THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation
Part LXV: God's Call That His People Not Fear Their Current Humanly Hopeless State
A. Believers can face such formidable trials that they can be tempted to give up hope and be afraid.
B. However, God is sovereign, and His plans for His people do not fail even if they face superhuman problems.
C. Isaiah 43:1-7 provided such a lesson for ancient Israel, and we view it for our insight and edification:
II. God's Call That His People Not Fear Their Current Humanly Hopeless State, Isaiah 43:1-7.
A. After Israel would be taken into captivity in Babylon due to her unfaithfulness to God (Isaiah 42:18-20, 24-25), she would be tempted to give up hope in captivity of ever returning to her land, B. K. C., O. T., p. 1096.
B. However, God urged Israel in her future Babylonian plight not to fear (Isaiah 43:1b, 5a), and He gave three reasons WHY she was not to fear in Isaiah 43:1-7 as follows (Ibid., p. 1096-1097):
1. First, God planned to do good to Israel based on His great past precedent of rescuing her, Isaiah 43:1-2:
a. The Lord had created, formed and redeemed Israel (Isaiah 43:1), the word "redeemed" translating the verb ga'al that means, "to buy out of slavery" like His redemption of Israel from Egypt, Ibid. Just as God had taken Israel out of what then had seemed to be a hopeless bondage to the Egyptians after 400 years in Egypt by way of powerful miracles and transported her to the Promised Land, so God was committed to bringing Israel out of her second "Exodus" from Babylon and back to her land, Ibid.
b. Israel was also called by her name, indicating a special relationship with the Lord, like a shepherd calling his sheep by name to denote his special care of them, Ibid., p. 1097.
c. Accordingly, whether Israel traversed trials of deep waters and rivers, they would not overcome her, and whether she walked through the fires of trials, she would not be burned, neither would the flame kindle upon her, Isaiah 43:2. Water and fire viewed together "form a picture of every danger that could come," including the destruction of the world by the waters of the Noahic Flood as well as the passing away of the present world with great fire in 2 Peter 3:10; Edward J. Young, The Book Of Isaiah, 1974, v. III, p. 142. Thus, God meant to convey to Israel that no trial to the contrary could keep Him from preserving Israel so that she could return to the Promised Land following her captivity in Babylon.
2. Second, God graciously loved Israel, paving the way for Him to redeem her from Babylon, Isaiah 43:3-4:
a. In reward for releasing captive Israel, "the Persians under Cambyses, son of Cyrus," would be "given Egypt and parts of Ethiopia and Seba (SW. Arabia)," Ryrie St. Bib., KJV, 1978, ftn. to Is. 43:1-7; Is. 43:3.
b. God's willingness to turn over Egypt, parts of Ethiopia and southwestern Arabia to the Persians in reward for releasing Israel arose out of God's viewing Israel as precious in His sight, so beloved that He would give other men as ransom for her release, other people for her life, Isaiah 43:4.
3. Third, God promised to return Israel to the Promised Land from Babylon, so based on the truthfulness and faithfulness of God to His promises, Israel could be sure of the hope of returning to the land, Isaiah 43:5-7:
a. God told Israel not to fear because He was with her and would bring her seed from the east and gather them from the west, saying to the north to give them up and to the south not to withhold them, but to bring back His sons and daughters even from the far ends of the earth, Isaiah 43:5-6.
b. Indeed, every person who was called by God's name, whom He had created for His glory, whom He had formed and made, would be brought back to the Promised Land by the Lord, Isaiah 43:7.
c. Isaiah was here speaking primarily of Israel's regathering from the Babylonian Captivity, but this event also looks forward to the final regathering of Israel from the ends of the whole world at Christ's Second Coming, Ibid., Bible Know. Com. O. T., p. 1097.
Lesson: Israel in Babylonian Captivity was not to fear that she was doomed never return to the Promised Land, for (1) she could count on God's past dealings of delivering her from Egyptian bondage as a precedent for His returning her again from Babylonian Captivity, (2) she was beloved of God so that He would give other nations as rewards to her captors for releasing her and (3) God was promising by His faithful Word surely to restore her.
Application: When tempted by life's hardships to give up hope, may we not fear, but (1) recall God's precedents of helping us from similar troubles in the past as hope in the present trials. (2) May we also recall that God's love for us is infinitely great so that He will truly help us and (3) that He always faithfully fulfills His promises to us.