Isaiah Chapter 43 Continued
Verses 14-28: Isaiah here combines the titles “Redeemer” and “Holy One of Israel” as the One who shall overthrow “Babylon … and the Chaldeans.” He predicts that God will judge Babylon after using them to judge Israel. God announces that He will profane “the sanctuary” (temple).
The use of the imperfect verb construction throughout much of the section clearly indicates that the curse of the Captivity and their subsequent deliverance was yet future at the time of Isaiah’s writing.
Isaiah 43:14 “Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry [is] in the ships.”
“Redeemer … the Holy One of Israel”: The former title characterizes the Lord’s role in the salvation of His people (in chapters 40 to 66). The latter title represents His holiness throughout the book. The Lord’s Servant retains His holiness in implementing His redemption of Israel.
“Chaldeans … the ships”: When God sent a conqueror against Babylon (i.e. Cyrus; 45.1), the proud Babylonian fleet provided a means of flight for the country’s fugitives. Babylon was accessible by ship through the Persian Gulf and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
This prophecy is a promise to restore Israel. This means that their Babylonian captivity will not continue. God Himself, will free them from their captivity. God has heard their cry, and will restore them.
Isaiah 43:15 “I [am] the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.”
“Your King”: The Lord was king over Israel from her inception, but the people asked for a human king instead (1 Sam. 8:4-7). The restoration will put Him back on the throne in the Person of His Servant the Messiah (Luke 1:31-33; 6:1; 41:21).
Now, we see by what authority God destroys one nation and builds up another. The Creator can do with His creation as He wishes. Look at all the descriptions of God in the names. He is “I Am”. He is “the LORD”, who eternally exists. He is the “Holy One” of Israel, when He says your Holy One. He created all things. He is King of kings.
Verses 16-17: “Sea … mighty waters … chariot and horse”: To bring assurance of the greater future deliverance He will bring through His Servant, the Lord reminded Isaiah’s readers of His deliverance of the ancestors from Egypt (Exodus 14:16, 21, 26-28; Joshua 3:13).
Isaiah 43:16 “Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;”
This is speaking of the highway God made through the Red Sea for His people Israel. The breath of His nostrils kept the Sea in a heap on either side, until they could cross over on dry ground. The highway was so dry; they did not even get their feet wet.
This is the God that can restore a nation when He chooses to.
Isaiah 43:17 “Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.”
We also know, from a previous lesson, that Pharaoh’s army, horses, and chariots were drowned in that very same Red Sea. They are extinct, because God drowned them. This is mentioned to show them that the same God, that delivered Israel at the Red Sea, will deliver them from Babylon.
Verses 18-19: “Things of old … a new thing”: Deliverance of the nation in the past will pale into insignificance in comparison with the future deliverance the Lord will give His people (42:9; 48:6; Jer. 16:14-15).
Isaiah 43:18 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”
The only reason to look back is to encourage us to have faith for now. The miracle will not be the very same. The deliverance from Babylon will be just as great, or greater, than the Exodus from Egypt.
Verses 19-20: “Rivers … waters …rivers”: In the Messiah’s future kingdom, the barren places of Israel will be well-watered (41:18), and will supply refreshment for God’s chosen people (43:1).
Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.”
This new thing is the way to be saved through grace. This is speaking of two things, as most prophecy is. Jesus Christ is the Way for all who will dare to believe. Not only does this speak of them being delivered from Babylon, but it is speaking of a spiritual deliverance for all mankind from the spirit of Babylon.
Just as Moses was the deliverer from physical Egypt, Jesus is the Deliverer for all from the world and sin.
Isaiah 43:20 “The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.”
When God blesses His chosen by furnishing water in the desert place, it benefits even the beasts and the fowl that dwell in these desolate places. It furnishes water for them to drink. When God blesses His people with water to drink, it provides water for everything in the vicinity.
Isaiah 43:21 “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.”
“Show forth my praise”: In the messianic age, Israel will finally give the Lord the credit that is due Him.
We see the reason God made these people. The following Scriptures say it best.
Colossians 1:16 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”
Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
God is proud of His earthly family. They bring pleasure to Him, when they praise and worship Him.
Verses 22-24: Even though the Lord has chosen Israel, Israel throughout their history has not chosen Him. Rather, they have wearied Him with their iniquities and empty ritualism (1:11-15).
Isaiah 43:22 “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.”
The most dangerous thing a person can do is stop praying to God. To be out of fellowship with God brings nothing but heartache. They were in Babylon, because they had forgotten God. They must not repeat that.
To tire of worshipping God, is a sure sign of failure. God hears and answers the prayers of His people. The following are two examples of the results God promised, when we pray.
Psalm 50:15 “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
Jeremiah 29:12 “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”
Isaiah 43:23 “Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honored me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.”
This is almost an explanation of why they went into captivity. They had neglected God and the offerings due Him. This neglect caused them to stray from God’s teachings, as well as His blessings. All through the Bible, God blesses those who keep His commandments.
To neglect God would be committing a sin. The requirement had not been burdensome on them. In fact, everything they gave God was multiplied and given back to them. Many neglect going to church today. They think they do not have time for God. The sad thing is they are missing God’s blessings when they do this.
Isaiah 43:24 “Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.”
It is an understatement to say, that today God is wearied of the iniquities of the people. It seems our society is about the most evil it has ever been. This breaks the heart of a loving God. Israel strayed from God over and over. God always forgave them and restored them. He never gave up on them repenting and turning back to Him.
Sin is anything that displeases God. Just about one of the most hurtful things they could do to Him, is to ignore His wishes.
Isaiah 43:25 “I, [even] I, [am] he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
“I, even I … will not remember thy sins”: This verse is probably the high point of grace in the Old Testament. In spite of Israel’s utter unworthiness, the Lord in His grace has devised a way that He can forgive their sins and grant righteousness, without compromising His holiness. This He would accomplish through the work of His Servant (53:6). In spite of her failures, Israel will always be God’s chosen people.
Notice in this, He does not cover the sins up. He does away with them. The only reason God blots out the sin, is because He loves Israel. They do not deserve to be forgiven. They are forgiven, because of His great love for them.
This is the very thing the Lord Jesus does for the Christian. He blots our sins out with His precious blood.
Isaiah 43:26 “Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.”
“Declare thou”: God gives the nation opportunity to come into the court and plead her case. The strongest plea is not to claim personal worthiness, but to confess their sin and repent, thus pleading for mercy and forgiveness based on God’s gracious promise (in verse 25), and based on what Jesus Christ would do on the cross (55:6-7; Romans 3:21-26).
To be “justified” is to be as if you had never sinned. God loves for us to remind Him of His promises to us. In the case here, it would be better not to look back, because they have displeased God. The grace of God is free. This is introducing the gift of grace.
To declare is to speak of something you know to be true. (In chapter 10 of Romans), we find that believing in your heart, and confessing with your mouth the Lord Jesus, will get you saved. That is the way to receive the grace offered.
Isaiah 43:27 “Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.”
“First father … teachers”: Sins of even the respected patriarchal ancestors of the Jewish race, like Abraham, kept them from claiming personal merit. Even honored intermediaries between God and Israel such as the priests needed cleansing for sin (6:5-7).
This first father could be speaking of Abraham, who was the father of the Israelites. All Israelites are proud to speak of Abraham as their ancestor. Even Abraham sinned. His faith is what saved him.
The teachers are probably, the priests and High Priest. They were mere men, so they sinned also. No man was saved by the works of the law. God sent a Savior for all mankind, so that simple faith would bring salvation.
Isaiah 43:28 “Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.”
“Jacob to the curse … Israel to reproaches”: Even though God will forgive the nation in the messianic age, she still must suffer in the intervening interval.
“Princes of the sanctuary” is speaking of those in authority in the sanctuary, the priests and High Priest. Isaiah is prophesying of a time when the priesthood would not be honorable. This very priesthood would have fallen so far from the truth; they will deny the Lord of Glory.
The priests of that day were captured by the Babylonians and not respected. The priesthood will deteriorate until the time when Jesus comes. The law will be so twisted by the time Jesus comes; He calls it their law, not God’s.
Isaiah Chapter 43 Continued Questions
- What is verse 14 prophesying?
- Who will free them from captivity?
- Name the descriptions of God in verse 15.
- What way in the sea is verse 16 referring to?
- What kept the sea heaped up?
- What is verse 17 speaking of?
- What is the only good reason for looking back?
- What is the new thing spoken of in verse 19?
- Who is the Way?
- Who was the deliverer of Israel from physical Egypt?
- What, in verse 20, benefited from the overflow of blessings?
- Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive ________ and ______ and ______.
- The most dangerous thing a person can do, is stop _____________ to God.
- To tire of worshipping God, is a sure sign of what?
- What was God upset with them about in verse 23?
- Who does God bless?
- How do many Christians neglect God today?
- What is God wearied of today?
- How can you be saved, according to Romans chapter 10?
- What happened to the sins of the Christians?
- “Justified” means what?
- Who is the first father in verse 27 speaking of?
- Who are the teachers in the same verse?
- What is “princes of the sanctuary” speaking of?