In today’s lesson, God promises a multitude of children to Israel through faith.
Lessons from the text
Here God says that he knows the name of someone in the womb. In Jeremiah 1:5, God ordained (or consecrates) someone to be a preacher before he is born. Just from these verses alone we can see that from a Biblical perspective a baby is a living soul before birth. To willingly have an abortion, then, is to end the life of a living soul.
God Sees You
Sometimes, we feel that God has abandoned us. This chapter paints the clear picture that once you have been adopted as a child of God, He will never forget about you. Sometimes, it may feel that He has left you, but you are always before Him. God, in His wisdom, knows that sometimes He has to be silent towards us, but that does not mean that He has forgotten us or no longer hears us. He knows exactly what we are experiencing. That is why it is very important to remember that no matter how alone or isolated you feel, God sees you.
As Many Stars as Are in Heaven
In Genesis 15:5, God promises Abraham that his seed will be as plenteous as the stars in heaven. In Romans 4:16, Paul explains that this promise is fulfilled not merely through the many physical children of Abraham (the entire Jewish nation) but by all those who repeat Abraham’s faith. Because Abraham believed God, it was counted unto him for righteousness (Gen 15:6). He was the first human to whom God imputed righteousness because of his faith. That is how Abraham is the father of all Christians, for he is the father of being justified by faith in God. This explains how the Gentiles are the seed of Abraham and the offspring of Israel mentioned in this chapter.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-3 From the moment that it was formed, the nation of Israel has been in God’s care. God knows a child’s name before birth; He knows what that child will go on to do. He creates a person with a specific gift geared towards the task which God has called one to do. For example, God gifted Samuel with physical strength so he could deliver Israel. Today, he will gift people with music so that they may be a song leader or play for the Lord.
Spiritually speaking, God gave the nation of Israel a gift of speech so that it can house the word of God. They are to be a weapon for His glory. That is, God’s word is a weapon to polish the believer and to strike the wicked. See Revelation 1:16, 19:15.
4 Despite God’s gifts and efforts, the nation of Israel has not performed the task wherefore it was created. It could have been a great beacon of light, teaching the world about the Laws and the character of God; instead, they fell into idolatry. God gives man gifts but does not force man to use them. One must be careful to find God’s calling in one’s life so that one may reach the full potential in this life and use the gifts God has given.
5 Even though Israel has failed to follow God’s plan, God will still be glorified. God is able to take one’s sins and rearrange His plans so that in the end His will is performed. For example, Jesus, in response to a rebuke from the religious leaders of the time, says that if the people did not cry out His praises, then the rocks would (Lk 19:40). If all of humanity fails to perform God’s will, then creation itself will take man’s place and perform God’s will.
6 Since Israel has failed God, He will send someone as a servant to restore those who remain of the nation. This is a promise of Christ. While the Jews of Jesus' day expected an earthly king to deliver them from the Romans, this prophecy shows that Christ would come to serve and not rule. He is the light to the Gentiles, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth.
7 Noteworthy is that two are speaking this verse: the Lord and His Holy One. Both the Father and the Son will be glorified for their roles in salvation: the Father for His faithfulness to Israel to send a redeemer and the Son for choosing to redeems mankind. Even though Israel would reject and abhor the Son of God, crucifying Him, Christ would still be worshipped by kings and princes through the Gentiles.
8 God hears the prayers of His saints. Although it may not be immediately, He will send an answer. God responds according to the “acceptable time.” In other words, in the time that it is acceptable for God to save, He will save. God, being all knowing, is able to perceive what instant is the best time to answer a prayer. That is how “they shall not be ashamed that wait” on the Lord (v23); if one waits for God’s timing, He will always answer one at the opportune time.
9-10 God redeems people not just to free them but also so that those people can call others out of darkness. Jesus says the saints are the “light of the world” (Mt 5:14). With Jesus, the Light, living inside of one through the Holy Spirit, the born-again believer, by showing oneself, reveals salvation to those imprisoned by sin. If one does not hide this Light, then one will be lead to good pastures and always be fed along one’s journey. Compare with Psalm 23.
11 Through the redemption of His people, God’s ways are exalted. Jesus compares life to traveling on a highway. One may take the broad way to destruction (hell) or the straight and narrow way to life (heaven) (Mt 7:13-14). The Lord’s highway, of course, is the one that leads to life. This represents the choices and lifestyle a person accepts as well as calling attention to the destination, everlasting life in heaven.
12 When God opens His highway, people from all over the world will walk therein. Since the highway is salvation, this refers to the Gospel being accepted by the Gentiles. Noteworthy is that salvation is not just a transforming moment; it is a journey.
13-16 In response to salvation, all should be rejoicing. However, the Jews are blind to God’s work; they feel abandoned. God has in no way abandoned Israel. His children, He will never forget them. Even though they have forgotten God to the point that they can no longer recognize His salvation, He will not leave them. He has placed them continually in His sight.
17 Part of the promise of redemption is the promise that those who destroy are removed. This will be ultimately fulfilled when death, hell, and the earth give up all of the wicked to be caste into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15).
18 Israel is blind to the work of God happening around it. The Gentiles are bing called to God and gathered to Israel through the spirit of adoption (Rom 8:14-17). Jesus came in human form as a Jew. The Jews were the original children of God, giving that relationship through the covenant of the Law. Yet through faith in Christ, all may now be adopted as God’s children. The Gentiles, which just refers to any non-Jewish person, have been placed under a covenant relationship with God, thus being added to the Jewish fold. The Gentiles are the ornaments, the crown jewels as it were, that get to join the Jews in salvation.
19 God promises that there will be so many Gentiles grafted into the Jewish nation that the land will be too small to contain everyone.
20-21 A rebellious child makes the parent wonder where the child derives the rebellious behavior. Jesus answers this by saying that those who choose wickedness have satan as their father; that is, satan is the originator of the evil thoughts and intents of the wicked (Jn 8:44). Likewise, a godly child coming from a bereft, isolated home is equally wondrous. In these verses, the Jews are so blinded by their feeling of abandonment that they do not understand how they possibly could have gained so many followers of God.
22-23 The Gentiles are coming to serve in Jerusalem, honoring God and the Jews. As a born-again believer, one acknowledges that Jews are the Chosen People; the Jews are a special people to God and thus deserve honor and respect.
24-26 God concludes His promise of redemption by decreeing that He will liberate all the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor. While it may be impossible for a man to stop injustices and cruelty, God can and will do so.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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