Israel’s Only Savior
43 But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
who are deaf, yet have ears!
All the nations gather together,
and the peoples assemble.
Who among them can declare this,
and show us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
and let them hear and say, It is true.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the LORD,
and besides me there is no savior.
I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God.
Also henceforth I am he;
there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?”
Thus says the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I send to Babylon
and bring them all down as fugitives,
even the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice.
I am the LORD, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.”
Thus says the LORD,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
who brings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.
“Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,
or honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
or wearied you with frankincense.
You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
you have wearied me with your iniquities.
“I, I am he
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins.
Put me in remembrance; let us argue together;
set forth your case, that you may be proved right.
Your first father sinned,
and your mediators transgressed against me.
Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary,
and deliver Jacob to utter destruction
and Israel to reviling.
Isaiah 43 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Sink or swim. Drown or float. Two pretty stark options when the floods come, the hardship prevails. Waves crashing upon, the undertow dragging us out to the darkness of the sea, the image is frightening but real. Will we sink or swim? Will we drown or float?
Let’s get away from the water image though. The real question is when the difficulties come, the plans we had don’t formulate to reality, the disappointment closes in — Will we give up and remain the same or will we grow up in our faith? Truly, this is the question.
Too many claim Christ by name but nothing else. There are far too many who want Jesus for all His security but when the hardship of obedience, the steadiness of walking with Him, the willingness to lay our own wants and lives down at His request, we simply become weak kneed. We want Jesus in our hardship. We long for Him in our turmoil. But serving Him; obeying Him; well, that’s a completely different story.
Within this beautiful chapter of Isaiah 43 there are tremendous promises. Lovely to read. Wonderful to quote. Statements speak toward God being with us in the flood, in the fire, in all turmoil. His mercy and unrelenting love extended once again despite our offenses.
He speaks of us choosing to move on from the past. Forgetting the things behind, moving toward what lies ahead (as Paul would say). The richness is to not dwell on the past but discover the new thing He is doing.
Tucked between all these promises and hopes given God makes one statement. One statement that brings the reality check.
You are my witnesses.
Sometimes we act like God is there for our own benefit. Oh, we would never admit that but He’s the spiritual Santa Claus who will give us what we want. He’s the one who can make all things better. He’s the provider and defender. We misquote and mislead. We misrepresent. And in all of this, we are His witnesses. Whether for good or bad, we’re giving verdict through our own lives and obedience to God and His character.
So, I ask pose again… sink or swim? Drown or float? What’s your reaction been lately? Here’s a tougher question: What’s been your witness of God through whatever you’ve been wrestling through? Where is Jesus even right now calling you toward deeper maturity? Deeper strength and deepening your roots in Him?
Isaiah 43 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Should we forget the past or remember it? This is a troubling question. On the surface, it would seem that Isaiah has contradicted itself.
For instance, in Isaiah 43:18 it says…
“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.Isaiah 43:18 NASB
However, the verses right before this read…
Thus says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty waters, 17 Who brings forth the chariot and the horse, The army and the mighty man (They will lie down together and not rise again; They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick)Isaiah 43:16-17 NASB
Verses 16 and 17 are recounting the events of the escape from Egypt when God allowed Moses to part the Red Sea. Immediately after these verses, we read that we should not call to mind former things or things of the past. So, how do we reconcile this passage?
I can answer this one way by appealing to the sweep of Scripture which reminds us to remember the Lord’s faithfulness and our growth, but not to dwell on our defeats. The Lord Himself has cast them as far as the East is from the West.
Another way to answer this, however, in the Biblical context, is to look at the very next verse.
Isaiah 43:19 NASB “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.
The Lord has been faithful, and that is important. But, He is a mysterious God who works His plan in ways that baffle the human mind. The key word in verse 19 is “new.” This has been God’s plan from the beginning. Through Jesus, we will have new bodies, new names, and live in a new Heaven and Earth. So, when we fix our eyes on THAT, we naturally tend to forget everything in the past. The new work God has in mind will be consistent with His past faithfulness, but should not cause us to look back.
The practical aspect of this is to fix our eyes forward while we navigate according to our experiences. We know God is faithful and we know we are prone to sin. But, we fix our eyes forward on Salvation and continue to grow in Him. It is an unbelievable privilege.