Friday, July 10, 2009

Believe the Love of God

Following on from my previous post, here is my recent attempt to proclaim the reality of God’s love for His people from Isaiah 43. I read from and alluded to Isaiah 42:18-43:21, but focused the exposition on 43:1-7 which says:

43:1 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
6 I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

This is a beautiful and amazing text full of gospel promises. I am aware that some OT scholars would be displeased with my handling of the text, but I am unapologetic. I move very quickly from these statements directed to Israel centuries ago to applying them to the people of God today. I know that the return from Exile is in view, but these statements are not confined to that situation. This is the reiteration of the covenant promises of God for the people of God, and they apply directly to the people of God today.

As we wrestle with sin and are subtly tempted to believe that we remain saved by our own worthiness, we need to be reminded that God says to those who are in Christ, “I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Yes! The God of the universe, who does not need me has chosen in his inestimable mercy to say to me, a sinner, “You are mine!” What beautiful words! What soul enriching words! What freeing words!

And, in spite of what I know about the deceitfulness of my own heart and about my own unworthiness, the Lord of all creation declares, “you are precious in my eyes,and honored, and I love you.” This is what we struggle to believe. It is so good that it seems it cannot be true.

Brothers, let us believe this amazing truth and proclaim it to our people. They are dying to know it- even some who have heard it all their lives.

What a message! What a privilege to proclaim it! What a God!

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