Isaiah 43:1 – “…He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
In this chapter, the Lord comforts his people. By divine foresight, God perceives that there are great trials a little way ahead and therefore He prepares them for the ordeal. God says “Fear not”. God promises His people He will be with them. The Lord then sets before them what He himself is, what He has done for them, and what they are to Him.
Who is considered Abraham’s seed and qualifies as God’s people? All believers are of the true Israel. Abraham was the father of the faithful. The faithful and the believing are therefore Abraham’s seed, according to the promise. If the seed was according to the flesh, the children of Ishmael would have been the heirs of the covenant. The true seed was born according to promise, and in the power of God; for Isaac was born when his parents were old, by faith in the power of God. Isaac was not the child of flesh, but was born according to promise, so that we who are not born of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, by his Spirit, and according to the divine promise, are the true children of Abraham. It is not right for us who fear God to fear anything else. Once brought to know the Lord, who can harm us; abiding under the Almighty’s shadow, what danger need we dread? Rather, be of good comfort, and press forward with peaceful confidence, though floods and flames await us. God’s promises lift us up in proportion to our faith. If we do not believe the promise, we shall not be established by it; but if, with childlike confidence, e accept every word of God as true, then God’s word shall be to us the joy of our heart, and the delight of our spirit, and we shall be a stranger to fear. We are the spiritual Israel. The literal Israel were those chosen and favored ones who by faith are born again according to promise.
The Lord ‘created’, which means that God made something by His great power. God has a special and unique claim upon us because He is our Creator. When we forget or reject God as Creator, we fail in the most basic obligation we have to God.
The Lord ‘formed’, which means that God carefully put even the smallest thing in its right place.
‘Fear not’ is a command, accompanied by promises. God points us past the present circumstances to both this command and promise.
The Lord ‘redeemed’, which means God made Jacob and Israel as part of his family. ‘Redeem’ is also a Bible word which means to ‘buy back’; it is as if God bought His people back from the authority of evil people or from the devil. But it meant more than ‘buy back’ to Isaiah and to His people. They believed that they had a duty to redeem their family members; they paid to free relatives that were in trouble. A redeemer bought an unfortunate relative out of their slavery and debt. He rescued them and paid the slave price or debt they could not pay. So, when God redeemed people, He was declaring them to be part of his family. When God calls Himself our Redeemer, it looks forward to the price that must be paid for our salvation.
Jacob and Israel are names for God’s people. The Lord ‘called by name’, which means that God knows the name of each of His people. God owns His people twice; He has right of ownership as Creator and Redeemer. His ownership is personal – He calls us by name, His ownership is certain – He seals it by saying ‘You are mine’. In the Hebrew order of words, God says “Mine you are”, which emphasizes God and not His people.
Knowing we belong to the Lord is a wonderful answer to fear. We can know that God holds us, protects, guards, and cares for us. We can know that He would not have created, redeemed, and called us unless He intended to finish His work in us. How can we be afraid when we know this God is for us, is looking out for our interests?