In today’s Scriptures, God demonstrates grace to His people.
Isaiah Chapter 43
Lessons from the text
Israel and Salvation
God has a special covenant with the Jews. He promised grace to Jacob, and to uphold that promise He has never forsaken them. Even in judgment, He has always left a remnant to return to grow once again as a nation. Why has He done this?
The Jews serve as a living example of salvation.
God works in patterns. Everything that will be has already been, and what is happening now will happen again (Ecc 1:9). The mission and character of Christ can be found in snippets throughout Old Testament characters. An image of the Rapture can be found in Enoch’s translation. The new earth will be a return to the original design of fellowship and life found in the garden of Eden.
The Jews, then, are a living example of God’s grace. Because Jacob showed faith in God, God accepted Him into His presence, saying that He had power with God (Gen 32:28). From that moment on, God has never left Jacob nor his decendents.
When they sinned, God sent prophets and judges to correct them. Whatever judgment they endured was meant to get their attention to put them back on the right path. The book of Judges opens with a wonderful summary of this cycle: the people would serve God, then become complacent, serve other gods, loose God’s favor and become vulnerable to enemies, repent and cry out to God, be delivered by a judge, and then repeat the whole thing (Jd 2:10-19). God did not wipe them from the face of the earth for their disobedience as He has done to other nations like Babylon. Instead, He continued to deal with them, rebuking rather than destroying them.
When we accept Jesus, we have passed from judgment to grace. Instead of being condemned for our sins, we have received forgiveness and have a new relationship to our Father. He no longer casts us away from Him because of our transgressions but through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit convicts us and tries to get us back on the path of righteousness. The nonbeliever has God on the outside knocking to come in, but the believer has God on the inside speaking and directing us.
So, too, the Jews had the physical presence of God in the Holy Temple and the prophets speaking out through the Holy Ghost. They are an example of the relationship we have with God once we are saved not only in how God deals with us but also in the nature of the believer by the internal presence of God.