February 2, 2015
Isaiah 43:1-3; 41:10
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The Old Testament has to do almost always with Israel. Yes, I know that many other nations are mentioned in historical context and in prophecy in the Old Testament scriptures, but when any other nation or people is mentioned, it is usually how they have been, are, or will be relating to the Jews. Such is the case for our featured scripture of Isaiah 43:1 through 3 and 41:10:
…thus says the LORD, who created you…and He who formed you…,“Fear
not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not
be burned; nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….Fear not for I am with you; be not dis-
mayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will
uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Notice the second and third ellipses in Isaiah 43:1. The full quotation reads, “…thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel…” Why did I leave out the references to the Jewish nation? Because I am not emphasizing the exact interpretation here, but the application! The interpretation has to do with Israel. But the truth of this scripture can be applied to all who follow the Lord Jesus Christ today! Notice also that I have reversed the order of how the passages read in the Bible. It seems to have a more understandable flow this way, and it does no damage to the text.
The main idea I want to lift up in these passages from Isaiah 43 and 41 is God has an Intimate Knowing of His children, especially as it applies to the situations in which we find ourselves. It is true that God knows us all – and all about us – both believers and unbelievers! He is omniscient (which means all-knowing). As it says in Hebrews 4:13, “…there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (see II Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 33:13 through 15; 139:1 through 24; Proverbs 15:11; I Corinthians 4:5).
There are several things in the first verse of Isaiah 43 that stand out:
• Isaiah 43:1 – “…the LORD…created you…and…formed you….” The Psalmist so eloquently expresses it this way in Psalm 139:13, 15 and 16:
…You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s
womb….My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret,
and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my
substance, yet being unformed. And in Your book they were all written,
the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
He made man in the beginning as a perfect creation! It says in Genesis 1:31, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” But our first parents sinned and brought evil, decay and death to the human race. “…thus death spread to all men, because all sinned….” (Romans 5:12).
• Isaiah 43:1 – “…I have redeemed you….” Thank God He did not leave us in sin, evil, decay and death! For it says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ paid the full price for all our sins! By His death and resurrection, we are free – free from the penalty and power of sin, free from hell and a wasted life here and now! We are free to live meaningful lives to the glory of God by the power of His Holy Spirit residing within us! (see John 8:31 through 36; 10:10; Hebrews 2:14, 15; I Peter 2:24).
• Isaiah 43:1 – “…I have called you by your name….” The name of someone in Bible times often reflected the character of that person and the direction of his or her life. For instance, the angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “…you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” The name Jesus means ‘Jehovah saves’ – the same meaning as Joshua in the Old Testament. And ‘Jehovah saves’ certainly reflects the direction of Jesus’ whole life and ministry upon this earth!
When God says, “…I have called you by your name…,” it is a marvelous expression of His Intimate Knowing of you and me! After all, didn’t Jesus tell us in Matthew 10:30 , “…the very hairs of your head are all numbered…”? He knows us that well, inside and out!
• Isaiah 43:1 – “Fear not….” Jesus often spoke these (or similar) words when He found His followers in a fearful state (see Matthew 14:27; Mark 5:36; John 20:21). And Paul reminds us in II Timothy 1:7, “…God has not given us the a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” So immediately after God reminds us that He created us and formed us, and just before He tells us that He has redeemed us and knows us intimately, He exhorts us, “Fear not…!” And how can we be afraid if someOne so great and powerful, so intimate and loving, is always with us?…
…as we shall see in the next verse in our next blog!