January 8th, 2023: God Promises to Restore- Isaiah 43: 1-4, 10-12
Updated: Jan 7
Isaiah is a prophet whose name means, “Yahweh is salvation.” His writings cover a time span of four kings (about 60 years), and his themes run from the Creation of the world through to the creation of the New Heaven and the New Earth. He prophesied about the coming Messiah. He writes that although the nation of Israel has sinned, God will extend mercy and restoration if they turn to Him. His writings are quoted in the gospels more than those of any other prophet, with Jesus himself quoting Isaiah.
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (Luke 4:17-21).
This lesson is about Restoration. King David found that restoration from the Lord comes from a repenting heart and brings joy. It doesn’t eliminate consequences, but it redeems and heals our relationship with God.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalm 51:9-12)
There is a path of renewal and rededication to a right relationship with God. Isaiah says this is possible for the nation of Israel. God will extend grace and mercy when we turn to him humbly in faith. God continually shows us His better way for a better life and a better future.
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.
In the chapters prior to where our lesson begins, Isaiah has laid out the case for the nation's sins of neglecting the poor, making false idols, and forgetting what God has already revealed to his people about himself. In this verse, Isaiah offers restoration by reminding them that God is their creator. He knows them as both Jacob (supplanter) and Israel (one who prevails with God). Notice the command to fear not. Most importantly, He reminds them that He has redeemed them and paid the price. His plan from the foundation of the world is a way of redemption. He named them; called them out for Himself to show others who He is and to bring the world the Messiah. At the heart, fear is a lack of faith in the person, character, and sovereignty of God. When we know and trust Him, we have an appropriate fear or respect for His power and greatness. When we do not have a good relationship with God, we fear everything and anything because we are ignorant of His presence. God has always been faithful to his people and has rescued them miraculously time after time. There is no need to fear if they belong to God. He is a gracious, long-suffering God who once again invites them into His favor! The same is true of us. Despite our narcissistic tendencies and our arrogance, God has a plan of redemption and a desire to restore us to Him. When we realize how powerful and mighty our God is, how much higher His ways are than ours, we, too, have the opportunity for restoration when we recognize that He is Lord.
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.
Why do we fear everything? Why do we stumble at the promises of God? Because we don’t know Him. We can’t trust someone we don’t know. If we realize who He was, what He’s done, and the authority that He has, no circumstance should throw us off course. "When thou passest through the waters" should remind them of the Red Sea, and how their ancestors walked through on dry ground and how the armies of Pharaoh drowned, though as an enemy, they looked invincible. Floods overwhelm us, fire attempts to consume us. Notice He doesn’t say “if” you pass through He says “when.” In this life, we will have tribulations. We become weak, fearful, and cowardly. He will restore us if we put our faith in him.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23: 2-3).
For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
I am the Lord thy God - They have heard that somewhere before.
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:1-3)
It is with these words that Moses is given the 10 Commandments. Nothing has changed, God does not change. He is taking them back to the basics, to the covenant that was made on Mount Sinai - to do all that God had said for them to do, what this nation had agreed to for God’s blessing and protection. The same is true for us. When we fall out of a right relationship with God, the place to start is at the beginning. Where did you leave; what were you to do? Humble yourself, repent, and turn back to God for restoration and do what he said for you to do.
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
What is the reason that God does all of this? Because He loves them. They are precious in His sight. We, too, are precious to the Lord.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3: 16-17).
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. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.
There is no other God. There is none else, which they found out in their captivity in Babylon as idol after idol failed before a God who answered prayers, even in a foreign land. They, and we, are the witnesses of who God is and what He is like. It seems like many of our lessons recently have been about how the world will know about God through the actions and behavior of His church. The world will not see Jesus in the mess of today’s confusion and political correctness. Being politically correct is rarely, if ever, Biblically accurate. The lost will only see Jesus through our witness of how we live, what we do, and what we say. What are our standards? Do we love the brethren? How do we react when we are overwhelmed or walking through troubles? Do we trust Him? Can He restore us? Yes, He can. But only…
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chron 7:14).
Thank you for studying with us! God bless!