A Once Rebellious People Called to Witness
What evidence of God’s love is contained in Isaiah 43:1-7?
The tone of the language changes between the preceding verses and the oracle of salvation contained in Isaiah 43. Verses 1-7 are filled with encouragement. God will redeem His people (43:1) and help them overcome any obstacles on their homeward journey (43:2).
God, Israel’s Savior, will pay any price to liberate His people, including the whole of Africa (43:3-4). Oh how God loved His people! God will do this because His people are precious in His sight (43:4a). Verses 5-7 speak of the release and return of God’s people from exile (in Babylon).
Practical Consideration: God is a God of love.
God’s judgment of His people was redemptive in design. It was a purposeful judgment. God knew what it would take to purge His people of their worship of idols and their proclivity to straying. When God’s judgment had accomplished its purpose, God worked to secure the release of His people from captivity and to orchestrate their trip home.
God expressed a willingness to pay whatever price was necessary to secure the release of His people. God’s ultimate expression of His love for man and His willingness to pay a high price to redeem mankind was in the cross of Christ. It is the ultimate witness to the love of God.
Who did God ask to testify of His greatness to the world?
In Isaiah 43:8-13, the nations are called together in a courtroom setting and challenged to present witnesses to validate the divinity of their gods by giving evidence of their involvement in history (43:9 and see also 41:21-29). There was, of course, no response.
God’s people (43:8) are summoned to testify to His divinity and activity in history (43:10-13). His involvement in history is seen in the history of Israel. Warren Wiersbe comments, “Frederick the Great asked the Marquis D’Argens, ‘Can you give me one single irrefutable proof of God?’ The Marquis replied, ‘Yes, your majesty, the Jews.'”
What new thing would the Lord do?
Isaiah 43:14-21 speak of a new exodus. God would bring Babylon (the Chaldeans) down (43:14) and make a way home for His people (43:15-21). Notice the exodus themes: “a way through the sea” (43:16); the destruction of “the chariot and the horse” (43:17); and the making of “a roadway in the wilderness” (43:19).
God’s people were admonished to turn their attention from the former things (43:18, e.g., the first exodus) to behold the new thing (43:20, i.e., their imminent liberation from the Babylonian exile and the transformation of the wilderness). The people of the new exodus were to declare the praises of God (43:21).
How did the prophet assess the history of Israel?
Isaiah 43:22-28 recount the history of Israel in a panoramic sweep. The whole history was one of failure. The people failed to call upon God and grew weary of Him (43:22). They proved to be disappointing in their worship of Him (43:23-24).
Israel’s history, especially since her “first forefather” (Jacob), had been a history of sin. Even the nation’s political and religious leaders were guilty of leading the people astray (43:27). These things were shared to explain to the exiles why they had been punished.
But, in spite of all this, they were still God’s chosen servant (44:1), formed to be an instrument of His purpose (44:2). Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, is referred to as “Jeshurun,” which means “the upright one.”
Isaiah 44:3-5 describe the blessings that will be poured out on exiles and their descendants. Isaiah 44:6-8 is a brief oracle regarding the supremacy and sovereignty of God (44:6, 8) in which the gods of the nations are again challenged to demonstrate their power (44:7).