Tuesday, January 04, 2022

2022.01.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 43:1–7

 Isaiah 43:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: Who is speaking to whom (Isaiah 43:1)? What does He point out about their relationship in verse 1a–b? What aren’t they to do (verse 1c)? For what three reasons (verse 1c–e)? What kinds of things do the Lord’s people go through Isaiah 43:2? What comfort will they have (verse 2a)? What will not happen (verse 2b–d)? What four things does God call Himself in Isaiah 43:3a–b? In stead/exchange of whom did He elect them (verse 3c–d)? What two things led to this choice (Isaiah 43:4a, c)? With what result (verse 4b, d–e)? Again, what are they not to do (Isaiah 43:5a)? Why not? Why can’t they be lost—what will the Lord do (Isaiah 43:5-6)? What four things has He already done to/for them (Isaiah 43:7)?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and first song all come from Isaiah 43:1–7 so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought!

This passage is full of the sweet doctrine by which the Lord sustains our obedience to the blessed commandment, “fear not.” Here is a commandment that would revolutionize the life of that believer who obeys it.  How are we able to fear not? What truths, what realities, enable us to face that which is most frightful? The Lord’s creating us. The Lord’s calling us. The Lord’s companionship to us. The Lord’s completing His work.

The Lord’s creating us. The Lord “is Who He is.” So, it’s significant that He identifies Himself in the first verse as the God who created Jacob and formed Israel. In relationship to creation, and to mankind, and especially to His people, He presents this as the way to identify Him. He’s not some impartial observer. He has skin (not only ours but now, thanks to the incarnation, His own!!) in the game. Fear not.

The Lord’s calling us. He finishes out Isaiah 43:1 by declaring that He has redeemed Israel. And this is a very personal, relational redemption. “I have called you by your name; You are mine.” Here is love, and therefore election, and therefore relationship. He will return to this theme several times. “You were precious in my sight” (Isaiah 43:4a). “I have loved you” (verse 4c). The switch from “your descendants” in Isaiah 43:5b to “My sons” in Isaiah 43:6c is heightened by the addition of “My daughters” in verse 6d. This is not just generic about all of His people in general but very personally specific to each particular boy and each particular girl. If you are His, it is because He loved you and called you and took you for His own. In fact, He has put his own Name upon us (Isaiah 43:7a) in that wondrous adoption. Fear not.

The Lord’s companionship. What are threatening floods and fires if the Lord is with us as Companion as Isaiah 43:2 describes Him? We cannot then drown or burn up or be scorched. He gives us two more ways to identify Him in Isaiah 43:3: our God and our Savior. In the ancient world, each people had its gods, and the one with the more powerful god in a particular circumstance would emerge victorious. But what if Yahweh is your God? He is the one, only living and true God. This sets Him apart as the Holy One. And, marvel of marvels, He Who is the Holy One has bound Himself to a people: He is the “Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (verse 3b). If He is with us in flood, it is to save us from/through flood. If He is with us in fire, it is to save us from/through fire. Whatever He is with you in, the main thing for you is not the circumstance itself but the great Companion you have in that circumstance. Fear not.

The Lord’s completing His work. When Isaiah is written, the exile has not yet occurred. But the Lord began His work in Israel by saving them from Egypt (and destroying Egypt in the process, Isaiah 43:3c). He passed over other, greater nations like Ethiopia and Seba (verse 3d) to take Israel as His special people instead. He Who began the good work will complete it. Wherever they end up in the exile—east, west, north, or south (Isaiah 43:5-6b), He will bring them back. They’ve been created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7b), and they shall surely come to magnify and enjoy that glory fully! Fear not.

What difficulty are you going through? Of which of the above do you most need reminded in it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have created and called us for Yourself, and taken us unto Yourself as beloved children. We praise You and thank you and love You for this. But, we are often fearful, and realize now that this exposes how forgetful we can be of You. Forgive us, and remind us, and finish your work in us we ask, through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP80 “My Heart Is Not Exalted, Lord” or TPH526 “He Leadeth Me, O Blessed Thought”

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