The reading today begins with “But now…” Remember that yesterday the LORD had reminded Israel of His sovereignty, His selection of them, their rejection of Him, and finally His release of them to be plundered. “But now…” says the LORD, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, and you are mine.” This is comfort, but there is much more.
For the past few chapters, the LORD has been building His case on two complementary fronts. First, that He, the LORD, is the only God worth paying attention to, and, second, that idols have not proven their effectiveness. This sermon – and a thousand years of religious history – achieves a crescendo where these two points intersect in chapter 44, verse 6: Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of Hosts: “I am the first and the last; beside me there is no god.”
To Abram the LORD said, “Go where I tell you.” In the Sinai covenant He commanded: “Put no other gods before Me.” Now through Isaiah, at least ten centuries after Abram was promised a great nation…at least six centuries after Israel was set aside for the LORD as “… kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” Israel is definitively told: there is no other,“…and you are my witnesses!”
This pronouncement cannot be overstated. The LORD had allowed Israel – and the nations – to witness both His own strength and idols’ impotence. Not only has the prophet delivered a sermon, but history has delivered a sermon. The LORD reminds Israel of their experience: “Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.” Therefore, He insists that they: “Fear not, nor be afraid…” This is as bold and unequivocal a statement as you’ll find in the Bible. The LORD, calling on anyone to prove Him otherwise: “Is there a God beside me?” He asks. “There is no rock; I know not any.”
Our verse for this week is 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Isaiah 43 and 44. Now let’s read it!
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.