Summary of passage: God calls out His people, Israel, as blind and deaf. They have seen many things but paid no attention and their ears are open but have heard nothing. The Lord made His law great and glorious but His people have become plundered and looted with no one to rescue them or send them back. The Lord said is was Him who allowed Israel (or Jacob) to be plundered and looted because they did not listen or pay attention. Nor did they follow His ways or obey His laws. So God used war to pour out His anger on His people. Even those God’s flames enveloped and consumed His people, they still did not understand or take heart.
Isaiah 43: The Creator, Lord, tells His people to fear not for He has redeemed them. They are His. When they pass through the waters, rivers, and fire, He will be with them for He is their Lord. He will give Egypt, Cush, and Seba as a ransom and even men in exchange for His people. He will gather Israel back to his land from all corners of the world. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
5a) His people has seen many things but paid no attention. Their ears are open but they hear nothing. Israel has not learned nor changed their ways from God’s previous discipline attempts. They are spiritually blind and deaf. Because Israel did not listen nor follow His ways or laws, the Lord handed them over to be loot and to be plundered. He poured out on them His burning anger (which enveloped them in flames and consumed them), which took the form of war.
b) He has redeemed them as their Creator. He will be with them when they pass through the waters, rivers, and fire (in the hard times and whatever obstacles they may face). God will give Persia Egypt, Cush, and Seba as a ransom and even men. He will bring everyone who is called by His name (Israel) back to the land of Israel.
6a) God summoned us by name like Jesus calls his sheep by name and leads them (John 10:3-5). God will exchange men for us out of His love just like in Romans 8:39 nothing will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. We were created for God’s glory. In Ephesians 1:11-12 we were chosen through Christ for the praise of His glory. 1 Peter 1:18-19 is a powerful reminder that God redeemed us through the perfectness of Jesus Christ and saved us from a life of emptiness. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you,” God says through Isaiah. We are His.
b) Personal Question. My answer: 1 Peter 18-19 says we were redeemed through Christ’s blood from the empty way of life handed down to us from our forefathers. Without Jesus we are empty. For we can’t get to the Father without Jesus. So, when I think I have nothing and I’m brought low by circumstances, I remind myself I have everything because I have Jesus whom God sent out of His incomprehensible love for me.
Conclusions: Great reminder of why we are here: for the glory of God. We’re were not meant to get caught up in the humdrums or life or become so busy God is only available on Sundays. We are here to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives which is meant to give Him glory. God’s will be done not mine. He is constant; we change our minds sometimes every minute.
I can understand God’s frustrations at His chosen people because of my frustrations at my kids. Over and over again, He just wants His people to see Him, listen to Him, and ultimately know Him and they reject Him. Because God’s love is so deep, He is hurt by us. “It’s simple,” God seems to say. “Follow me,” as Jesus said. “Live by my rules, my laws, my ways and have the kingdom of Heaven.”
But His people don’t. So He punishes. I can understand. He has such high hopes and when we fall short, He cries alongside us.
So, I strive every day to live up to God’s expectations and try to be what He has pre-destined me to be. I stumble but His hand is there waiting to pick me up. And I am comforted by His presence in the middle of the night just like a baby is from his mama or dada.
He knows all of my foibles and loves me anyways. What isn’t encouraging in that?
End Note: Seba is the land associated with Egypt and Cush. It’s uncertain but possibly Ethiopia. This online map has it on the Arabian peninsula. In my Bible Atlas, if you follow the Nile River, you come to Cush in present-day Ethiopia and Seba is below Cush on the African continent. Information taken from Atlas of the Bible by Carl G Rasmussen. Either way, this is a huge area as ransom for God’s people.
Map of Seba: http://bibleatlas.org/full/seba.htm