“But now” signals hope can be found in the Lord (43:1). Judah will face difficult times when they return from exile, but the Lord’s shepherding presence ensures they can meet any test (43:2). He is “Yahweh your God,” eternal and eminently supreme. He is the “Holy One of Israel,” sacred in perfect purity. He is “your Savior,” saving and continuing to save (43:3). He acts because He loves His people (43:4). Looking far forward, He will gather people who trust in Him from wherever they reside, including people other than exiles in Babylon (43:5-6). People of faith will live for Him and before Him in character determined by His character (43:7).
Many in Judah and in the nations, however, remain caught up in idolatry (43:8-9). God desires that people may “know, believe, and understand” that He alone is the Lord God (43:10). He alone is Savior (43:11). He alone has promised salvation and delivered on that promise. He holds Israel responsible to be witnesses for what He did and what He does (43:12-13).
Coming exile in Babylon is explicitly mentioned in verse 14. Yahweh is the Holy Redeemer of Israel and will act in that capacity. He created Israel (43:15) and is the same God who led them out of Egypt (43:16) into the Promised Land (43:17). What He did for Israel in the past is mere prologue for what He will do in the future (43:18-19). Even the wilderness will acknowledge the wondrous miracle of God’s deliverance (43:20). So should Israel (43:21).
These promises will belong to Israel when she turns to the Lord in faith. Yet her history is offering sin to the Lord. Even now Israel complains of weariness of His efforts (43:22). Practices of worship He placed on them were not burdens, but they begrudge Him even the little that He did require (43:23). If anyone is weary, it is God (43:24).
In each message God includes a willingness to pardon sin. If He chooses to not “remember” their sins, they could at least “remember” Him. He is willing to listen (43:25-26). Verse 27 can refer to Adam, Abraham, or Jacob. “Thus from first founder through all subsequent leaders and up to the contemporary generation the story is the same.” Israel of the Northern Kingdom was condemned because they disregarded the holiness of God and made worship offensive to Him (43:28). Judah must take heed.
Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org