Songs In the Night – An Article Response Part 2 (Isaiah 43:1-7)

This post opens with one of my most favourite passages from the entirety of the Bible ever, from the book of Isaiah, a book fraught with prophecies of a coming Messiah…. and promises that ring true to this day. This passage, with its promises, is one of the most poignant and beautiful passages in the Bible.

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob,

He who formed you, O Israel:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you,

I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am (Hebrew: Ani) the Lord your God,

The Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.

I give Egypt as your ransom,

Cush and Seba in exchange for you.

Because you are precious in my eyes,

and honoured, and I love you.

I give men in return for you,

peoples in exchange for your life;

I will bring your offspring from the east,

and from the west I will gather you.

I will say to the north, Give up,

and to the south,  Do not withhold;

bring my sons from afar

and my daughters from the end of the earth,

everyone who is called by my name,

whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed and made.

Isaiah 43:1-7

Like I mentioned in my previous post, this is another hope-promise I (re)discovered when I took to heart my good friend Trev’s exhortation in his post Part 4: Hope Unseen  for us Christians (and even those that aren’t!) to read through the Bible and found the promises – upon which we can hope – of God that the whole of His Word are brimming with. This one, though, has always spoken to me, from the time when I was first decided to memorise it voluntarily. There’s just so much certain LOVE and how palpable a surety we have in Christ is in that passage, but the words that leave me breathless are the ones most intensely direct, most intensely personal – “I have called you by name, you are mine.”

“You.Are.Mine.” What a promise! What love God has for us that he should save us purling, weak, sinful little humans and with the “adoption of sons” (Romans 8:23) that will one day ultimately happen on the Second Coming, but for right now we have a glorious hope: God knows our name, and He has called us by it. Tis true, He calls me by name, one that originates from another well-beloved verse from Isaiah, and I adore it when I hear the Spirit calling me by that name – I know then that I am “precious in his eyes” and “honoured” and that He LOVES me so much He has His own name for me!

Another promise inherent in this passage, delineated with clarity, is that no matter how many trials we undergo, how much pain we may have to suffer, how often we may confused or lost or alone when life throws curve-balls our way, striking us again and again, leaving us vulnerable and scared, how often fears haunt us as sudden realisation forces us to comprehend how immensely temporal and will 0’the wisp life is – there are no real certainties but one  God is there with us. He will be there. Not only that, He.Is. There.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.”

Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)

This promise that God tells the forgetful Children of Israel of in Isaiah 43:1-7 is also a reminder for the Hebrews – and us of the modern day – that He has been with them (and us) before. Verse 2 of Isaiah 43-17 is a direct reference to when God lead his Children to safety and freedom and eventually, “good success” (Josh 1:8) twice earlier in the their history: once with Moses at the Red Sea in Exodus 14, again with Joshua (“Salvation”) in his titular book in Joshua 3 with the crossing of the river Jordan.

These references would not have been lost on the Hebrews, who as a people would have been well-studied in their history, especially the stories of the times when the God they followed has proven Himself worthy and faithful to them – and what would have been a more potent set of object lessons than these two for the Hebrews to remember?

They would not only have been just mere stories, relics of the past, but vivid examples of God’s faithfulness to them and how very present He has always been during their tribulations, even when their own sin towards Him brought them into exile or disfavour – God never left them through it all, and even as He sends prophets warning of what will befall them if they keep turning away from Him and worshiping Baal, He always included an earnest appeal for the Children of Israel to return to Him, and even when He sent the prophets, His heart behind it was in utter grief – since as my constant refrain has been, He LOVES us!

And the extent of that LOVE, that LOVE that no matter what adjective is employed to just attempt to describe it falls short – especially when one stands before the majesty and solemnity of the Cross, the most perfect expression of that LOVE.

An awesome (as in “awe-inspiring”) LOVE that show how truly God does love us because at the Cross, the great God of the universe did the unthinkable – his LOVE for us is so deep, great, rich and true that he suffered for us. No other religion of humanity has at its focal point the cornerstone that Christ took our sin and our suffering upon himself, taking our place on the Cross in the same way a lover might die to rescue his beloved from the same fate, so amazing is his love for her.

This is the reason why the promise sent forth in Isaiah rings true for us, today. And why do  these words ring so true for us during dark times? Because they prove how ultimate God’s love – his hesed is for us – even going so far to humble himself and take upon himself the punishment and suffering and agony the Cross would have meant for us instead. Interestingly, the LOVE of Christ is often defined in the New Testament in Greek with the word agape which essentially implies self-sacrificial love, whereas hesed is the Hebraic counterpart as we have seen in this passage of Isaiah 43:1-7.

This love as exemplified in Isaiah 43: 1-7 is the richest Gift-Love (as termed such by noted apologist and writer C.S. Lewis) the world has ever known and one we can cling to in times of darkness and one that speaks of the promise that whatever trial we might endure, God is enduring it with us, holding us by the hand the entire course, and He will bring us safely home.

It is my hope that this post will will encouragement to everyone who reads it, and for you all to remember that even in your darkest days, God is there with you through it.

May God be with everyone who reads this, I hope and pray.

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About tawnymartin

To be honest, I don't really like doing these things - I haven't done the one offered on Facebook either, because I believe - and I know - that it is so hard to try to show fully who a person really is into a little box, anyway, about me though: I am 19 going on 20, and I have a deep passion for books, stories, ideas, and spending time with my good friends, oft just sitting around not talking, just enjoying each other's company; and I love to read the classics of the past that are relevant even today, especially the Bible, which has drawn me back into it countless times, but only recently have I truly began to study and meditate *in* it, although the stories - the ahem, naughty stories - piqued my interest when I was very young, and I sincerely believe C.S.Lewis' statement that "what we want is not more little books on Christianity - but more little books by Christians on other subjects - with their Christianity latent." As an author, I hope to do just that - here and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in God, History, Jesus, Jesus' Ministry and Teachings, Life, Sacrifice, The Bible, When All is Not Bright and Beautiful: Suffering, Christians and the Bible and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Songs In the Night – An Article Response Part 2 (Isaiah 43:1-7)

  1. Pingback: Isaiah 63

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