International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending December 26, 2010
Purpose: To affirm the constancy of God's compassion and the certainty of God's help in times of trial, both personal and communal
Scripture Text: Isaiah 43:1-7, 11-12 (NRSV)
(1) But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, 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 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, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. (4) Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. (5) Do not fear, 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 them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away 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.”
Isaiah 43: 11-12
(11) I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. (12) I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, says the LORD.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
The more I study the Book of Isaiah, the more convinced I am that our forefathers had it right when they considered the entire book to have been written by Isaiah, and not additional writers at a later time as modern scholars would have us believe.
Certainly the New Testament writers considered it a book of prophecy written prior to the time of the restoration of Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah has always been considered “The evangelical prophet” since so much is said about the redemptive work of the Messiah. It is quoted in the New Testament writings more than any other book. For me to attribute this book to later writers that actually were living at the time does no justice and is hard to support if you are claiming it as a book of prophecy. I realize that Cyrus and other mentioned rulers are called by name, but to believe that God did not deliver the words to Isaiah and God did not know who would be rulers would be limiting my understanding of the Creator God and the One True God. My contention is the entire book was written by the same author and that no part of it was written at the time of the Babylonian captivity but more than a hundred and forty years prior. The exciting part it was written for us in our generation, as much as it was written for those going through the captivity.
The God that created Jacob and Israel also is responsible for the Messiah, our redeemer. We too are called by name and we are His. We too are guided through difficulties and trials. We too can claim Him as our Savior.
We were instructed by Jesus in Acts 1:8 to “go into all the world, first Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth” to be witnesses of His mighty works. I think that covers East, West, North and South, Jesus uses the same words as Isaiah, when he said “from the end of the earth.”
Verse 7 says it all “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” That is us! Verse 9 and 10 of this chapter are not included in our text, but they cannot be ignored, They say “Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble. Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, “It is true. You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me”. For me it is hard to ignore the declaration of these words, I would paraphrase it as if there are other gods, let's hear and see the testimony. The very Book of Isaiah is testimony of God's awesome power and love, unless, you don't believe it was written prior to the captivity and the events described in it.
Verses 11and 12 say, “We have no Savior outside of God's only begotten. I think God's preeminent grace shines through this verse when he says “I declared and saved and proclaimed.”
What makes you precious to God? How does God knowing your name bring you comfort? Remember, God created you, God redeemed you, and He knows your name.