What the Bible says about All things are possible
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Do not fear (41:10). A similar word of encouragement is given several times to Esarhaddon from the goddess Ishtar of Arbela, and to Ashurbanipal by Ishtar and Ninurta, “Don’t be afraid!” Naram-Sin similarly exhorted the readers of his stele not to fear. Such cases, like that of Isaiah, promise divine intervention on behalf of someone in trouble.
My righteous right hand (41:10). See comment on 9:12, 17, 21. Being the dominant hand, the right had special significance. In the Seleucid period, a property mark was inscribed on a slave’s right hand. In an Egyptian Aramaic liturgical text, the chief god, Mar, says: “Be strong ... your enemies I will destroy ... I shall support your right hand,” apparently the hand used in battle. Gods and other people took one’s hand in order to assist them. “When my lord the king took my hands, he brought me back to life.” In an early second millennium Babylonian seal, a minor deity takes with his right hand the hand of a supplicant, leading him before a major god.
Hittite god Sharruma protecting King Tudhaliya IV with arm around him and holding him by the wrist to guide him
M. Willis Monroe
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
My purpose will stand (46:10). Yahweh is portrayed as all-knowing, not bound by time, and all-powerful, not bound by ability or external circumstances. In Mesopotamia, gods did not have intrinsic knowledge and ability to control the world. Such power was derived from the Tablets of Destiny, which established the place of the gods in the universe. The Tablets controlling one’s destiny could change hands, with their inherent power exercised by whoever possessed them.
Kingu was given the Tablets by Tiamat in the creation account: “She gave him the tablets of destiny, had him hold it to his chest, (saying) ‘As for you, your command will not be changed, your utterance will be eternal. Now that Kingu is the highest ... and has [ordained] destinies for his divine children.’ ” The other gods promised Marduk that if he defeated Tiamat and her minions, “your destiny, O Lord, shall be foremost of the gods”; this took place when Marduk triumphed: “He took from him the tablet of destinies.” The struggle for control of these tablets is also the main concern of the Mesopotamian Anzu epic. Israel’s God is never portrayed as being bound by some external force; rather, he controls universal “destiny.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The Case for Faith: John 3:16
What’s the Meaning of Life?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16
Christianity’s greatest contribution to humankind is the sharing of the good news summarized in John 3:16. This central message of the Bible portrays Jesus and our redemption through his blood. Finally, once and for all, he dealt with the issues of our guilt, our loneliness and our alienation from God. Through his atoning death and resurrection, he opened up heaven for everyone who follows him.
With this truth, Christianity provides a revelation as to the meaning of life and the existence of universal morality. Without that revelation, it’s very difficult to have any sense of life’s meaning. You end up like Albert Camus, who said in the opening paragraph of The Myth of Sisyphus, “Why should I or anyone not commit suicide?” In short, Christianity explains why not. Because of God’s profound love for us, we are able to relate to him and others in a healthy and deeply meaningful way.
—Adapted from interview with Dr. John D. Woodbridge
Read more from Case for Christ Study Bible