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Salvation in Isaiah 43

If we know anything of the Bible we know how there is an emphasis in this book on God Himself, and His relationship to His created people – human beings. In particular it is about His relationship to one special nation – Israel His chosen – and their successors in grace through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ – the church – the spiritual Israel.

In Isaiah’s prophecy we have been seeing many aspects of this relationship.

In Chapter 42 last week we marvelled at the person of the One called the servant of the Lord – the Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ.

These verses declared through Isaiah’s preaching that it is God Himself speaking – the Lord Jesus Christ who is Jehovah, is using His title “God the Lord” – verse 5 – “I the Lord” – verse 6 – “I am the Lord” – verse 8. These titles emphasize God’s Almighty power – a power which underlies and is expressed in the creation. Jesus is the creator of the heavens, and the earth and all of its contents. He is the powerful giver of life and spirit to its inhabitants. “God the Lord” speaks of His omnipotence and His eternal nature. “I the Lord” or I Jehovah, is God’s personal Name to His people. In Exodus 3 when God revealed Himself to Moses with His special name – “I am” – Moses was to tell His people, the Hebrews, in Egypt that “I am” has sent me to you! He is Jehovah the great I am – this is the sacred Name. The phrase ‘I am’ is the first person singular of the verb TO BE. Jehovah means I am. And the very name of the Lord God conveys His nature – the eternally existent One – no beginning, no ending, He always was, and always will be. The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son. He was there with God from eternity past and will go on for ever! Eternal Sonship – the wonder of it all!

Isaiah continues in Chapter 43 with thoughts from Jehovah that he had formed the nation of Israel for Himself. He turns from lamenting that they are blind and deaf, and in the prison of their own sinfulness and rebellion – and now He intends to unfold his covenant dealings of mercy towards them. And these dealings are crystallised in this chapter by 8 wonderful statements containing the phrase I am.

Before we look at the first four of those 8 statements let us look at the remarkable words in verse 1 and 2.

1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

In chapter 41 twice we have a Fear Not statement.

In verse 10

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

And in verse 13

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Now is added this phrase –

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee,

God has paid the price for Israel’s redemption and in this first verse he gives 4 reasons why they should not fear –

1. The Lord God Jehovah had CREATED ISRAEL. The nation state of Israel was created by the Lord God through their patriarch Jacob. It was not Abraham or Isaac – for from them came other nations – the Arabs through Ishmael – the Edomites and other tribes through Esau – but only Israel came through Jacob and His sons. God created them as a vast nation. They became that new creation at Sinai at their founding.

2. The Lord God Jehovah had FORMED ISRAEL – he fashioned a princely people out of Jacob’s family. What a contrast between those heathen nations who fashioned worthless idols out of wood, stone and metal that could do nothing for them, and God’s fashioning of Israel as a nation to serve Him!

3. The Lord God Jehovah REDEEMED ISRAEL from Egypt. And then when they come to suffer in Babylon He will be their avenger – their redeemer. He will buy them back.

4. The Lord God Jehovah CALLED ISRAEL by name. This was God’s special name for them – it indicates that they are God’s own special people and nation. Exodus 19 records the inauguration of the people –

5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

God also gave them a special task as His servant and messenger in the world. They were to publish the name of Jehovah throughout the world. Instead they compromised with the heathen, followed their ways, and bore the punishment of exile.

Nevertheless God said, despite all this

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee,

And thou art mine! His special people will be cared for and protected.

Verse 2

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Here are the details of God’s commitment to protect and care for His chosen people. There may be trials before them – floods of affliction; rivers of adversity; fires of tribulation – testings – judgements – yet they will not be burned nor overwhelmed by them. They will be sustained by Jehovah Himself.

Now my friends let us ask a simple question. Are these wonderful and assuring promises only for the Jews? Are they only for the Children of Israel?

They were at the time of Isaiah’s prophecy. He was thinking about his people in the immediacy of the moment – the Babylonian captivity was just around the corner.

Yet because Isaiah points to the Lord Jesus Christ the Messiah in the prophecy he is also speaking about US! THE CHURCH. THE SPIRITUAL ISRAEL. And we may take the same comfort from these scriptures concerning our redemption as they presumably did.

We are created; we have been formed into a church of chosen people; we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ and we have been called by our names.

My Christian friend this evening – it may be that you are going through some trial in your life at the moment. You wonder if being a member of the Church of the Living God is worth it. You feel useless to God and you are conscious of your sin. Yet the Lord God continues to feel these things about you!

Created – formed – redeemed and called.

You can never be uncreated! You are who you are and that is a fact.

You can never be abandoned because God changes His mind like a fickle human being – He is NOT changeable like us. He who has begun a good work within us will perform it, complete unto the day of Jesus Christ! We are formed – conformed to His image and it cannot be undone.

You can never be un-redeemed. Once Christ has paid the penalty for our sins and he has done that on the cross at Calvary – then it cannot be withdrawn. It is a valid sacrifice for all His people’s sins.

And you will never be un-called

Peter 2 v 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

never to be plunged again into darkness. What marvels these are!

Well lets come to these I AM’s.

1. Verse 3 – The I AM of His Person.

3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:

We will only mention this briefly because we were able to explain this at the beginning of the sermon. I AM – the personal name that Jehovah is known to the people of the covenant – He is THY God – the powerful God – the God of strength – the holy God – the ONLY God. He is set apart from the sins of Israel because He is absolute in His holiness. And here Isaiah adds that He is their saviour. In what sense was He their saviour? What did He save them from?

He saved them from oppression and distress. He ensured their safety. When was this?

It was realised in the deliverance from Babylon when they were released from 70 years captivity by Cyrus the Persian King, acting under the gracious spiritual direction of the Lord God – although he did not know it at the time. God the deliverer paid a ransom. What was the ransom? Verse 3 hints at it – it could be that Cyrus the Persian King was rewarded for liberating them. He and his son possessed Egypt, Ethiopia and Seba (the land between the White and Blue Niles) after Israel returned to their land. The possession of these lands were not merely a gift – it was a ransom price. God dealt with this monarch – and ransomed His covenant people.

This is the kind of person our God is! He will go to great lengths to deliver us His people. I AM THE LORD THY GOD. Is He the Lord your God my friend? Have you been redeemed by a price – the price of the blood of Christ? May you know the truth of deliverance soon!

2. Verse 5 – The I AM of His personal Presence.

5 Fear not: for I am with thee:

When I was learning to swim I was full of fear. I had had some unfortunate experiences in water coupled with the fact that the rest of my family were good swimmers and I was the odd one out. I was made to feel inadequate and foolish and the fear paralysed me and filled me with dread when swimming was on the agenda.

However there came a time when I was around 16 that I went to a swimming pool and some kind friends helped me to gain confidence in water out of my depth. “I will be with you as you launch out in the water,” my friend said. He was a strong swimmer and I trusted him. He would not let be sink – he would not make fun of me because I was fearful. And this strong friend’s presence in the water made all the difference to me.

The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has in Him such a friend

5 Fear not: for I am with thee:

Water and fire are to come – but I will be with thee. Temptations will come – but

Fear not: for I am with thee:

“I need the every hour; stay thou nearby; Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.”

We need to recognise the truth of the omnipresence of God. He is able to be near every believer. He is capable of being near each of us in every situation.

What did we read at the beginning of the service?

Psalm 46 v 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Psalm 46 v 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Selah – pause and reflect – what do you think about that! He is with us!

Will you remember this tomorrow when the Monday trials hit you?

Fear not: for I am with thee:

Will you remember this when tempted to doubt?

Fear not: for I am with thee:

Will you trust Him when great fear comes upon you this week?

Fear not: for I am with thee:

The personal presence of the Lord God is precious when we seek it and its reality.

Fear not: for I am with thee:

3. Verse 10 – The I AM of spiritual Perception

10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

In this 10th verse the Lord declares that Israel are His witnesses – they are his special servant and messenger. A witness is someone who has firsthand knowledge of an event and can bear an accurate testimony about it.

The people of Israel are in the finest position, says Isaiah, to distinguish the power of Jehovah and the powerlessness of idols. They have felt the difference. Jehovah has done marvellous things for them down the centuries. The idols have brought them nothing but grief! So – they will understand that I AM HE! In other words that Jehovah is recognised as the ONLY GOD.

My friends to say this kind of thing in our society today is called being politically incorrect. We live in a pick and mix society. Jehovah is merely one of a number of gods, deities, objects of worship, from which anyone can choose. At the moment the majority of people in Britain are sold on this idea – they have heard it often enough – particularly from religious leaders!

But the problem is that that same majority do not understand! The promise in verse 10 is wonderful –

that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed,

Oh that people would understand this word from the Lord! That they may know and believe God. That they may understand that God is the only God. That there is no other! Only a mighty work of God will bring this about. And we who are Christians must pray hard that God will come by His spirit to bring this understanding to people. There is little spiritual perception today – Only God, the I am of Spiritual Perception can make any difference.

4. Verse 11 The I AM of His Protection

11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

Yet again the Lord God states it so plainly. And so eloquently –

I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

The Prophet doubles this statement by Jehovah the sovereign Lord God – doubling in Hebrew poetry indicates a confirmation. And this is a confirmation of God’s being – that He is who He says He is – the only God.

and beside me there is no saviour.

Why is it that people wish to put their confidence and trust in anyone or anything else besides the Lord Jesus Christ? The Israelites themselves put their trust in idols and heathen gods and their armies – and it landed them up in Babylon. But it was while they were in Babylon that they woke up to this fact when God spoke to them –

I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

What will it take to wake someone here up to the fact that

and beside the Lord Jesus Christ there is no saviour.

Acts Acts 4 v 12 says

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

No other name!

”None other Lamb, none other Name, None other hope in heaven or earth or sea, None other hiding-placefrom guilt and shame, None beside Thee.“

My friend the Lord Jesus Christ came to die for sinners. He was appointed to this task before the world was made. At the right time He came to perform this supreme task – and He carried it our perfectly.

His blood cleanses! His blood saves! His work on the cross is effective to save everyone of God’s own people.

His cross stands tall at the crossroads of History. The Jews looked forward to this one who was the only Saviour.

We have the privilege of looking back to Calvary and read in the scripture what happened there.

We can believe in the protection that the Lord Jesus Christ gives to humble believers from the wrath to come.

Will you believe tonight that there is no other saviour?

Will you go to him, yield to Him and seek His pardon, repenting of your sins? You must my friend! He is the only saviour. Beside Him there is no saviour!

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