot be explained as a failure of God. He is powerful, but His power turned against them because they turned against His word. The real problem for God's people, therefore, is not their captivity in Babylon but their disobedience to God. That is what they do not understand.
And yet, for His glory, He will preserve a remnant.
In our Mark passage we see Jesus trying to explain to His disciples exactly how He is going to save them (just as our Isaiah passage showed us), but they do not believe Him or understand Him. He isn't acting according to their expectations. They want a mighty warrior, a conquering King - but they didn't understand the sacrifice necessary to secure our salvation.
When do we put God in a box and expect Him to handle things the way we want Him to, instead of according to His plan?
James and John were concerned with their own glory instead of consumed with God's glory. How often are we not guilty of the same thing? Wanting to please the self and the desires of the sinful nature is what comes naturally to us. Even after we are saved, the battle is not over. The key is to take our eyes off ourselves, and fix them on Jesus.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Isaiah 43-44; Mark 11:1-18