A God-Blessed People
The emphasis in Isaiah chapter 44 shifts from that of Isaiah chapter 43 – God rebuking His people for trying to manipulate Him, to a message about the glorious prospects God has for His people’s future. God’s judgment was not His final Word. In spite of the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem, Israel would remain God’s servant, His chosen people. He cared for them even when they did not call out to Him. He revived His lifeless people with His life-giving Spirit and renewed His promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:2; 13:16) that Israel would bless the world.
Israel deserved their distressing situation in Babylonian captivity. But God is a God of great grace and forgiveness and He does not forget His own. “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant; And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; and you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.’” (Isaiah 44:1–2).
Isaiah called God’s downcast, hard-headed people to listen to God, emphasizing how He chose and formed Israel. God had not given up on them in spite of their attempt to manipulate Him nor because of their hard-hearted rebellion against His Word. God encouraged His people not to be afraid because He created and chose them for a purpose, and they would still fulfill it.
You are no accident! You’re breathing at this moment because God planned it to be so. There are illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate children. God’s purpose overrides human error. God made you so that He could love you. That’s a truth on which you can build a purposeful life. "God decided to give us life through the Word of Truth so we might be the most important of all the things He made.” (James 1:18). Next time you suffer rejection or an attack of low self-esteem, remind yourself, that you’re the object of God’s love and one of the most important things He has made. Your life has profound meaning, but you will only discover that meaning when Jesus is the center of your life.
The Lord promised to revive the children of Israel, both physically and spiritually. His promise of water for the land was critical for physical life, but without the infusion of the Holy Spirit there was no hope for Israel spiritually, nor would there be for the Church today. With the Spirit of Life, we are promised that redeemed people will proliferate like well-watered trees by a stream.
God’s children want to be known as children of the Lord and are unashamed of Him and their nation, Israel. Are you unashamed to be a child of God? Every day, we should own our responsibilities as His people. We should delight in letting others know about our relationship with Him. If the people of God faithfully proclaim their allegiance to Him, others will be drawn to God as well. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit, Israel was blessed and all sorts of people started to seek the Lord.
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts. ‘I AM the First and I AM the Last, and there is no God besides Me.” (Isaiah 44:6). These titles show God’s sovereignty over all the earth. The message that God proclaims here is that there is no one who will ever compare to Him. He is not the greatest of the gods; there is no other real god. The fundamental proof of God’s uniqueness is His ability to predict what seems to be impossible and then make it happen. God alone created a people and both through them and to them declared the course of things to come.
“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are My witnesses! Is there a God besides Me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:8). God owns the past, present and future. History is in God’s hand, as the Israelites should have known. God would never abandon them, Babylon would not devour them, and the ancient promises would not fall to the ground. God revealed His plan long ago, to both the Israelites then, and the Church today. So, there is no need to be afraid.
We can trust God to keep His Word, even in the lowest points of history. The Israelites were witnesses to the history of prophecy, the history of God proving His claim to be the One true God, the only Rock, and the only One worthy of trust. Amen.