Written by Paul J. Bucknell on September, 22, 2021
Isaiah 43:1-3 How the God of the Impossible Provides Security
By putting our trust in God, we find absolute, peace-giving security that nothing can chase away.
1 But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, 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 will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior ” (Isaiah 43:1-3, NASB).
Many Christians, if not most, live victim to a blind understanding of God. They believe God only deals in the world of spiritual matters like guilt, forgiveness, and heaven, and entirely forget God made the earth and everything in it. Our misunderstanding is so great that we feel threatened when troubles come our way—as if He doesn’t know about us or is unable to assist us.
I’m afraid we face a tumultuous world; certain individuals confidently lead us into what they call the Great Reset. True, history has not been kind. If I could choose the best scenario to send my son into the world, would I have chosen a violent time when the Romans occupied Jerusalem? Would I have him birthed in Bethlehem next to the unstable Middle-Eastern city of Jerusalem? I think not.
Do Not Fear
God’s point for us in these three verses is: “Do not fear!” (Isaiah 43:1) The verses themselves provide solid reasons why we need not fear.
God states this command, “Do not fear” here and elsewhere in the Bible over fifty times, precisely because we fear many things. We are vulnerable, weak, ignorant, and very limited. We like to think more highly of ourselves, but the facts are indisputable—despite our advances in technology. People fight, quibble, worry, and fret. Our times are not significantly different from Jesus’ or Abraham’s. Unknown upsets, financial insecurity, and life’s common ills strike hard at us.
The Lord’s words here in Isaiah 43:1, however, encourage us not to fear. He shares why we, as His people, never need to fear. No worry, no threat of death, no panicky situation, trial or tribulation need to change our resolve to trust His perfect watch over our lives. God provides all the security we need. When people take their eyes off the Lord, they become alarmed, forgetting that He is their security.
Unknown and underlying concerns produce ongoing waves of subtle anxiety, gnawing at us. At other times, these fears make themselves known by extreme worrisome fears, plaguing our minds and thoughts.
The Lord tells us not to fear because we, even God’s people, are susceptible to Satan’s attacks that get us to doubt and worry.
Change is Here
Life is constantly changing, some of it unwanted, but it’s not just life that changes. We are part of a more significant change initiated by God, engulfing all other changes.
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth…” (Isaiah 65:17).
When the Lord mentions that He is creating a new heavens and a earth, it establishes the present heaven and earth on a path of decay, just as He did when He instated a new covenant,
“When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear” (Heb 8:13).
John adamantly states, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).
Instead of trying to preserve a tame world around us, getting alarmed with each upset, it behooves us to know God’s excellent promises and marvelous ways more deeply. This is what He states in Isaiah 43:1-3, “Get to know me.” The advice sounds so counter to our secular world, which tells us to believe in ourselves—as if that will help!
Verses Isaiah 43:1-3 present themselves to us as a good, healthy plump sandwich. The upper and lower pieces of bread (verses 1 and 3) describe God and His relationship to us, His people. The middle layer (verse 2) represents God’s luscious promises. This bundle will strip away all the fears from our lives.
Most of us live in and out of fears and worries, depending upon our circumstances. This is worldly living—living as if God is not present. Jesus admonished us not to worry, even as He did not worry when going to the cross.
However, this does not mean that we will not face difficult and troubling situations, as His Son Jesus did. He does not promise the absence of trouble but peace to face them. This is our security—the Lord. Though He has set this world in turmoil, He has also promised to be with us.
I want to assure you that wealth, comfort, a college education, a good job, or even friends will not do the job. As I said, these things will test us shortly. I don’t mind being wrong, but when the richest say our society is going for the Great Reset, and we see all these worldwide events to confirm its beginning in our lifetime, we had better learn not to trust in these things but God Himself.
As God said, toward the end of time, the world will go through very tumultuous times. Like the birth of a child, the birth pangs of the new heaven and earth will be great—just as a quick reading of the Book of Revelation will show you.
As we look through these three points, remember the Lords’s overall point—when we put our confidence in Him, we need not fear because He cares for us.
1. God our Creator formed us (Isaiah 43:1)
- He knows our design and limits
“But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel…” (Isaiah 43:1).
The “but now” phrase calls us to understand God’s care and to put aside our dependence on things around us. The word ‘repent’ describes this new mindset where we had not rightly trusted God and now turn to Him. But what is the correct mindset (Rom 12:2)?
God first introduces Himself as the all-powerful Creator. Jacob is the raw material, so to speak, of God’s redemptive work, changing him into Israel, head of God’s people, also known as Israel. Note how the Lord uses His Name, Yahweh or Jehovah (i.e., all capitals LORD). This is where the Sovereign Creator God gets personally involved in individual lives.
But more than knowing our names, God also knows our very framework; He formed us. He knows our weaknesses. Observing His commitment towards us fosters confidence that He has a larger, good purpose for us. Otherwise, He would burn us up in His mighty wrath.
When God knows our very beings, it means that He will be all those things that we lack. He is our strength, protection, wisdom, etc. We see this in Isaiah 33.
2 O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their strength every morning, Our salvation also in the time of distress… 6 And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure” (Isaiah 33:2,6).
God is the stability of our times; He is all we need. As the great sovereign Creator, the Lord has all things at His disposal to aid us in our times of need.
2. God our Savior redeemed us (Isaiah 43:1,3)
- He will do everything needed.
3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
God is not only our intimate Creator positioned with all power and wisdom but also our Redeemer and Savior. Without His work of salvation—even if God the Creator could help us, He would still need to judge us for our many sins. But it’s here, speaking about being redeemed, that we find hope and the precise place He becomes our Savior.
All of this does not become clear until we look at the suffering Messiah, God’s Son Jesus, sent into the world to die for our sins (cf. Isaiah 53). Before that time, redemption only had a very limited economic meaning, but now it has become an endearing term because Jesus died in our place. The Son of God suffered for us so that we could become His children (John 1:12). It’s all rather amazing!
Redemption means to buy back. In this case, Jesus died, using His blood to form the New Covenant. By His death, we find forgiveness and freedom in Christ and become His children. So the Lord can mention His holiness here, knowing what He would do about six hundred years later in sending His only Son and completely satisfying His holiness.
“I have called you by name” shows the intimacy between God and man. God went out of His way—an extreme understatement—to make us His own.
The Lord doesn’t use “Father” here but Redeemer. Isaiah otherwise uses the term Father to describe God (Isaiah 9:6, 63:16, 64:8) but here stresses how God establishes that eternal relationship with us. “You are mine!” Redemption sounds like a cold term, but it aptly describes the way God freed His people to belong to Him. Similar to adoption, which carries implications of one’s past, it positively means someone wants you. Oh, how wonderful to belong to God!
All of these terms describing God and His commitment to God’s people assure us that God cares for us. If the all-powerful, eternal mighty God cares for us, then surely it means we need not fear whatever we face.
“According to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
1 Peter 1, verses 6 and 7, state “even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.” Doesn’t this aptly describe our situation on earth? These various trials are life’s training grounds to help us avoid trusting our earthly resources, so that we could better trust Him, becoming delighted in the way He delivers us.
3. God Our Lord comforts us (Isaiah 43:2)
- He communicates His care.
“2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.”
This third point is rightly sandwiched between the descriptions of God as Creator and Savior (1,3).
Trials are temptations attempting to short-circuit our trust in God. Do you know what I mean? All is fine between God and us—until troubles come. They rarely are as bad as in Isaiah 43:2, but they similarly become times that reveal our lack of trust in God.
I think this is the reason the Lord mentions two extreme trials. The first trial speaks of overwhelming floods, while the other the danger of hot fire. Nothing seems so out-of-control as floods and fires, but notice how the all-powerful One speaks about them. “I will be with you”—the same as Jesus said at the Great Commission before ascending (Mat 28:20).
God has not changed, with or without floods and fires. Nor does He say that He will take the floods or fires away, though, one can imagine their threats will dissipate at some point. Instead, He promises us to be with us. This is the all-mighty Creator God stepping into our daily lives with His help. We don’t need God in just the spiritual realm; we need Him here and now.
I understand how we desperately want to be kept from testing times, but from a larger vantage point, these very situations escort us into a deeper trust in the Lord, if indeed we can step beyond our fears.
We do not test God by crying out to Him; this is what He wants. We do not usually bring these circumstances into our lives (as the devil tempted Jesus); they thrust themselves into our lives without asking our permission. (Although sometimes it is our sin that brings problems into our lives.) God desires for us to cry out to Him so that He can unveil His glorious wisdom, love, and power.
Again, we see that He does not promise to take away the fire or keep us from facing vicious flames, but “you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.”
Why do we lose peace and become anxious and fearful? The solution is not through our feeble efforts to create a world without upsets, nor is it by imagining a God who is all-powerful and caring—He is always great. We try to settle ourselves into a secure nest, protected from the troubles of the world. When our nest tips over, we become alarmed.
Just think of your last domestic argument or financial difficulty. Did you get all flustered, lose your balance—so to speak—and start worrying? People are in pursuit of peace.
No matter how much we dislike it, our generation has been hurled into an era of tough times, a most undesirable age, and perhaps nearing the very end time with catastrophic events occurring. If some of us were honest, we might cry out, “I don’t want to go there!”
As a father and grandfather, I would want to usher my family into an age of peace but this stretches beyond my capabilities. When something upsets the equilibrium of our life, we get flustered and unsettled.
By learning to live constantly in God’s presence, we begin to experience what seems like an other-worldly but genuine peace. This affirms that we are fine even though we face disastrous circumstances, for the Lord, our Creator and Savior, is with us.
Discussion Questions on Security
- Define the two words security and peace.
- Why does God tell His people, “Do not fear!” (43:1)
- Why does the author describe Isaiah 43:1-3 as a sandwich?
- What aspect about God stands out most in verse 1?
- What characteristic stands out most in verse 3 about God?
- What are the implications that God is our Creator?
- How is God our Savior? How did God save us?
- Describe one of your most difficult challenges.
- Did you trust God during that time?
- When do you doubt and fear the most?
- Pray and seek God for a deeper relationship with Him so that you can better experience and share His amazing peace.
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