113-143 Isaiah Chapter 43
God reminds His people that He created them and now He speaks to them. This is God’s rightful claim upon us that He created us. This is the most basic obligation that we have towards God is that He is our Creator and when we forget or reject this truth we have denied Him.
God commands His people to not fear as He is in control of all things and His people should place their trust in Him. Judah had good reason to be afraid of Babylon and being exiled to their land. God point His people past the present circumstances to not fear and gives them His promises.
God is not only their Creator but He is their redeemer. It was God who brought them out of exile in Egypt and spiritual slavery. When God rescues us He pays the debt that we could not pay. When God calls Himself our redeemer He is looking forward to the price that must be paid for our salvation.
Therefore God has two claims upon His people. He has the right of ownership as both our Creator and Redeemer. The relationship is personal as He has called us by name. It is a certain relationship as God say we are His. Knowing that we are His is the answer to our fear. God is the One who holds us, He protects us, and He provides for us. God would not have created, redeemed and called us if He did not intend to finish His work in us. We can have no fear knowing that our God is for us and knows our best interests.
Any obstacle that we may face God will be with us. When God is with us then who can be against us. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31) Israel would have their trials but trials and tribulations will be with us always. Trials are a part of living in this world. The verse did not say if you go through the deep waters but when you go through the deep waters. God will be with us in all our circumstances. This reminds of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego when they were placed in the fiery furnace. They were protected by God as He was present with them. (Daniel 3:19025) “The statement, ‘I am the Lord, your God’ would remind every Jewish reader of Exodus 20, where the divine description is followed by the words ‘who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery’ (Exo_20:2). So, learning from this past event, they could rest in his promise to bring them again into their own land.” (Grogan) “Israel is just as indestructible as God’s Word and Covenant are. Whoever can annihilate Israel can do more than Satan and all the powers of hell have been able to do in ages past. What is true of Israel, however, is equally true of the Church. Against it, too, the flames have raged and the waters have boiled but, according to His promise, the Lord Jesus has always been with her.” (Bultema)
We do not have to run in fear but can walk through the trials of life. “Walking is the pace at which you go when you are not in a hurry when you are not concerned or alarmed. When you are not burdened or anxious, then you walk. ‘He that believeth shall not make haste’ (Isa_29:16).” (Redpath)
God’s love for us is His motivation in the work of redemption. We are precious in His sight and we see this truth in the Gospel of John. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) “To prove His love for His people, God was willing to give Egypt, Cush, and Seba as a ransom for Israel. These three nations may symbolize Israel’s great worth, or they may have been named in anticipation of the subsequent Persian conquests.” (Wolf)
God promises His people to release the shackles of their exile. They would continue to have in hope as they were called by the name of the Lord and created for His glory. If God did not create us then we would have no purpose. We were created for a purpose to glorify God our Creator.
Israel Is God’s Witness
In Isaiah 42:19 we heard of the blind and deaf servants who had closed their eyes and ears to the truth of God’s ways. Now God calls them to come forth along with the nations that they may be gathered together. God calls them out together to prove Him wrong or to prove themselves right. These people have chosen false gods and now they are to justify themselves. “We must not miss the pathos: imagine any litigant depending on the blind to testify to what they have seen and the deaf to what they have heard!” (Motyer)
Israel had witnessed the many great things that God had done and they should have seen this work of His as a witness to the truth that He is the true God. Those who worship false gods have nothing to say as their goods do nothing. The people of God have seen the great works of His hands and have experienced it and therefore should be witness to them.
A witness can be passive to the things he has seen but Israel was more than witnesses as they were called to be servants of God. They were not called to be passive witnesses but to be His servants. They were not called to sit around but to serve the Lord and to believe in Him in every way.
The Lord God makes it perfectly clear that there is no other God’s beside Him, that He and only He is the Most High God. There were no gods before Him and there will be no gods after Him. There are some questionable passages of Scripture that refers to other gods. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 the Apostle Paul calls Satan the god of this age. “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) Paul is referring Satan as the god of this age because so many people refer to Satan as a god. But in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5 Paul makes it clear that the idols of the nations are merely so-called gods and that there are no other gods but the one and true God. In the Scriptures there are metaphorical gods as the judges and there are false gods as Satan and the idols of the nations. But there is only one true God and that is Yahweh the One God in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
God is the only Savior of mankind. There are no foreign gods who do mankind any good. Only God is our help and support and sadly we only turn to Him as a last resort instead of our first resource. Jesus is clearly our Savior. (Philippians 3:20; 2 Timothy 1:10) There is no other Savior besides the Lord. Jesus then is the Lord. Jesus is the second person in the trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. If Israel would remember that only the Lord has rescued them, then they would not be so quick to turn away from God. All of us should be The witnesses of His saving work and His healing work.
God is bigger than His saving work that He does for His people, God is before time itself. Before there was a day there was God. Because of His creative work, His strength is infinitely greater than all else. Therefore, there are none who can deliver out of His hand. What God has done none can reverse.
Babylon to Be Destroyed
This prophecy was before the Babylonians ever conquered Judah and carried them off to a seventy-year exile. But Isaiah goes beyond the coming captivity of Judah to the judgment of Babylon for what they had done to Judah.
When Isaiah prophesied this Babylon was an up and coming power. Before God would judge them they would be a world power. How could Judah be confident that their God would be up to the task of delivering them and judging Babylon? All God’s people had to do was remember the great works of God in the past. They should remember when God parted the Red Sea and saved them from the Egyptians. (Exodus 14) Isaiah brings back these images of Egypt’s power with the chariot and horse and the might of the armies of the enemies of God’s people. As God had judged the Egyptians God would also judge the Babylonians. We too can justify trusting God by remembering the great things He has done in our lives. It is also a lesson that we should never oppose the Lord or His people. In this passage, we see some of the great titles of God. “The Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, your Holy One, the creator of Israel your King.”
Isaiah’s prophecy speaks of the desperate circumstances of captivity and exile. God does not want His people to focus on that but the new work that He will do. If God’s people become stuck in the past failures of sin and the discouragement of the past, they will never go forward to the new things that God is doing. This is a switch in God’s instruction from remembering the great things He has done but to not remember the failures of the past. We are to remember the great things God has done for us His people but not bask in the memory of our failures. We should always look forward to the great things that God will do in the future.
If God’s people remained in the discouragement of the past they would not be prepared for the new work that God was doing for them. As people of God, we must stay in step with the Spirit of God to be led into the new things that God is doing for His people.
Between Babylon and the land of Israel, there were hundreds of miles of wilderness. The people of God did not need to be afraid because God would make a road through the wilderness, He would provide rivers in the desert, and He would protect his people from the beast as they would honor Him. When God makes a promise we need not worry about the details of how God will work it out. God created us to fulfill the purpose of giving Him the glory. When we give God praise we are fulfilling that purpose.
This passage speaks of His people’s deliverance from Babylon but also points to His people’s deliverance by the Messiah. “From all which texts laid together, it appears that this latter deliverance, compared with that out of Egypt, is not to be confined to their freedom from the Babylonian captivity, but to be extended to the consequences of it, and especially to the redemption by Christ, because otherwise that Egyptian deliverance was more glorious and wonderful in many respects than the Babylonian.” (Poole)
The Shortcomings of Israel
Here Isaiah may be speaking to the people of the present day or the people of the exile. It may be a rebuke of the complacent people of the Babylonian exile as many of them had no desire to leave Babylon and return to Israel, the Promised Land.
Many of us find it wearisome to serve the Lord. We sometimes feel burdened in His service. We sometimes feel the need to take a break from serving the Lord. When we fall into this state we are out of step with Jesus and are not near to the nature of Jesus. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
When our attitude becomes as this we fall short of our giving and our immorality leads us into sin. “Perhaps the Israelites were insincere in their worship. When they did bring offerings, they simply went through the motions of worship, and so God did not consider their empty sacrifices to be true sacrifices at all.” (Wolf)
When the people of God become hard-hearted God is willing to forgive them at the earliest opportunity. He will remember their sins no more. In spite of the sin and disregard of the people for God, He still loves His people and longs for their repentance. God does not remember our sins by choosing not to remember them. God forgets our sin because it has been paid for by His Son Jesus. We too should also forget our sin once we have been forgiven.
We are born into sin as a result of the first man Adam and we cannot justify ourselves and must look to God for our salvation. No man can be a mediator for our sin as all men have sinned. There is only one mediator between God and man and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Timothy 2:5)