The LORD is the Gracious Redeemer
The next two oracles of the book (Isaiah 43:1-13 and 43:14--44:5) focus on redemption from captivity. It is here that the message focuses on the idea of the Servant as the nation.
The LORD is the Redeemer
In the first one the LORD promises to regather His undeserving nation (servant) and renew them. Israel is first exhorted not to fear (43:1-7) because God formed them and called them in the past; and because they are precious to Him they will be regathered from the whole earth. The LORD then brings the people forth as a witness that He is God alone (43:8-13). Both this witness and the nations in general will recognize that the LORD is sovereign, that He acts without any assistance, and that none can oppose Him.
The layout of this section reveals parallel structures in the pattern of the text:
1 Do not fear--you are mine, I created you
2 you will be protected
3 I will ransom you because I am your Savior
4 I will exchange you because I love you
5 Do not fear--I am with you, I will gather you
6 I will call for the regathering of my people
7 gather my people whom I created for my glory
8 Call for blind and deaf (=Israel) to be witnesses for me
9 Challenge for the nations to be witnesses against me,
who can say they foretold this; others say it is true.
10 You are my witnesses, my Servant whom I chose,
I am He
there is no god before or after me
11 I, even I, am the LORD
there is no Savior apart from me
12 I declared, saved, proclaimed
I, not a foreign god
You are my witnesses--I am God
13 I am He, from the ancient days
no one can deliver out of my hand
I act, and who can reverse it?
From this layout we can see that there are essentially two parts to the passage. Verses 1-7 promise the regathering from the captivity so that the people have no reason to fear. There are two cycles to this message, the jussive "do not fear" serving as the structural markers. The rest of the passage is a trial; first, witnesses are called for the LORD and then witnesses are called for the nations, and second, the LORD makes His claim that the witnesses will attest to that He alone is the sovereign Lord. The proof of His divine sovereignty is that He conducts His people through history in a way that they can follow with confidence; and His ability to predict the future, to chart it out, to show the direction He was going, is great evidence of His sovereignty. Acts without words are open to all kinds of interpretation, and words without acts are hollow promises; but words that predict the acts, and acts that confirm the predictions, attest to the truth of the claims of the LORD and build confidence in the yet unfulfilled promises that He has made. In this passage that promise concerns the regathering of the nation: God is able to create a future out of the ruins of the past. He alone can do this. And even if Israel had been blind and deaf (i.e., disobedient to and ignorant of God's Word), they would make superb witnesses to what He was able to do when they saw the promises begin to unfold in spite of their sin. This passage, then, may be used to build confidence in the promises of God--Do not fear, God says, I will ransom you from the world; you are my witnesses that I alone am the sovereign God and am able to do this.
The immediate fulfillment for Israel would be their return from the captivity--which had been predicted as well as their captivity. But that fulfillment was merely a harbinger of the greater ingathering that would take place at the end of the age.
For the Christian, it will be necessary to assess the promises of the New Covenant that await fulfillment. These overlap with the promises here in the prophets of Israel, for we have been grafted in to the New Covenant. Paul then says that the whole world is groaning, waiting for the day of redemption (Rom. 8). We are to be filled with confidence that God will keep His Word and deliver us from the bondage of the world. Such hope casts out fear.
But our confidence in the promises is only as strong as our knowledge of the LORD. So this passage, and those to come, will have very strong theology on the sovereignty of God--stronger than many would like. We must be sure to teach that as the necessary basis of our faith. One of the reasons that churches are so weak in the faith and so heretical today is because sound doctrine has been lost--there just is no teaching or preaching to speak of that would feed the hungry soul. There are little homilies that lack biblical and theological substance, various classes on related issues other than Scripture, and literature and music that is often shallow, experiential, and too frequently unbiblical. How could anyone grow? Well, the next 23 chapters of this book will be filled with strong meat--truth that will change people's lives.
I. “Do not fear” God will redeem His people from the world (43:1-7).
A. Cycle One: God will ransom His people (1-4).
Verse 1 lays the foundation of the Word of promise by affirming that this is the nation that God had formed. The language is covenantal: You are mine.
The epithets that the prophet uses for God refer to the historical act of the foundation of the nation at Sinai--but the terms are creational. The expression "he who created you" (bora’aka) uses the main word for creation (bara’), a term that means to fashion or refashion something into a new and perfect creation. It can have the idea of renewal or transformation. In the biblical texts only God is the subject of this verb. So the formation of the Israelites into a nation, the people of God, is being called a creation. Likewise, Paul uses creation terminology for our salvation in the New Testament.
The second epithet is "he who formed you" (yotserka). This word (yatsar) means to form or fashion something by design, a plan, a blueprint (Gen. 2:7). It is the word for an artist--the participle is the Hebrew word "potter." So the expression says that God is the creator of the nation, and that His creation is by design.
The main reason for the call to cast away fear in this verse is the expression "for I have redeemed you" (ge’altika [pronounced geh-al-tea-kah], from ga’al). This verb is a little different from other words in the Bible that we translate "redeem"; this is the kinsman redeemer or avenger, the one who makes things right--pays debts, avenges death, judges the enemy, rescues the poor and needy, or marries the widow. The key idea seems to be "protect"--the family and various other institutions. When the verb describes the LORD's activity, it usually always means judging the nations to deliver the people from bondage; in New Covenant passages it is eschatalogical. I would take the verb here to be prophetic perfect (or at least a perfect of resolve), for this is what He was about to do.
Finally, the idea of "called you by name" is a reference to both creation and election. God chose His people, and by calling them by name exercised His sovereignty over them (compare other "naming" passages). In fact, the idiom of naming in the Babylonian account of creation (Enuma elish) represents creating.
So the point of the first verse is clear: Israel belongs to God because He formed them into a nation in the first place and now will deliver them from bondage to Himself.
Verse 2 uses some bold figures to express divine protection. Water is used for invasions and exiles in the prophets (we saw it already in Isaiah 8 with the water flooding up to Jerusalem); and fire is used for purging persecutions that come upon the people. All the imagery here is implied comparison. But it all means that God will protect His people.
Verse 3 begins to spell out the promise of the rescue from captivity. Here the self-revelation of the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, adds the epithet "your savior" (mosi‘eka [mo-she-eh-ka], from yasa‘ [ya-sha]). The verb "to save" is a common one in the Old Testament; John Sawyer has a discussion on it and the other words for salvation in the Old Testament in his book Semantics in Biblical Research, New Methods of Defining Hebrew Words for Salvation (SCM Press). The name "Jesus" (Ye-shua) is, of course, drawn from this verbal root, as is the name "Isaiah" (Yeshayahu) itself ("Yah saves"). Most of the words for salvation are military terms; this one basically means "deliver, save." It can refer to an answer to prayer, a healing, rescue, deliverance from trouble, death, or disease--as well as from sin and its punishment (although "saved from sin" is not a very common usage). In this passage it refers to a deliverance from bondage, and so is essentially political, although this deliverance includes the fact that sin was the reason for the exile. So it is a physical-spiritual deliverance.
The word for "your ransom" (kophreka) is from the verbal root kipper, which means "atone, expiate, pacify, set free. The noun means to set free through some means of expiation. In this context the term is applied a little differently (as are the terms for salvation and redemption): God will set His people free from bondage--at the expense of the oppressors. So their destruction will be the ransom price--the exchange given to set Israel free.
Verse 4 continues this theme with two new words that call for attention. The deliverance is because Israel is precious (and honored) in God's sight. They are highly valued because rare--the chosen people. And the main motive for the deliverance is "because I love you" (’ahabtika, from ’ahab). The term for love conveys the idea of choosing spontaneously (as opposed to the idea of "hating" which means among other things "reject"--Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated). Other words for love will stress the covenant loyalty that God has for His people; but this one indicates that He chose them and His love for them remains constant. Of course, this does not mean that He overlooks idolatry, and unbelief--the captivity was intended to purge those who were not truly in the covenant.
B. Cycle Two: God will gather His people (5-7).
Verse 5 repeats the caution "Do not fear." The promise of divine presence (meaning God will intervene for protection and provision) is the basis for the comfort. In this, and in the next couple of verses, in a number of ways God says that He will regather His people from all over the world. Not all of the exiled people went to Babylon--they were scattered. But as the Creator, God will speak to the north, south, east, and west, and the world will give up His people.
In verse 7 we discover that with the repetition of the creation theme that God's purpose for Israel was "for my glory." Likewise, in the New Testament do we read that Christ always did things that the Father might be glorified. We shall see later in the book, and in Ezekiel, that the regathering is not because Israel deserved it, but because God's reputation (=name) was at stake. And He will not let the sins of the people rob Him of His name and steal His glory. At the risk of making it too simple, we could say that the verse means that God's establishment of a covenant people has as its purpose that God might be seen throughout the world, for "glory" means an enhanced reputation for the LORD, honor to Him. Everything He does is for that purpose, for all glory given to Him will attract many more to the Kingdom. Likewise when we glorify the LORD, it is meant in part to draw people to His love.
II. “You are witnesses”
The LORD is able to deliver His people because He alone is the sovereign LORD God (43:8-13).
A. God calls witnesses for and against His claim (8, 9).
The setting of this section is a court scene to determine the veracity of the claims of the LORD. Witnesses are called on both sides of the case to see what the evidence will be.
From the use of the terms for "blindness" and "deafness" used earlier and elsewhere for Israel, we would conclude that verse 8 is a call for the disobedient and sinful nation to witness God's gracious provision. The figures would be hypocatastases, comparing blindness and deafness to disobedience and spiritual ignorance. But even in that condition Israel had had the opportunity to see and hear what God was doing, and so would qualify as witnesses to the power of God. In fact, their witness would be more effective, for they were surprised by what God had done.
Verse 9 is a challenge from God for the other nations to say anything if they or their gods were able to do what the LORD could do--foretell this deliverance as He had done. Powerful acts can be attributed to deities or kings; but predicting them is quite another matter. God is on one side; all other powers on the other. Who in truth is the sovereign Lord? These witnesses will have to step forward and give their credentials (a theme that will run through several chapters), or finally admit the truth of the LORD's claims.
B. God’s claim of absolute sovereignty stands (10;13).
Verse 10 begins with the first cycle of "You are my witnesses." Israel is here addressed as the chosen servant of the LORD. In view of what follows this makes great sense. But believers do not always like the idea of being chosen, nor do they like the idea of being servants. But if God is God, they must be both servants and chosen. If God was chosen by us (!), and He is our servant (!), then He is not much of a God.
The verse focuses on the purpose of this election--that they might know and believe that "I am He." This construction is made up of two simple pronouns: ’ani hu’ (pronounced ah-nee who), "I [am] He." The statement is fraught with significance. I am the One. There is no one else. Who else matters? I am the sovereign Lord who has no rivals. This point is expanded with "there is no god before or after me." The Law said, "You shall have no other gods before Me." The call to Moses said,"I AM that I AM."
It seems to me that this theme running through this section of the book needs to be recaptured for today when the view of God is weak, or when theologians are busying themselves trying to "re-image" God, and in the process making God a god and not the only God. The LORD God Himself lays down the challenge--where are the rivals?
I believe that a very strong case can be made in these and other "I Am" revelations that within the Godhead we have here speaking the second person, the pre-incarnate Christ in the glory that He had before the foundation of the world. He is the Savior.
Verse 11 repeats and adds to this: "I, even I, am the LORD, there is no Savior apart from me." The Hebrew is wonderfully cryptic again--’ani ’ani YHWH, literally "I - I - Yahweh." Now the personal, covenantal name is put in place of the pronoun "He," and the epithet "Savior" is added to the exclusive statement. No religion in the ancient or modern world made such claims to exclusivity and salvation. There is only one God; and there is only one Savior--Yahweh.
Verse 12 brings in the theme of prophecy. The LORD alone, not a foreign god, was able to proclaim and declare in addition to save (see above comments on works and acts).
This verse, as well as verse 13, will affirm that the LORD is the only true God, always has been, always will be. And He is completely sovereign. No one can deliver out of His hand, and no one can make Him change His plans. One can only trust the LORD, certainly not rebel against Him. Deliverance comes from Him; judgment also comes from Him. He alone can save; no one can save from Him. Such knowledge of God must lead to faith.
The message of this chapter is rather straightforward. It is a message for the people of God not to fear the circumstances of life because the LORD is about to redeem them in fulfillment of His promises. He is fully able to do this because He is the sovereign Lord of the universe, as everyone will attest. So in our age we can transfer this theme rather easily. First, Jesus Christ is the sovereign Lord of creation, the great I AM, the only Savior. He has made promises to us, and those include ultimate redemption from the bondage of this world and transference to His Father's House. As a result we should not fear, for He has overcome the world. So Christians should be strong in the faith, evaluate everything in line with eternal principles, and look forward in expectation to the great deliverance.
Conrad, E. W. "The `Fear Not' Oracles in Second Isaiah." VT 34 (1984):143-151.
De Boer, P. A. H. "A Mistranscription." VT 1 (1951):68.
Reisel, M. "The Relation between the Creative Function and the verbs br'--ysr--`sh in Isaiah 43:7 and 45:7." In Verkenningen in een stroomgebied. FS M. A. Beek. Ed. M. Boertien et al. Amsterdam: Huisdrukkerij Universiteit, 1974. Pp. 64-79.
Rubinstein, A. "Word Substitution in Isaiah 43:5 and 54:16." JSS 8 (1963):52-55.
Walker, Norman. "Mitteilungen Concerning HU' and 'ANI HU'." ZAW 74 (1962):205-206.
Williamson, H. G. M. "Word Order in Isaiah 43:12." JTS 30 (1979):499-502.
There are three tenses of salvation or redemption: we have been redeemed/saved from the penalty of sin (regeneration); we are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification); and we will be saved/redeemed from the very presence of sin (glorification). You have to watch the passages in their contexts to be sure you have the right category.
So we today await the redemption from the bondage of this evil world. But this does not mean that we are not already believers, or members of the covenant.
Some of the older dictionaries still try to base the idea on Arabic and have the meaning to be "setting in wide open spaces" or the like. Sawyer shows that is not correct.
Many Bible students still rely too heavily on the old lexicon by Brown, Driver and Briggs, who tended to lump homonyms together as from the same root. While this is the standard dictionary, modern research must be taken into consideration. The evidence now points to two roots k-p-r, one meaning "expiate" and the other meaning "cover, smear" (as in caulking on a barge). When these were taken together, people concluded that sins were only covered over. But that runs against the clear teaching of the Old Testament, and erroneously joins two different roots together.
Isaiah 43:14 - 44:5
Redemption by God's Grace
This section is the second oracle about the prophet's message that God would deliver His people from bondage. The preceding section looked at God's unchallenged ability to do it; this part stresses that Israel does not deserve it. The section falls into three main parts: the declaration that God will deliver them (14-21), the explanation that they do not deserve this (22-28), and the exhortation for them not to fear (44:1-5).
I. The LORD promises to deliver His people in a great exodus
and prosper them in the way (43:14-21).
A. The covenant God promises victory (14-15).
Verse 14 declares that God has intervened to bring down Babylon on behalf of His people Israel. The verse begins with the double description of the LORD: the Holy One of Israel and their Redeemer.
Once again the text is probably using the Hebrew prophetic perfect tense, since the delivery lies in the future--the certain future. The content of the verse teaches that God will bring down their powerful adversaries (compare Daniel's song in Daniel 2:20ff.). In this verse are included the Chaldeans, a general name for the Babylonians, but technically the ruling class of royal priests. Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean.
Verse 15 reiterates the self-revelation of the LORD as the Holy One, Creator, and King. "I am the LORD" is the declaration, couched in terms of the covenant made at Sinai (see Exodus 20). The epithet "your Holy One" stresses the uniqueness of the LORD as the covenant God. And "creator of Israel" recalls Sinai and underscores the fact that they owe their existence to Him. The expression "your King" makes the point that it is a theocracy and that they owe absolute allegiance to God.
B. The LORD promises a safe exodus (16-21)
First, in verses 16 and 17 the LORD reminds the people of the first exodus out of bondage in Egypt. The text does not mention the exodus by name, but by stating that the LORD makes a road through the Sea definitely alludes to that time, for they would not pass through the sea here. The allusion implies a comparison. Moreover, the usage of the verbs "form" and "create" in the context have already referred to that period of history. The prophet has also used "water" and "flood" as figures of this captivity. So the allusion to the escape from Egypt through the flood is a good one.
Verse 17 adds to the allusion: the LORD led out the armies of Egypt, horse and chariot in all their strength, and buried them in the sea ("they lie down together, without rising"). The LORD crushed them out of existence because they were chasing His people to enslave or destroy them. Now Israel should be reminded of that great deliverance that made them a nation in the first place. God is fully able to deliver His people from world powers.
Second, the LORD exhorts the people to forget the former exodus (verse 18). After recalling the exodus, the LORD tells Israel not to remember (zakar) nor consider (hitbonan from bin) it any more--they should not dwell on the past, because God is going to do something new and wonderful. Live for the future!
An application could easily be made along the way here: many Christians live only in the past with their focus on what Christ did back there--the passover/exodus, or on their own conversion experience; this is fine, but they are not looking for the next event, the culmination of the covenant program in the second coming! The events of Christ’s first coming laid the foundation for what He will do at the second.
Third, the LORD is going to bring a marvelous new deliverance through the desert (verses 19-20). The theme is announced in verse 19: "Behold, I am about to do a new thing." What is coming is a new thing. "New" (kha-dash) can mean something completely new, or a renewal or transformation (it is often parallel with bara’, "create").
The "new thing" will be a road through the wilderness (compare the road through the sea in the previous verses). The imagery compares this return to streams in the desert, probably the point of the comparison is that roads that might be empty or lightly traveled will be "flooded" with people returning to the land as wadis are flooded with water in the rainy season.
Verse 20 is a little more difficult to understand. It appears on the surface that the waters created to supply the needs of the returning Israelites would also refresh the animals, and this relief will lead to God's glory.
Fourth, Israel will praise the LORD (verse 21). "This people I have formed for Myself--they shall declare My praise." "Praise" is tehillah (from halal), the spontaneous expression of what is enjoyed. Israel, when released to return to their homeland, will offer such expressions of joy.
II. The LORD declares that the people are undeserving of this deliverance (43:22-28).
A. Indifference to sin shows unworthiness (22-24).
Israel demonstrated her present weariness with the LORD by her continued sin and by her failure even to give an offering to Him.
Verse 22 puts the contrast boldly: negatively, Israel has not called upon the LORD--they did not pray for this great deliverance; positively, they have been weary or tired of the LORD. The idea of "weary" is connected with toilsome labor (as in "much studying is a wearying of the flesh"). Through all their troubles they got tired of trying.
Verse 23 clarifies that Israel had not brought the LORD whole burnt offerings or peace offering sacrifices. In the foreign land sacrifice was not possible. So God did not make them weary with much sacrificing and burning of incense; He did not make them serve and He did not make them wear out.
The explanation of all this is now given in verse 24. God was brought no sacrifices and no sweet cane as a gift. Rather, God was made to serve because of their sins. These words are meant to imitate the words of the last verse: you made Me serve with your sins (I did not make you serve with offerings); you wearied Me with your iniquities (I did not weary you with incense). These words express the LORD's distress caused by Israel's sins, and intensified by the fact that Israel offered no sacrifices, and made no prayers for deliverance from sin and bondage.
B. God forgives sin for His own sake (25).
This verse is the heart of the passage. "I, even I, blot out your sins for my own sake; your sins I will not remember." The verb "blot out" (the participle mo-kheh, from makhah) is a hypocatastasis, portraying the complete removal of sin. As a participle the construction should read, "I am the One who blots out your transgressions."
The two words for sin are "transgressions" or rebellions (pesha‘ [peh-sha]) and "sins" or failures (hata’ [khah-tah]). God will remember these no more. God knows everything, and so the idea of His not remembering is obviously anthropomorphic to express to express complete removal of the sins from the judicial record, so to speak. The point is the charges will never be brought up again.
In this verse we see clearly that the deliverance from Babylon was connected with the forgiveness of sins--which was one of the threefold words of comfort in the beginning of chapter 40. Or, to put it another way, the restoration was a sign that sins were forgiven.
But since Israel simply wearied God with sins, and made no plea to Him, and offered no gifts or sacrifices, this deliverance was completely by grace. "For my own sake" I do this. Ezekiel also will explain that God's name (=reputation) is at stake, His Word must be fulfilled or His character will be called into question. God remains faithful to His promises even when His people prove unfaithful, or weary Him. They may profane His name, but He will sanctify it. This is why we pray, "Hallowed be thy name."
C. God disciplines for unconfessed sins (26-28).
Verse 26 is worded as a challenge. Using "remember" yet again, God tells Israel to remind Him of anything He may have overlooked that would render forgiveness unnecessary--list any service records that could cancel out the marks against you. If they did not think that their deliverance was connected to forgiveness, they should now make their case to justify themselves.
Verse 27 affirms that sin has been with the nation from the beginning. "First father" means from its origin the nation was a transgressing people; the "interpreters," especially the priests and prophets, had failed and rebelled by leading the people astray.
Verse 28 speaks of the punishment: "profaned" and "given to the curse." The verb "profane" is from khalal; it means to treat something as common. There is a word play here with its antonym qadosh, "holy"--"The princes of the Sanctuary (or "holy place" or "holiness" or even "holy princes") I have made unholy or common." Sending unbelieving Israelites into exile was a way of showing (as Hosea had said) that they were not His people (Lo’ ‘Ammi, "Not My people"). The unbelieving in Israel were not holy, not set apart--they were lost like the pagans. Unfortunately, the remnant of true believers in Israel (the Jeremiahs, the Ezekiels, the Daniels) had to go into captivity because the majority were unbelievers; but the meaning of the exile was different for them.
The verb "curse" is kharam (the noun is kherem). It means "devoted, put under the ban, set apart." In short, something under the "ban" was off-limits; it was for God to either keep for His own use or destroy--here destroy. (Recall what happened to Achan when he took the "cursed" garment).
So the judgment on Israel with the exile was twofold: humiliation and destruction. They had not heeded the prophets to turn from their sin, and so God brought the destruction. Now God challenged the people to convince Him that the exile was not deserved.
If that was deserved, then the regathering was by grace.
III. The LORD encourages His people that He will revive them again (44:1-5).
A. Introduction: God’s people should not fear (1,2).
In the first two verses of this chapter the LORD uses several motivations for Israel not to fear: "my servant," "Israel whom I have chosen," "made you," "formed you," "will help you," and "Jeshurun." This list of descriptions and qualifications solidly reiterates the covenant ties between God and Israel.
The name "Jeshurun" is a synonym for "Israel," used in Deuteronomy 32. It looks to the future of the nation, the blessing awaiting it for the reward of the righteous. It seems to be connected with "upright, straight," an adjective connected with the nation of believers.
The verb "will help" is from the root ‘azar (the noun ‘ezer is "helper" which is used for Eve but mostly for God). It means assistance, that is, doing for someone what that person cannot do for himself or herself.
Because the people belong to God, and because He is about to deliver them, they must respond to His Word or promise by faith and not with fear.
B. The LORD will revive His people again (3-5).
First, in verses 3 and 4 the LORD announces that He will revive them physically and spiritually. Verse 3 says that God is going to pour out three things--water on the one who is thirsty, His Spirit on the seed of Israel, and His blessing on the people. The whole verse seems to be talking about the basic spiritual need of Israel. It may be that the physical thirst is a comparison to spiritual thirst (see Ps. 42:1 and 63:1). The restoration of Israel is like water to a plant in parched ground--they will grow and become healthy. Then, the Spirit would be the means of the deliverance, and the "blessing" the summary description of the restoration--so these are used metonymically. Westermann has a good little paperback book on "blessing" (which is the short title). He shows that the term means "enrichment" along with the enablement to obtain God's good gifts. Here then the verse ties the (metonymies of) cause and the effect together. The divine Spirit is the source of the national revival and increase, which is the blessing (compare Ezekiel 37:9).
Verse 4 provides a comparison of how Israel will flourish--Israel's offspring are to be as numerous as the blades of grass in well-irrigated meadows. Or, like poplars by the water courses.
Second, the text states that then the people will be attractive to the Gentiles (verse 5). The people represented as speaking here are Gentiles who became proselytes to the faith. They are attracted by the prosperity and the honor given to this ancient people by God's blessing. So they wish to be numbered among them, to be called by their name. Gentiles coming to the faith and using Hebrew names in naming their children is good witness to the glorious prospect of such a prophecy.
The message of promised deliverance from bondage in the world continues into this section; but the emphasis here is on the grace of it all. I would make as the main focus the way that God develops how He has acted toward His people in keeping the covenant promises in spite of their indifference and sin. Even though we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. Moreover, a meticulous analysis of His titles and deeds toward His people will further underscore His grace. And, I would emphasize also how the demonstration of His sovereignty and grace attract Gentiles to the covenant of the LORD.
We today as believing Christians can look at any and all disciplines that God has brought into our lives, any of the effects of our sin, and know that we deserved them, and much more. We can look around the world and see suffering, pain, and even exile, and know that sin is the cause. But we Christians also have the sure promise of God that He will honor His covenant promises and complete the redemption He has begun. From beginning to end the plan of redemption is by grace; that we cannot deny. And so from this passage we are instructed not to fear, but to praise; not to remain in sin and indifference, but to respond to the Word of the LORD as faithful servants, and use the hope we have as a means of reaching out to the world.
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The terms and their related verbal forms are basic to this section of the book: qadosh is "holy," and ga’al is "redeem."
It is amazing how so many things in Scripture harmonize in the divine patterns of typology and symbolism. The exodus from Egypt by the blood of the passover lamb established Israel as the redeemed people of God; the sudden and easy deliverance from exile in Babylon corresponds to the exodus, but it is the deliverance of the people from the bondage of the world. The Church uses the first exodus as a picture of salvation; it may use the second as a picture of being rescued from this world at the end of the age.
The Hebrew construction with hinneh ("behold") and the participle announce an imminent action--it is a futur instans use of the participle. That is why I would translate it "I am about to. . . ."
Compare Psalm 126 with the prayer that God would restore the captivity like streams in the desert.
In the Book of Revelation John by his example shows Christians to pray, "Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus."
The idea of "blot" is traditional, although it is not accurate for ancient Israel (they had no blotters) and would not remove the writing on a page anyway. The idea in Hebrew was more of scraping off a palimpsest (of clay or wax) so there was "a clean slate").
In a similar way when Jesus healed the sick or cast out demons, forgiveness of and salvation from sin was usually also granted.
Peter in quoting Psalm 2 in his great Pentecost sermon makes the same point: "Why do the nations rage . . . against the LORD and His Messiah." In the psalm the nations were Gentiles. But since the Jews among others rejected Jesus, to Peter they are now the nations of Psalm 2.
The Arabic idea of the harem is related to this--off limits.
There is an interesting turnabout in Scripture. In this passage when the nations see how faithful God is in His grace they will want what they have. Paul says in Romans that today the Church is supposed to be making Israel jealous. One wonders what we display that would make anyone jealous.