Summary: God calls wayward people to remember who He is & what He has done for them & then to repent & return to Him. He proclaimed He would deliver them from their captivity. For He is a God that can proclaim the future before it occurs.
ISAIAH 44: 21-28
REMEMBER YOUR REDEEMER
[Ezra 1:1:2-4; 6:3-5]
God forgives and redeems His wayward people. God calls His people to take His truths to heart. Those who are form into God’s servant by His truth find grace to help in their time of need. He calls them therefore to remember who He is and what He has done for them and then to repent and return to Him. The authenticity of their repentance and return would be seen in their praising of their Redeemer.
God proclaimed He would deliver them from their captivity. In time God would raise up Cyrus and bring Persia into prominence. Cyrus would conquer Babylon and allow exiled Israel to return home to rebuild the foundation of the destroyed temple. Cyrus would see to it that Jerusalem could again be built. Israel could trust it would happen. For He is a God that can proclaim the future before it occurs.
I. REMEMBER AND REJOICE, 21-23.
II. YOUR REDEEMER AND REBUILDER, 24-28.
People of the world shape their God but verse 21 says that God shapes His people. “Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.
The recollection of what God has done ought to motivate His people to obedient living. Life is to be lived on the basis of reflection upon the character of God as revealed in His treatment of not only you but also His people, both of old and present.
Because of Israel’s special relationship with God, He didn’t just shape them, but He shaped them for the special purpose of service.
Jerusalem and her temple were going to be completely destroyed and Israel was going into an extended period of captivity, but that did not mean God was finished with them or that He had forgotten them. Israel would go into a harsh and cruel exile but they were still His special servant and would not be forgotten.
God’s people are God’s servant formed by His grace in His service. We may rebel but it does not change who we are. We will never be forgotten by Him and may still turn to God at any time and allow Him again to form us in His service .
Verse 22 gives wondrous evidence of His grace toward them. “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
Israel felt forgotten. They were depressed under the load of their sins and the gloom their sins brought upon them. Their deserved suffering though should cause them to repent. Deliverance from exile was not their greatest need. The real cause of their exile was sin and their sin problem was their greatest need. Their sin must be forgiven and corrected.
YAHWEH announces that He had forgotten their sins. Removed them from before Him as the wind sweeps a cloud from the sky. His people are then called to return to Him (Jer. 31:18) and given reason why they should. So long as Israel stays in their hopeless and desperate spiritual condition His glorious provision of redemption, of and from sin, and from captivity, will be in vain. The great danger of the exile is not that God could not deliver them but that they would fail to respond to His deliverance.
Carefully observe the comparison made here: our sins are like a cloud. As clouds are of many shapes and shades, so are our transgressions. Clouds obscure the light of the sun and darken the landscape below. Similarly, our sins hide from us the light of Yahweh’s face and cause us to sit in the gloom of their consequences. Our sins, like clouds, are earthborn things and rise from the miry places of our nature. When collected so that their measure is full, they threaten us with storm and tempest. Unlike clouds, our sin yields us no refreshing showers, but rather threatens to deluge us with a fiery flood of destruction. How can there be fair weather in our soul while the black clouds of sin remain? Now consider the act of divine mercy-blotting out. God Himself appears on the scene, and instead of manifesting His anger, He reveals His grace. He forever removes the evil, not by blowing away the cloud but by wiping it out of existence. The great transaction of the cross has eternally removed man’s transgressions from him.
Hear and obey the gracious command, “Return unto Me.” Why should pardoned sinners live distant from God? If we have been forgiven of all our sins, let no fear keep us from again abiding in His Word and finding bold access to His presence. Let backslidings be mourned, but let us not continue in them. Let us in the power of the Holy Spirit strive mightily to return to the closest of fellowship with the Lord. [Adapted from Spurgeon, Morning and Evening.]