I Will Be With You

Isaiah 43:1–28 (NKJV)

43:1 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
4 Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you;
Therefore I will give men for you,
And people for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’
Bring My sons from afar,
And My daughters from the ends of the earth—
7 Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

The Lord declares His redemption of His people and pledges to walk with them and protect them from the deep waters, the river, the fire, and the flame.  He says that other nations may suffer in Israel’s place if necessary.  He will gather the nation from the for corners of the earth.

8 Bring out the blind people who have eyes,
And the deaf who have ears.
9 Let all the nations be gathered together,
And let the people be assembled.
Who among them can declare this,
And show us former things?
Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified;
Or let them hear and say, “It is truth.”
10 “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me,
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.
11 I, even I, am the LORD,
And besides Me there is no savior.
12 I have declared and saved,
I have proclaimed,
And there was no foreign god among you;
Therefore you are My witnesses,”
Says the LORD, “that I am God.
13 Indeed before the day was, I am He;
And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand;
I work, and who will reverse it?”

God declares His sovereignty in this passage, asking everyone to witness that He is God and no other.  No other foreign god can save.  No person can deliver anyone out of the hand of the Lord.  He alone is God.

14 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon,
And bring them all down as fugitives—
The Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships.
15 I am the LORD, your Holy One,
The Creator of Israel, your King.”

16 Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse,
The army and the power
(They shall lie down together, they shall not rise;
They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):
18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field will honor Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I give waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My people, My chosen.
21 This people I have formed for Myself;
They shall declare My praise.

The Lord declares that He will bring Babylon and all nations down powerless.  He will do a new thing: a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.  He will supply drink to his people.  Many scholars believe this prophecy may refer to God’s bringing the slow-moving Jordan to a river’s pace, thus flooding the Dead Sea and bring life back to the lower end of the river.

22 “But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob;
And you have been weary of Me, O Israel.
23 You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings,
Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices.
I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings,
Nor wearied you with incense.
24 You have bought Me no sweet cane with money,
Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
But you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.

The Lord then decries the unworthy behavior of Israel and Jordan, accusing them of dishonor, not offering sacrifices or offerings.  They have lived in their sin and burdened the Lord.

25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.
26 Put Me in remembrance;
Let us contend together;
State your case, that you may be acquitted.
27 Your first father sinned,
And your mediators have transgressed against Me.
28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary;
I will give Jacob to the curse,
And Israel to reproaches.

God reminds Israel that He is the one Who forgives sin.  He is the Redeemer.  He challenges them to state their case, because all He sees are trangressions for generations.  Therefore, the people will be profaned.  God promised to restore, but first judgment is coming!

This chapter provided a poignant warning to us all.  Don’t live in sin!  Don’t play in the devil’s sandbox.  Live holy and recognize the Word of the Lord.  When He speaks, His people must listen and repent!

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