Even though the Lord disciplines His people, He is ready to console them when the time of judgment is over. As Isaiah 43 begins, the Lord tells His servant Jacob to listen to Him, and Israel whom He has chosen.
Why does the Lord use both of these names for His people? It could it be that His people often display the fleshly characteristics of Jacob as a supplanter or deceiver who is in bondage to sin. At the same time, the meaning of Israel is how the Lord sees His people in the future. It means “he will rule as God.” This seems to foreshadow Revelation 20:6 which says, “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
The name Israel parallels with Jeshurun which is used in verse 2. This means “the upright one.” This is what the Lord creates all of His people to be.
Most important part within the first two verses of this chapter is the Lord’s command, “Do not fear.” The reason why is because the Lord helps them. He can do more than any mortal man.
What is the Lord going to do? He said, “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring.” Surely the physical needs of water are important. In previous chapters, we read about the desolation of the land and the promise of restoration. At the same time, I think we can understand this on a spiritual level as well. When a person has been living a life of sin and comes/returns to the Lord, they are usually very thirsty for God’s word. For some people, they can’t get enough of it. They’ve been so spiritually dry that they literally soak up the Word of God. The Lord pours His Spirit on them and blesses them and their families.
Unfortunately, some who have sat in churches for years are extremely dry without realizing it. Why is that? Do they think they know everything they need to know? Do they think they are living the way God wants them to? It’s hard to say for sure. They certainly need a new challenge in their spiritual life. Perhaps they are accustomed to a tiny devotion each day or none at all. We can’t live on nothing or just a few verses a day. That’s a spiritual diet that has no substance. It can’t possibly bring any sort of satisfaction.
We need the Spirit and the cleansing Word of God to cause us to spring up like “willows by the watercourses.” We need to recognize who we are and who we belong to!
Isaiah 44:6 says, “Thus says the Lord [YHWH], the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God [Elohim].”
Recently, I was following a discussion concerning the trinity. Years ago, when I began my quest for my Hebraic roots, I examined many church doctrines to determine their validity except this one. You can imagine this was quite an interesting discussion. Who is Christ? Is He really equal with God the Father or a separate person? Dare I ask these questions? Don’t be afraid to question your beliefs. We have to know if what we’ve been taught is correct or not—no matter how painful it is. You may find what you’ve been taught is correct and you can simply move on.
Over the past several years, I have rarely wondered about the concept of the trinity so I’ve not bothered to map all of it out in Scripture for myself although much as become apparent to me. I have lots of topics under scrutiny at the same time so adding another one to my plate can prove difficult if not impossible.
As a result of this discussion, I quickly read a recommended series of articles on the subject. It was interesting to read a bit of the history of the early church as the doctrine of the trinity came into being. Not everyone in those days was in agreement with it. The writer reached some interesting conclusions by reading the early historians and by comparing the Hebrew and Greek texts to the Targums where numerous references to “the Word” are found. Needless to say, I will have to spend some time on this topic to do my own study as time allows so I can re-check his conclusions and see if other conclusions can be made. In the meantime, research the Scriptures and connect the dots for yourself. Here’s a nugget for today…
In verse 6, Yahweh, King of Israel and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Hosts said “I am the first and I am the last and besides me there is no other [god; elohim].” Here, Yahweh is the King of Israel, the Redeemer of Israel, and Commander of the heavenly army. Being the first and the last seems to indicate that He was all of these things in the past as well as the future. Further down, in verse 8, the Lord says, “Indeed, there is no other Rock; I know not one.’
Jesus (Yeshua, which means salvation) fits the description of these titles.
- He is the King of kings mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14 and 19:16.
- The Redeemer who came out of Zion in Romans 11:26 and which was prophesied in Isaiah 59:20-21.
- The Captain of the heavenly army in Revelation 17:14.
- The Spirit-sent Rock that provided drink for the people in the wilderness was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). He is the same Rock or cornerstone that the Pharisees rejected in Matthew 21:42-44. This Rock was beaten, killed on a cross, and pierced with a spear so that blood and water flowed out. This took place so people could drink Living Water and have eternal life.
If Jesus is the first and the last, Jesus must be the:
- The rock in Horeb which was struck; water came out of it so the people could drink and not die (Exodus 17:6).
- Captain of the Lord’s army in Joshua 5:14.
- The one who promised to redeem the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt in Exodus 6:6. Isaiah 44:24 refers to Yahweh being Israel’s Redeemer.
- The one the people rejected as king in 1 Samuel 8:7.
He is actually these things and much more.
Next, the prophet switches to a topic discussed in previous chapters–idols and the ones who make and/or worship them. Making idols is not profitable. In the end, those who create idols will be gathered together. The Scriptures says, “Let them stand up; yet they shall fear; they shall be ashamed together.” This must happen at the final judgment.
It makes no sense for someone to make an idol out of wood. Some of the wood is used to fashion the idol, some to burn for heat, and some to burn to cook with. Some was burned but a portion was set aside for worship. This is foolish.
Many years ago, a person of another religion asked me why God was so made that the people made the golden calf in the wilderness. My reply was, “Why would someone who creates something worship what he created? Isn’t the creator higher than his creation? Doesn’t it make more sense to worship that which is greater? That which is created can’t deliver ones’ soul in the Day of Judgment. Only the Creator can do that.” It certainly gave him something to think about.
We, like Jacob/Israel must remember that by trusting in Jesus’ atonement, the Lord will blot out our transgressions. Yahweh has redeemed us. The Scripture says the Lord has done it.
Yahweh made us while we were still in the womb. He makes everything from the parts of the tiny atom to the enormous galaxies in the sky. He frustrates those who practice abominations and makes the knowledge of the wise as foolishness. He is obviously in control of all things whether they are our thoughts or things in the physical or spiritual realms. Because He does this, we can put our trust in Him.
At this point in time, Yahweh’s people were in Babylon for a total of 70 years. They didn’t know how they would be delivered but Yahweh did. He told them about Cyrus in Isaiah 44:28, “He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”
Surely this prophecy gave the people hope. Knowing God is in control of all things and knowing the prophecies still to be fulfilled gives us hope today. Since there are designs for the future temple in Ezekiel, the Jews have hope that the Messiah will come. Not only will He deliver them but they will worship Him in the future temple. Cyrus was only a picture of their deliverer. Just think how much more the true Messiah will be their Yeshua (Salvation).