Isaiah 43

Chapter 43

This chapter portrays a courtroom scene where God puts Himself against the false gods / idols as to who could predict what is about to happen next – which is Israel being freed from Babylonian captivity.

God’s Courtroom Scene (Isaiah 43:8-13)

  1. Isaiah 43:8-9: God scornfully challenges the nations to produce their “witnesses” to “testify” that their prophets were right about what’s about to happen (Israel freed from Babylonian captivity)
    • Isaiah 43:8: the people who are blind and deaf even though they have eyes and ears are like the idols themselves! (Matthew Henry’s Commentary)
  2. Isaiah 43:10-13: The people of Israel are God’s witnesses that He was the one who was actually right and is the one true God!
  3. Modern application: WE are God’s witnesses that:

Promises of Deliverance (43:14-21)

  1. Isaiah 43:14: Israel will be freed from Babylon (probably through Cyrus the Great)
  2. Isaiah 43:15: The Lord is King over Israel but they wanted a human king instead (1 Sam 8:4-7). The restoration will put Him back on the throne as Jesus Christ (Luke 1:31-33)
  3. Isaiah 43:18: deliverances of the past will pale in comparison to future deliverance
    • modern application: should we talk about COV-19 as God’s plagues? God did many more amazing things than that, i.e. the Gospel.
    • Romans 8:20-21 creation itself freed from bondage of decay
  4. Isaiah 43:21: God not only chose but also formed His people for the purpose of praising Him

The Present Reality (43:22-28)

  1. Isaiah 43:22: The Lord steps back from the glorious future to talk of the present condition of Israel
  2. Isaiah 43:23: God rejects the false offers God had commanded the Israelites to bring sacrifices to His altar (Lev 1-6) and there were severe penalties for those who did not do them or did them in wrong ways (Lev 10:1-3).
    • Why does God say they didn’t?
    • God is saying it is not the rituals themselves He wanted but rather a people with whom he could have fellowship because their characters reflected His own. Thus He can say here and elsewhere that He had not commanded them:
      • Amos said none of the sacrifices in the desert were actually to God (Amos 5:25)
      • Jeremiah said God had no interest in the temple (Jer 7:1-9)
      • Jeremiah said God did not command them to give burnt offerings and sacrifices (Jer 7:22)
      • Isaiah already said that the whole thing made God sick (Isa 1:11-15)
      • God says Israel has not been calling or longing for Him at all (43:22) and wearied themselves with their sacrifice (Mal 1:13)
      • God never even said He wanted these things (43:23)
  3. Isaiah 43:24: Israel instead piled up more and more sin until God could bear it no more
    • the Hebrews were continually falling back into the worldview of their neighbors
    • all the offerings they kept bringing and all the rituals they engaged in which they blamed God for burdening them with were just adding to the mountain of their unconfessed sins that they kept piling on God’s back
  4. Isaiah 43:25: God blots out the sins not the rituals and He does it for His own sake
    • we cannot manipulate God by manipulating the physical world
    • Modern Application: we cannot please God by merely showing up to Church and tithing (Hebrews 11:6 without faith it’s impossible to please God)
    • God seeks a relationship with His people not a religion (Hebrews 10:4)
    • many of the Israelites wanted to try to keep themselves for themselves and to try to placate God to “get Him off their backs) with their sacrifices and rituals
  5. Isaiah 43:26: thus God suggests that His people might want to review the “case” they are making against Him.
  6. Isaiah 43:27-28: Far from being unfair because of their careful ritual, the Exile became the more necessary because of them. From their “father” Jacob (cf. Deut. 26:5Hos. 12:2–4) right up to the present they have continued in sin. The inevitable result is the one that occurred in 586 B.C., when God consigned “Jacob to destruction.”