Isaiah 43-45
(Grace Abounds)
July 27th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

So donít be afraid: Iím with you.
    Iíll round up all your scattered children,
    pull them in from east and west.

- Isaiah 43:5 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

These passages continue the prophecy of Israelís redemption. Chapter 43 begins with the prophet reporting Godís word for Israel. In this report God tells the people not to fear, because he will redeem them and allow them to walk through water and fire.

God says he will gather the children of Israel from all corners of the world. Later in the chapter he reminds them of their sins, pointing out their failure to call on him and negligence with regard to sacrifice. But he then explains that he will forgive them: ď 'But I, yes I, am the one who takes care of your sinsóthat's what I do. I don't keep a list of your sins' (Isa 43:25 - MSG).Ē

The LORDís speech, as scribed by the prophet, continues in chapter 44. In this set of verses God re-affirms for the people that he is the one true God of the universe. In order to make his point, the LORD describes how craftsmen create idols from metal and wood and notes how they use the leftover wood for fuel, emphasizing the insignificance and temporary nature of the materials used to make the idols.

By contrast, God formed his people in the womb, defeated false prophets in head-to-head competition, and can dry up the oceans at his will. In the final verse of the chapter, God says that he alone is the one who will appoint Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem.

Chapter 45 begins with further explanation of the role that Cyrus will play for the LORD. God describes how he will make other nations fall before Cyrus and will give him treasure and riches. The LORD says that ďHe (Cyrus) will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the LORD Almighty (Is 45:13 - NIV).Ē

Then, all the nations will turn to God, including those who had previously made, carried, and prayed to the false idols of wood:

Reflection and Application

Itís commonly believed that the concept of Grace only appears in the New Testament, but here it is Ė God chastises the people for their transgressions and then in the same Holy Breath says he will wipe the slate clean! In The Book of Isaiah, in Fifteen Studies, the author George C. Robinson notes that this section of Isaiah provides some of the most significant examples of Grace in the Old Testament. Thus, itís a good one to go back to you if you need re-assurance or want to show someone an example of Grace in the early parts of scripture.

Redemption and Grace have been part of Godís plan from day one. The more we study the whole Bible the more we understand this fact and we more deeply appreciate the consistency of God's message. In these passages, God announces his intent to demonstrate Grace through the future king of Persia named Cyrus.

Can God achieve his purpose by orchestrating the actions of an unbeliever? Can he enable us to walk through water and fire? Itís not something that we want to test him on for frivolous purposes, but if we look hard enough we can find relevant stories.

In September we will read in the book of Daniel about three men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar sentenced these men to death by fire because they refused to bow down to the idols that he had made. These faithful men showed no fear and may have recalled the passages from Isaiah when they replied to a question from the king:

Let us take courage from Daniel the next time we are pressured to worship false idols or compromise our integrity. We may also witness similar acts of courage in our modern times. If we observe carefully and listen closely we may find more examples of this steadfastness then we would have otherwise imagined. As Daniel admits, God may not rescue us from every pain and danger on earth, but he does give us the opportunity to receive eternal peace and rest with him. Because he loves us and we love him in return we refuse to bow down to fake gods.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

Related Questions
  1. What memories do you have of suffering from a skin burn? Was it bad sunburn, or a fingertip burn from touching a hot stove, or something more severe?
  2. Are there any false idols to which we have been bowing down lately?
  3. What are the fires that you are willing to walk through instead of bowing to other gods?

Recommended Prayer
Father in heaven, we know that you are an everlasting God, full of mercy. Help us to resist imitations.

Suggested Prayer Concerns
People suffering from severe burns

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow's reading: Isaiah 46-48 (Carry You)

Comments and Questions
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