Thursday, October 28, 2010

Isaiah 43

Last night, at our monthly church meeting, I shared Isaiah 43. It is probably best known for verses 18-19, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!" But this call to look forward comes on the back of God's faithfulness and character. There is a series of three prophetic words for the people recorded in chapter 43. Listen to how the first of these begins:

But now, this is what the LORD says
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

It's that last phrase that caught my eye: I have redeemed, I have summoned you by name, you are mine. If ever there was a sentence to write on your heart then maybe this is among the top ten from which to choose. Redeemed, summoned by name, belonging to God. What a privileged position!

From this position, God's command to 'fear not' is fleshed out as he promises:

When you pass through the waters,
       I will be with you;
       and when you pass through the rivers,
       they will not sweep over you.
       When you walk through the fire,
       you will not be burned;
       the flames will not set you ablaze.

Leaving Egypt and entering the Promised Land both involved passing through water. Whatever the challenges and changes we face, God promises to walk with us and be there for us.

And as if that is not all, he goes to great lengths and pays a great cost to ransom those he loves.

For I am the LORD, your God,
       the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
       I give Egypt for your ransom,
       Cush and Seba in your stead.

Why does God do all this?

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
       and because I love you,

Now that is quite something!

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