When I first read today’s passage a few years ago, I was troubled by the fact that it seemed to be a message of hope that was exclusive to Israel. However I now see it in the light of Jesus. I think when the Lord is addressing Israel, he is referring to his chosen people or as he says in the passage, those “I have called….by name; you are mine”. In only the previous chapter, we read… Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction. (Isaiah 42:4) And so as a believer in Jesus, even though I am not a son of Israel, I can still claim to be one of Gods people — For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29 NLT) when you realise that as a true believer in Jesus you are his brother in God’s eyes and you have been called by your father – God, you then realise that in this passage he is telling you directly that you are precious to him, that you are honoured by him and that he loves you.
Isaiah 43:1-7 NLT
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honoured, and I love you. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west. I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’”
As a child, I spend ten years at two boarding schools. Although I never felt that my parents had actually abandoned me there, I have always yearned, yet never really been able to find a place to call home since. So this idea of being among God’s actual children, in today’s passage, is huge. (also see John 1:12 and Romans 8:14-17). To be gathered up as a son and brought back to Israel, is like being picked up from school in some distant corner of the earth and taken home forever. My goal today is just to focus on that point and give thanks to the Lord. I am so grateful to have been gathered in to Jesus and born again into his family. When I realised a few years ago that I had truly come to faith, I remember describing it as feeling as if I was finally on my way home.
Isaiah 41:17-43:13, Ephesians 2:1-22, Psalms 67:1-7, Proverbs 23:29-35