Read Isaiah 43
Israel’s Only Savior
43 But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
8 Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.
9 All the nations gather together
and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold this
and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord,
and apart from me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?”
God’s Mercy and Israel’s Unfaithfulness
14 This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon
and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,
in the ships in which they took pride.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
Israel’s Creator, your King.”
16 This is what the Lord says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
22 “Yet you have not called on me, Jacob,
you have not wearied yourselves for me, Israel.
23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,
nor honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with grain offerings
nor wearied you with demands for incense.
24 You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me,
or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins
and wearied me with your offenses.
25 “I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.
26 Review the past for me,
let us argue the matter together;
state the case for your innocence.
27 Your first father sinned;
those I sent to teach you rebelled against me.
28 So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple;
I consigned Jacob to destruction
and Israel to scorn.
Isaiah 43 is such a beautiful passage of scripture that displays God’s heart for the Israelites. Although the nation of Israel suffers under the captivity of the Babylonians, God sends Isaiah to reassure them that victory lies ahead for them. This victory is possible because of the following three attributes of God.
First (in verses 1-7), God reassures His people of His faithfulness. God’s declaration, “You are Mine!” in verse 1 should be a great comfort to them. He weaves through these verses His tender love and care, as well as the redemption of Israel that is to come. We can find comfort in these words today, as we have seen His faithfulness to us as Lord and Savior. Just as God was with Israel, Jesus is with us both now and for eternity. He will lead us to victory in every area of life as we trust in His Word and faithfulness.
Secondly, verses 8-17 display God’s sovereign power over all the nations surrounding Israel and His ability to show an unbelieving world His might and protection over Israel. He speaks of the eventual fall of the Babylonians and other enemy nations. He promises that He will do “new things,” miracles so incredible that all will see and know He is the one true God. For us now, Christ is sovereign over our hearts and lives as well. This new life runs deeper as we surrender to His ways daily. Only in surrender to Him can we then be effective witnesses to a watching world. Our unbelieving friends and acquaintances will notice and sense that we are different. We are called to this purpose in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, that God created beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Finally, in verses 18-26, Isaiah tells the Israelites that God is their Redeemer. Verse 25 speaks clearly to this, saying, “I am the One who wipes out your transgressions.” Isaiah also chastises Israel for their coldness of heart in worship and sacrifices to Yahweh. In spite of their sin, God promises to move on their behalf if only their hearts remember and praise Him. In the same way, we must also respond with praise to Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who is full of mercy and grace. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus spoke further in John 10:10 saying “I came that they might have life and may have it abundantly.” These verses are some of the most beautiful words in all of Scripture to read, remember, and rest in. Christ is and always will be our faithful, sovereign, Redeemer! Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ!
- Re-read Isaiah 43 and write down at least two emotions that God expresses toward the Israelites. How do those apply to you?
- Of the three attributes of God discussed in this chapter, choose one God has revealed to you personally and write about it.
- Why should we ask for forgiveness of our sin? What does God promise as we surrender our lives to Him?
By the Way
Micah 7:18-19 reinforces what we read in Isaiah 43:25-26 and reveals more about God’s character, telling us that God delights in showing us mercy. Here’s what Micah 7:18-19 says:
“Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”
As you go about your day today, remind yourself that God delights in showing us mercy.
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