Isaiah 43 – Israel! I Choose You!

Isaiah 43 Bible with Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate

Today’s Chocolate: Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate

Today’s PassageIsaiah 43

Some biblical passages explicitly note God’s status as uncreated Creator. Among the passages that don’t, I will invariably view them in the context of God’s status as uncreated Creator–perhaps even at the expense of the passage’s point. But I’m in luck, because today’s chapter explicitly notes God’s status as uncreated Creator.

That’s not the central point of the chapter, though. Isaiah’s main theme here is Israel’s identity as God’s chosen people, both belonging to him and receiving his favor. But it brings up God’s creatorhood (that’s not a word) creatorship in the context of Israel’s divinely-given identity. Isaiah lays it down at the outset: “But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel” (43:1). Much to my disappointment, the Hebrew for “your Creator” and “He who formed you” do not connote creation out of nothing, of the “a thing did not exist and then I made it exist” variety (I love creation ex nihilo).  The words are bara’ and yatsar, and as I read their definitions in Strong’s Concordance, I’m picking up a sense of shaping or forming from both of them. God is like a craftsman, defining the contours of his people so that they’ll be able to fulfill his purposes.

And what’s that purpose? God, gathering his people, describes them: “My sons…and My daughters…whom I have created for My glory” (43:6-7). God isn’t just a craftsman, he’s also a dad, and his children have their particular form in order to glorify him. They’re his workmanship, they belong to him, and Isaiah wants us to read the passage with that in mind.

I’ve got to finish the last monthly comic strip for my Patreon before the end of the day today, so I’m gonna wrap this post up and encourage you to read Isaiah 43 on your own, looking at it through the lens of God’s creatorship and Israel’s divinely-appointed identity. But if you’d like me to come back to this passage tomorrow instead of moving on to Isaiah 44, let me know. There’s plenty more material to dig into here.

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7 thoughts on “Isaiah 43 – Israel! I Choose You!

  1. ‘Much to my disappointment, the Hebrew for “your Creator” and “He who formed you” do not connote creation out of nothing’

    Well, He doesn’t need to create much out of nothing, once He’s created the universe. He didn’t create Adam out of nothing, but out of the dust, nor Eve but of Adam’s rib. And their children (transitively His) He didn’t directly create at all (other than their souls), since Adam and Eve had the pleasure of doing so.

    Similarly, all of Israel’s descendants don’t need ‘creating’ out of nothing, they just need to be ‘made’ His, or remade in a special way, dedicated, trained up, disciplined, taught, and set apart. Much work, of course, but not out of nothing.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Randy. You make a good point–God only creates ex nihilo once in all of history, and if he left it at that, we’d have the lesser, uninvested God of deism. Like a potter at the wheel, God actually rolls up his sleeves and gets his hands dirty. He gets invested in shaping his people.

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  2. Thanks for bringing our attention to “My sons…and My daughters…whom I have created for My glory” .
    My vote: return to Is. 43 tomorrow.

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  3. Once that Creator spoke and things came into being and having placed man in it the peoples did not come out of nothing, because did the People of Israel not come from the first human beings?

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    1. Good point. God only ever created something out of nothing when he first brought the universe into being. Consequently, I’m pretty sure we can conclude that God never brought a human being into being out of nothing. It’s kind of along the same lines as the point Randy made above. Thanks for commenting!

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