Sunday, February 29, 2004

Here are the notes for as far as got on Isaiah 43 this morning. So, Keith, remember this is not a substitute for coming to class.


43:1 (Fear Not)

As is the pattern in the book, after God’s strong rebuke in chapter 42, he returns with encouragement in chapter 43. He tells them several things about himself:
1. He created them;
2. He formed them;
3. he redeemed them;
4. he entered into a relationship with them (called them by name); and
5. He possesses them (“you are mine”).

The Israelites would have interpreted this to refer to them, as they certainly knew God created them, that God made them into a nation, that he redeemed them from slavery in Egypt, and that he often called them his possession or his chosen ones.

But maybe he also spoke to the greater Israel, the body of all believers. Paul said in Romans 9:8 “…it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” He created us, he formed us into the church, he redeemed us from sin and death, he entered into a relationship with us as his children, and we are his special possession. The church is the bride of Christ. 1 Peter 2:9 says we are his chosen people, a people belonging to God. Just as the Israelites could take comfort in knowing these things about our Heavenly Father, so can we.

43:2 (God With Us)

God promises to be with us in difficulties. He uses the examples hear of water and fire. You have to wonder if the 3 Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace quoted this passage and claimed the promise that they would not be burned or scorched. They claimed that promise in Daniel 3:17 when they said “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.” Verse 27 says that they came out of the fire with no smell of fire on them and not even their hair was singed.

Our Heavenly Father is with us in every trial. He is with us in illness, in unemployment, in divorce, in betrayal, in loneliness, in financial hardship, in failure, in persecution, and in death. Romans 8:35-39 tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

43:3-4 (Because I Am)

Sometimes when Joy would get tired of the girls questioning her decisions, she would say “because I’m the mother, that’s why”. That statement of position and authority was supposed to settle the issue. Here the question is, why will God be with us through trials? The first answer, he says, is because “I am”. He invokes his name and says he is the Lord our God. The first reason God does things is often because He is God and he wants to reveal that and receive glory for it. The second reason is that He made Israel special by choosing it over all other nations, even giving their land to Israel, or allowing Israel to triumph over them in conflicts. Deuteronomy 7:6 says that The Lord your God has chosen you out of the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Why did he choose Israel? Because he did. Deuteronomy 7:7-8 says The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because te Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers…” Why did he choose us to be saved? Because of anything we did? No. He made these choices in his sovereignty for his reasons, mostly I think to display his glory, but not because of any merit on our part.

In fact, sometimes I suspect that God chose us because we were the least likely to amount to anything and he would be greatly glorified if he accomplished anything at all through us. 1 Corinthians 1:27 says But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
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