Israel, punished and forgiven
God: Israel, you are mine1
This is the LORD talking.
Jacob’s children, I brought you to life.
Israel, I made you what you are.
So, don’t be afraid of me.
I’m the one who saved you.
I’m the one who chose you,
I’m the one who called you by your name.
You are mine.
I’ll wade the water with you.
Deep water won’t sweep you away.
It can’t sweep you from your LORD.
When you walk through fire
You won’t burn.
Flames can’t erase you from your LORD.
3 I am the LORD your God.
I am the Holy One of Israel, your Savior
I gave up Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba.
That’s what I did to save you.
4 I love you and respect you.
You’re precious to me.
When I rescued you, I paid a high price.
People died. Nations fell.
5 Don’t be afraid. I am with you.
Though your people are scattered,
I’ll bring them home.
I’ll bring them from the east
I’ll bring them from the west.
6 I’ll tell the northern lands,
“Let my people go.”
I’ll tell the southern lands,
“Don’t try to stop them.
Send my sons from your faraway lands
Send my daughters from the ends of the earth.
7 These are my people.
I created them and chose them.
They honor me with their lives.
8 Free the people who have eyes but can’t see,
Who have ears but can’t hear.
God calls a meeting9
Call a meeting of all the nations.
Get everyone together.
Ask if any of them predicted what has happened.
Have them call their witnesses to prove it.”
“My people, you are my witnesses.
I picked you out of all the nations.
I chose you so you could meet me
And believe in me
And know that I am God.
There are no other gods.
None before. None to come.
11 I am the LORD. That’s me.
I am the only one who can save you.
12 I am the one who said I would save you.
And I’m the one who saved you.
No idol did that for you.
You saw it with your own eyes.
I am God.
13 I have always been God.
No one can overpower me.
No one can stop me.
God: I’m coming to your rescue14
I’m the LORD,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I’m coming to your rescue.
I’ll break down the walls of Babylon.
People of Babylon may be cheering now
But they’ll be crying when I’m done.
I’m your creator and your king.
16 I cut a path through the water,
A trail through the powerful sea.
17 I drew enemy horses and chariots into the sea,
An army of warriors coming to catch you.
But I knock them down, and they can’t get up.
I take their lives like snuffing out a candlelight.
Tomorrow’s news: Rivers in the desert18
That’s old news.
Forget the past for now.
It’s beginning to happen. Can you see it yet?
I’m going to plow the road.
I’ll make a path through the wasteland.
I’ll put rivers in the desert.
20 Wild animals will love me for it.
Jackals and owls will be happy
Because I put water in the badlands
And rivers in the desert.
But I’ll put them there for my people.
21 These are the people I created for myself
I wanted them to know me
And to celebrate who I am.
When Israel gave up on God22 But you stopped talking to me,
children of Jacob.
You got tired of me,
children of Israel.
23 You haven’t brought me sheep
As sacrificial offerings.
You haven’t shown me that respect.
I didn’t ask for sacrifices in your exile.
I didn’t ask for offerings or incense.
24 So, you didn’t bring me perfumes
Or the sweet fat from your sacrifices.
Instead, you weighed me down with sins.
But I’ve grown tired of it all.
God erases Israel’s sins25
I’m the only one who erases your sins.
I’ll do it because that’s who I am.
I’ll erase them and forget them.
Let’s see who’s right or wrong.
27 You’ve been sinning for generations.
Even your priests turned against me.
28 I rejected those priests.
I declared them sinful and unfit.
Then I gave Jacob’s descendants to the enemy.
I let Israel fall to pieces in disgrace.
Called Cush in Bible times, south of Egypt.
It’s unclear where Seba was located. A common guess is that it was somewhere in the north African region near Egypt and Ethiopia, further south. Scholars offer their educated guesses about what God means when he says he gave up Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba to free the Hebrew slaves. Some say this may have been a poetic way of saying God was willing to give up anything to save them; he loved them that much. And that’s a fair consideration since this entire prophecy in Isaiah 43 is written as a lyrical Hebrew poem. Other scholars say the meaning may refer to Babylonians or Persians later conquering the territories.
Many Egyptians died during the 10 plagues of Egypt (Exodus 7:14-12:36). And many nations fell to the invading Hebrew refugees when they tried to block their path to the Promised Land. This included the Canaanites, Amorites, and the Hittites.
The people can see and hear sin at work. But they ignore it and do whatever they want. They focus on what they want to see and listen to words that reinforce their bad ideas.
It’s unclear what event God is talking about. Possibly Cyrus’ rise to power in Persia and his decision to free Babylon’s political prisoners. Those prisoners included the Jews that Babylon deported after destroying Jerusalem in 586 BC.
This refers to God making an escape route for Moses and the Hebrew ancestors of today’s Jewish people as they fled from slavery in Egypt. God opened a path through a body of water. The Hebrews escaped through it. But when the Egyptian army tried to follow, the water washed over them like a tidal wave, killing them all (Exodus 14:27-28).
The 12 tribes of Israel descended from the 12 sons of Jacob. Each tribe grew out of one of the extended families of his sons. God renamed Jacob “Israel” (Genesis 32:28).
“During your exile” isn’t in the Hebrew language. It’s presumed as a guess. Before Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC and deported the Jews to what is now Iraq, God required Jews to sacrifice. But when the Temple fell, they no longer had a central place of worship. Without that, they had no place to offer sacrifices.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.