Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 43

We have seen much punishment throughout our study of the book of Isaiah, but out of that punishment comes hope. Today that hope manifests itself as Isaiah outlines in chapter 43 Israel's need for a savior. We have seen allusions to Christ's coming before as we have gone through this book, but today's chapter deals exclusively with the coming of Christ - the first time, more than 800 years from the time these words were written. There are some that believe from chapter 40 forward the book of Isaiah was written by a different person around the time of the Babylonian exile, but even then it was still more than 550 years before Christ came.

4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people 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." – Isaiah 43:4-7

These four verses outline a beautiful promise, and one that I am not sure was completely understood at the time it was written. Much of the Old Testament is centered on the lives of God's chosen people. We know from Peter's vision and from what Paul preached in the New Testament that the gift of salvation is not limited to the Jews. This passage is also evidence of that, because while it is stating that Israel will be gathered together once again, it is also saying that all are created for God's glory. Those that call on His name, through Christ, are saved because all are created by God.

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?" – Isaiah 43:10-13

Isaiah takes his message a step further here. In the first passage we looked, at he outlines the need for a savior and informs us that one is coming. In this passage he states that this is the only way that salvation can be attained. Many Israelites believed falsely that works decided one's salvation. One of the fallacies of Judaism today is that it ignores the needs for this savior as outlines in verse 11. Isaiah clearly states that this savior is God incarnate, and that only He has the power to deliver us. These writings clearly point to Christ as that savior.

So how does this apply today? Many people believe that the Bible is a literary collection of stories and fairy tales, but that cannot possibly be true. How then could someone write about the life of a man in great detail more than 800 years before his birth? If this is not the word of God, then why does it flow together so well? To me, Isaiah's words in this chapter are an affirmation of my faith. To me, it affirms Christ's life and sacrifice because we have the proof that it was written long before He walked the earth, then what we have of His life confirms it. There will always be skeptics and questions, but that is the nature of ideas that are based solely on faith. Faith is what we are asked to have, and it is through God's written Word that we are given the tools to grow this faith.


  1. Did the Israelites understand this need for a savior at the time?
  2. How did this need for a savior lead to the false belief in Jesus' time that He would be a conquering king?
  3. Why did God take man out of the salvation equation?

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