Monday, December 27, 2010

Whom Shall I Follow?

In Unit I, we have been reviewing how God comforts His People. In particular, the prophet Isaiah was studied as he prophesied in Isaiah chapter 41 to the Israelites toward the end of their seventy (70) year Babylonian captivity. They were tired, full of fear, and had lost hope. Many had died and many were born during the captivity. The Babylonian idol god(s) had become the god(s) of many Israelites. Isaiah reminded them God had not forsaken them, to expect the end of their captivity soon, to be of courage and without fear for the Lord promised to give them strength, offer them help, and hold them up with His “righteous right hand” when the conquering king came on the scene.

In Isaiah chapter 42 the prophesy has occurred. God has allowed Cyrus the Great1 to conquer the Babylonians and, as a ransom2, the Hebrew people were set free. Cyrus the Great was the founder of the Persian Empire. The Empire embraced all previous civilized states to create the largest empire the world had yet seen. The Hebrew people were ransomed/released in return for payment of Cyrus the Great’s demanded price (Babylonian nation) as orchestrated/permitted by God.

Isaiah chapter 43, therefore, begins with the Lord reminding the descendants of Jacob/Israel that He created them, He formed them, and they had nothing to fear for He had redeemed3 them, they are called by His name and they are His. Redemption is an element of salvation to express deliverance from sin. They knew they did not belong to anyone else. God is committed to their ultimate care and protection.

As a result of their relationship with God, the Israelites’ had no reason to fear whatever the circumstance. God would be with them when they pass through waters, floods, and the fire. As mentioned in a previous paragraph, God exchanged nations for Israel because He loved them and they were “precious” and “honored” in His sight.

The Israelites’ did not have to fear because God loved them. They had been divided all over the earth. God promised to bring His chosen people back to their homeland from all corners of the earth. They were created to be a witness for His glory.

The Hebrew people had witnessed a might act of deliverance. They knew Him to be their God. He had “…revealed and saved and proclaimed…” (Is 43:12 NIV). The Lord’s revelation through salvation becomes an opportunity for proclamation. When the Jews returned from Babylon, the Lord expected Israel to go out and proclaim to the world that He is God.

Just as God reassured Israel that they were still His people, He also gives us the same assurance. We too must find our mission in life from God and be obedient by proclaiming through Christ Jesus our Saviour that He is God. Christ makes this possible through His Spirit. We can have confidence and courage to face any trouble in our lives. God loves us.


Written by Deborah Davis

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