Isaiah 43 (contd.) – There is No YHWH But YHWH

Isaiah 43 Bible with Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate

Today’s Chocolate: Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate

Today’s PassageIsaiah 43

By popular demand, we’re still in Isaiah 43. Where we last left our hero Isaiah, he was telling his readers that Israel is the chosen people of God the Creator. Where does he go from that starting point? Let’s find out.

First of all, he uses several negations to characterize God’s uniqueness. There is only one uncreated Creator: “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me” (43:10). No other god can claim to have always existed, and none will outlast the God of Israel. Moreover, no other God can save or deliver. God says, “[T]here is no savior besides Me”(43:11) and “[T]here is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?”(43:13). These negations convey the uniqueness of several of God’s attributes. Given a being, is that being God? No? Then that being is not eternal, not omnipotent, and not self-existent.

And God wants the other nations to know this. Several times, he refers to Israel as his “witnesses” (43:9, 10, 12). In part, he grants them a privileged position so they can show the other nations just how distinct–how unlike everything else he has created–he is. And he is not going to break this news lightly to the other nations. He declares to Israel, “I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place…I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life” (43:3-4). Moreover, he promises to bring down Babylon: “For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and will bring them all down as fugitives” (43:12). This is the same Babylon that Isaiah has prophesied will have their day in the sun taking all Israel’s stuff and putting its sons to work in their palace. We can infer that Babylon’s day in the sun will be short-lived.

But the passage takes a turn at the end. Israel has not yet repented, and their recalcitrance complicates things. God notes, “Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob; but you have become weary of Me, O Israel” (43:22). They have not resumed sacrifices, and they have instead offered God their sins. God still offers his pardon: “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake” (43:25). But how will he handle Israel’s ongoing rejection of his forgiveness? He ends on this note: “So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary, and I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement” (43:28).

There! That’s Isaiah 43. We’re ready to move on to the next chapter tomorrow, where perhaps we will discover how long this ban/revilement will last and what will come next. Good job, crew.

 

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