Isaiah’s got a way with words, a way that ignites fear and trembling among Israel one moment and inspires obedience and love for God the next. This back and forthness with his message for the people of Israel may not make a lot of sense if Isaiah were here today but it makes a whole lot of sense for the people of Israel. If we know anything about the people of Israel—God’s covenant, chosen people—it is that they are a fickle folk. One moment they will sing praises to God and give God all the glory without question and without force. But in the next they will pull a 180 degree turn and pretend God hasn’t just brought them out of slavery and freed them from their enemies.
In the verses prior to our passage today, Isaiah finished a speech about Israel’s willing blindness to God’s covenant with them. They were so blind and deaf to God’s will and way that, even when God’s anger slapped them direct in the face, they did not see. “It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.”
And yet we read in today’s passage (Isaiah 43:1-7) that, despite Israel’s blatant disobedience, God is faithful to redeem.
During this Lenten season, perhaps you have been reminded of the ways that you willfully disobey God or do something you know will create a chasm between you and God or you and the body of Christ. We’ve all been there. We’ve all thought, Well this might not line up for what God wants for me, but it’s what I want for me so I’m just going to do it this once.
The next time you find yourself tempted by your own wants and desires, by the voice of the enemy inviting you to forget what God has done, remember God’s promise to you: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
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Grace and Peace