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Janet's Corner

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Our Redeemer

Lesson 9 - Our Redeemer, Isaiah 44

 

According to God’s word in Isaiah 55, God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours. When I think of our God doing a new work, a work of redemption, literally giving His Son as a ransom for lost sinners – the truth of Isaiah 55 is driven home. And I ask the question that is echoed throughout these chapters in Isaiah – who is like God?

 

What does God do with our sin? If we live under the law, he punishes sin. If we live under grace, God forgives sin.

 

I want to us look at this new work of redemption through the “but nows” of Isaiah 43 and 44 – so we see the truth of God’s heart toward sinners.

The end of chapter 42 relates the truth of God’s anger released toward His disobedient children. Isaiah 42:24-25

 

“Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law.  So he poured out on them his burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.”

 

Then Isaiah 43 opens with these words...

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob,
 he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

 

What a contrast! He’s showing Him His heart of love and mercy for them.

He presents this truth in the same way between chapter 43 and 44.

Isaiah 43: 27-28:

 “Your first father sinned; your spokesmen rebelled against me.  So I will disgrace the dignitaries of your temple, and I will consign Jacob to destruction and Israel to scorn.”

 

Then Isaiah 44:1-3

"But now listen, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.

This is what the LORD says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”

Not only does he remind them why he loves them (made and formed them), He promises to pour out His Spirit on the people, so they would be empowered to be the blessing he intended them to be. The Spirit would be a “new thing.” But first He has another  “new thing” to do for them – a new work of redemption. He gives Israel and thus us, hope or a redeemer.

 

Isaiah 44:6-7a:

"This is what the LORD says—  Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let

him proclaim it.”

 

Why was this name “Redeemer” something they could understand. We redeem our coupons – the coupon gives us money off the cost of an item. That’s not quite the understanding the Israelites had of a redeemer.

 

Redeemer literally is a kinsman redeemer. In God’s law, He set up this system to protect the individual families – a kinsman redeemer -  a family protector - an extended relative who would help or free a family member. He could pay off a family debt freeing them from slavery or buy back land that had been sold by  a needy family. He would purchase their land and liberty! In the book of Ruth, we see this portrayed clearly, as Ruth is led to the fields of Boaz when she and Naomi return from a foreign country. Boaz would be their kinsman redeemer, which awakens hope for Naomi. He would be their family protector – paying the price for their land and liberty.

 

And now, the Lord is saying to his people who are in exile because of their sin – I am you kinsman redeemer. I will pay the ransom for your freedom from the slavery of sin. Isaiah 44:6,  “I am your King and Redeemer.”

As we continue in Isaiah 44:9-20, God again contrasts himself who made and formed man with the idols that men have fashioned or formed with their own hand. There is no contest here! Verse 9 says the one who makes the idol is nothing and then in verse 10, it is stated that the idol itself will profit them nothing. Whether it is the blacksmith or carpenter that makes the idol, they bow down and worship it, praying,  “Save me; you are my god.” (verse17). The idol knows nothing and understands nothing and the same is true about the idol maker! (verses 18-19). The idols will not save them, but God will!

When we look at God and his new way as our savior, we need to look at his ways, not man’s. Verses 21-23 show us God’s way…his work of redemption.

 

1. Remember - verse 21

"Remember these things, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel.
  I have made you, you are my servant; O Israel, I will not forget you.” 

Remember not only that I made you and you are my servant, but that I will not forget you! I have plans for you – not to harm you, but to give you a future and a hope! Just as a kinsman redeemer would do for his family member.

 

2. Return to me – verse 22. God would not leave them to their own way…but call us to return to Him..

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.
 Return to me, for I have redeemed you."

 

You can return to your God and be free from your sin, because God has paid the price for you. “Return” means a change in direction from where sin has led you and a turning to God. The other word which is often used is “repent.” God calls us to turn away from sin – why? Because He is holy and desires us to be holy. And it can happen because He has redeemed us! He’s taken care of the penalty of sin. Look at his description of what he does with our sin – “He swept away your offenses like a cloud.” Clouds come between heaven and earth, just as sin comes between God and His people. He sweeps away our sin. It is not any harder to sweep away our sin!

 

In 43:25, it gives this analogy of what God does with our sin...  “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

 

He blots out sin…have you ever tried to blot out a stain and it doesn’t work – God has no trouble with blotting out our sin. God is eager to forgive your sin and has no trouble removing the stain of sin on your life. Isaiah began in chapter 1 by saying, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow:”

 

 He doesn’t forget you, but He does forget your sin. We seem to remember it even after we confess it, but God does not! In God’s eyes our sin is as far as the east is from the west!

 

As the Israelites receive this message of hope as they await their return from exile, God intends to give hope in something far greater than just the return of the Israelites to Jerusalem. He is giving His people hope in a redeemer – His Son – who has paid the ransom for their deliverance from sin and guilt. The price God has paid is the sacrifice of His own Son on Calvary’s cross. He makes the way for those who return, repenting of their sin, to be set free through the blood of His Son, Jesus.

 

Romans 3:21-24 gives us the “but now” of the New Testament.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

In the fullness of time, a Messiah , Jesus, was born to redeem His people, bringing us salvation – setting us free from our sin. Look at the way it was done – through Jesus and by God’s grace! Not by us, our own hands or our own will or our will, but by God’s grace. We don’t pay a thing or do a thing. We enter into this redemption – this new thing – through faith – by believing in the work of Jesus. “If we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We are made righteous apart from the law  through the work of Christ, not our own.

 

3. Rejoice – verse 23 What is our response to this new work in our lives and in others? Rejoice!

“Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.”

 

Have you returned, so that you can rejoice? In these verses the Lord calls the earth, the mountains, and the forests to shout aloud. Why? Because God has redeemed His people.  His plan is to display his glory through his people and the only hope we have is to know the REDEEMER!

 

What side of the “but now” are you on? His wrath or His grace?

Sin has a cost, but the debt has been paid! The life of God’s Son is given as a ransom – to pay the price for our sin. Alleluia!

 

In Isaiah 43:12, God says he has revealed, saved and proclaimed who He is! He is your Kinsman Redeemer! He’s paid your debt.

 

Are you rejoicing?