The Sovereignty of God
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to Isaiah, chapter 43. We are going to read the paragraph which begins with verse 8:

Isaiah 43

8Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
9Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.
10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
11I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
12I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.
13Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?
14Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.
15I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
16Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
17Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.
18Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
19Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
22But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.
23Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.
24Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.
25I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
26Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.
27Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.
28Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

Isaiah 44

1Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:
2Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
3For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
4And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
5One shall say, I am the LORD's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
6Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
7And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
8Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

You may have wondered why I read the portion of one chapter and on into another chapter. You will recall that I have pointed out to you that the chapter divisions of our Bible do not always fall in as happy a place as they might, and sometimes the subject matter is divided by chapter divisions when it would be better to go on and include it all together.

Israel a Witness to the Sovereignty of God

If you were reading with alertness as you read the Scripture, you probably noticed the word witness at the very beginning of this paragraph and again at the close of it. Notice verse 10, of chapter 43:

Isaiah 43

10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD…

Then glance over at chapter 44, verse 8:

Isaiah 44

8Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses…

This entire paragraph begins and ends with a reference to the fact that the nation of Israel is a witness to the sovereignty of God. In order to get the feel of the passage of Scripture and thoroughly understand it, I would like for you to get the setting of it. The setting is presented to us in chapter 43, verse 9:

Isaiah 43

9Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled…

This is not the first time that this phrase is used in the book of Isaiah. When we noticed it the first time, we painted a picture for you of a courtroom in which great crowds of nations were gathered and one nation after another was brought to the witness stand. They were asked to give a testimony concerning their individual national gods. As they gave a testimony concerning their individual national gods, the testimony was accepted or rejected on the basis of its authenticity.

Then, at last, Israel came before the nations of the world and was to give the testimony that would vindicate God in all of His goodness and all of His mercy. Isaiah, probably liking that scene, paints the picture again as is indicated in verse 9, when all the nations of the world are assembled for the purpose of hearing the witness which Israel would give concerning the sovereignty of God.

Israel herself is called to the witness stand. Look at verse 8:

Isaiah 43

8Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.

You may be wondering why we would say that verse would refer to the nation of Israel, but we glance back to verse 19 of the previous chapter, which we have already studied, and we read there:

Isaiah 42

19Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD's servant?

In this particular portion of the Word of God, the LORD's servant was none other than the nation of Israel. She is called blind because having eyes, she could not see; she is called deaf because having ears, she could not hear what God was going to say to His people. As deaf as she was, God was going to use her for a witness as is indicated in verse 10:

Isaiah 43

10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen…

After the testimony is given by Israel, then the nations of the world would have to answer some very serious questions. Those questions are indicated in verse 9:

Isaiah 43

9Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled. Who among them [who among the nations] can declare this?…

The word this in the English text might seem to you unrelated, and it might seem to be just a general term, but if you were reading this in the original text, you would discover the word this refers back to the first seven verses of chapter 43, at which we looked in our last lesson. God is saying, “What god of the nations can do for its nation what I have done for Israel?”

We pointed out to you from verse 1 of chapter 43 that God truly wrought a miracle when He brought the nation of Israel into existence. He said, in chapter 43, verse 1:

Isaiah 43

1But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

When we looked at the original meaning of those words, we discovered that truly a miracle was wrought when the nation of Israel was brought into being, as was true of no other nation in the world. He is saying to the nations, speaking for their Gods, “Who of you can say that your god can do what I have done for Israel?”

Then, you will notice in verse 9 another question had to be answered, and that was the question:

Isaiah 43

9…and who can shew us former things [who can talk to us about the future] ? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

We hesitate to use colloquialisms in connection with the sacred Scripture, and yet sometimes they do express more than mere words will express, and I say with due reverence that God says to the nations of the world who bow down at the altars of heathen idols, “Put up or shut up. Either prove that you can do what I can do or else forever be silent, because I am the only One who can do what has been described to this point. Who can do the former things? Who can bring to our attention all of these particular things?”

Look at verse 10. When God addresses the nation of Israel and He tells them that they are to be His witnesses, you will notice several things that He says about their witness. I would have you notice them because it seems to me that they are very important for any witness, regardless of what age he may dwell in and who the witness may be. In verse 10, we read:

Isaiah 43

10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen…

God said to Israel, “I have chosen you as a witness.” Again, it is emphasized to us the purpose of Israel being a chosen race. The Scripture speaks of Israel as God's chosen people. If we don't know our Bibles, we are inclined to think that God favors them in a special way, as though He thinks more of them than He does any other people in the world, but that isn't true. He says, “I have chosen you for a special purpose. You shall be my witnesses.”

Because He has chosen the nation of Israel to be His witness, He has protected them in an unusual way. The nation of Israel has continued down through all the ages, in spite of all the attempts to obliterate her. In spite of all the attempts to assimilate her, you find the nation of Israel scattered throughout the world. God has preserved her because, He said, “I have chosen you to be My witness.”

We have emphasized it before, and we repeat it today, that one of the greatest testimonies to the authenticity of the Bible is found in a three letter word. That three letter word is Jew . That is one of the proofs of the Word of God.

Israel Must Know God Through Experience

In verse 10 He says again, “I have chosen you to be a witness, but first it is necessary…”:

Isaiah 43

10…that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

He is saying, “It is necessary before you witness to know and to believe and to understand Me.” This word know is a very interesting word. It comes from the Hebrew word yada , and it speaks of being taught through much trial and tribulation. It speaks of being taught by experience. It is not what you learn out of books; it is what you learn by experience that is involved in this particular word know . The nation of Israel is designated as a witness for God, and God said, “You will be My witness only when you know Me from the standpoint of experience.”

Do you realize the importance of that, whether you be a member of the nation of Israel or a Christian? You must know the Lord before you attempt to witness; not just knowing Him because you have read something in the Bible about Him, but because of your experience with Him. That is the most convincing testimony that possibly can be given.

Look at verse 10 again, and notice:

Isaiah 43

10…that ye may know and believe me…

Israel Must Believe God

This word believe is a very interesting word. It comes from the Hebrew word aman , and it involves the idea of sitting on what you believe. It involves the idea of a little child climbing up into the arms of a father and resting its head on his bosom because he knows that no matter what the danger is elsewhere, the arms of the father are a place of perfect safety. You don't rest on someone in whom you have no confidence.

Do you realize that there are multitudes of people who say that they know God? There are multitudes of people who say that they are trusting God, but they are as restless as can be. They know nothing about real confidence, and they know nothing about real rest, and they do not have a real testimony. It is one thing for us to say that we trust the Lord and another to give a testimony by our actions that we do. It is another thing to say we trust the Lord and then indicate by everything we do, regardless of what we say, that really we are not trusting. A real witness is going to know from experience and a real witness is going to be perfectly at rest in the thing which he proclaims and in the person in whom he believes.

Israel Must Understand God

Look at the word understand in verse 10, for this is the third thing: “You must know Me. You must believe Me, and you must understand.” This word understand is the Hebrew word biyn , which means “to seperate,” “to distinguish,” “to discern.” Oh, how interesting it is to recognize the difference in the activities of God in relation to His children. There are some individuals who recognize everything that God does only as one great blanket of truth and they are not able to distinguish and they are not able to make a difference. Consequently, they quite often go through life misunderstanding God. They quite often go through life embittered against God and they, if they dared, would forsake their faith in Him, but God said, “Before you can be a real witness for Me, you are going to have to know Me. You are going to have to believe Me, and you are going to have to understand Me.” May I suggest to you that our witness, even in this age of grace, is either hindered or advanced by our understanding of God with its roots in our faith.

Israel to Witness to the World That God is Self-existent

Recognizing all of these things as being the requirements for witness, He tells them what kind of a witness He wants them to give. Look at the last part of verse 10. The first thing that He says is, “I want you to testify to the whole world that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I want you to give a witness to the world that I am the self-existent God.”

I Am is the name that God has chosen for Himself. You will recall that when Moses went down to Egypt and he said to God, “When I tell the people that You have sent me to deliver them, whom shall I say has sent me?” God said, “You tell them I Am has sent you.” I Am is the translation of one Hebrew word which describes self-existence on the part of God. He has always been. Nobody knows when He began, and He will never end. “Before Him there was none, and there will be none after Him.”

Glance at verse 13, where He emphasizes the same testimony:

Isaiah 43

13Yea, before the day was I am he…

The word for day in this verse is a word that could be translated beginning . “Before the beginning was I am, and there is none who can deliver out of my hand.” You might ask yourself the question, “Where did God come from?” The answer is found right here: “God has always been. There is none like Him.”

There is No Deliverer Besides God

Look at verse 11. It is another testimony that He wanted them to give:

Isaiah 43

11I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

There is no deliverer beside God, and He alone can deliver. Others have attempted to deliver, and deliverances have lasted for a time, but God's deliverance is permanent. Notice verse 13 again, where this is re-emphasized:

Isaiah 43

13Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

Notice the phrase, “there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” If we were to look at this in the original text, we would find it more forceful. It says, “There is none who can snatch out of My hand.” Nobody can snatch anything or anyone out of the hand of God.

If you are familiar with your Bibles, you would think that you are reading chapter 10 of the Gospel of John, wouldn't you? The Lord Jesus Christ, you will remember, said, concerning the sheep that are in the Father's hand, “No man is able to pluck them”—to snatch them—“out of the Father's hand.” God says that. He said, “No man is able to take anybody out of My hand, whom I have delivered.”

No Man Able to Hinder the Work of God

The last statement of verse 13 is indeed wonderful. He said:

Isaiah 43

13…I will work, and who shall let it?

You understand that the word let , in our English translation, is an Anglo-Saxon word that could be better translated by our word hinder . He is saying, “I will work, and who can hinder me? I have decided to do something, and absolutely no one is able to stop Me in this particular thing that I am going to do, for I Am the omnipotent God.”

I wish that we could remember that. How often have we tried to do something in our own strength? How often have we tried to do something with the effort that is ours and we have failed? Someone says, “How did that particular effort succeed?” We say, “Well, it just didn't work. That's all. It didn't work.” But, Beloved, we would remind you that we never have to say that if we wait on God. We never have to say that if we let Him do the work, because He will work, and absolutely no one can hinder.

How much of the book of Isaiah reminds us of the New Testament? You remember what is recorded in chapter 8 of the book of Romans, in the last paragraph:

Romans 8

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Then the Apostle said that none of these things can separate us from the love of God. Then, lest somebody might bring up something that he had not named, he said in so many words, “I think that I have thought about everything, but I just want to tell you that if there is something that I have left out, or if there is something that hasn't even been created yet, even that, when it is created, will not be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Isaiah said, “No man is able to hinder the work of God. No man is able to snatch anything out of God's hand.

Israel to Be Eternal Witness to God's Delivering Power

Look at the witness they were to give in verse 12:

Isaiah 43

12I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

This is not as happy a translation as it could be, and I would like to suggest how it should read: “I have declared and delivered. I have shewed the future, and not the strange god who was among you. Therefore you are My witness, saith the LORD, that I am God.”

There were times when the nation of Israel went off into idolatry and entertained strange gods among them. There were times when the Scripture said that Israel consulted those who peeped and muttered. He was speaking of idol gods. He reminded them that those who peeped and muttered, those who spoke in a high voice or those who spoke in a low guttural voice, as demons have the habit of doing, could not tell the future, even though they made up like they could. But God could tell what was going to happen before it happened, and He wanted them to be witnesses to that fact.

He wanted them not only to be a witness to the things that He had mentioned, but He selects one of these things, and says: “I want you to be a witness to My delivering power. The reason He selected this particular thing to draw to our attention is that if there is one thing which God has done consistently for the nation of Israel in years past and if there is one thing that is on the program for the future, it is related to deliverance. Do you know any people who have been more oppressed than the nation of Israel? Do you know of any people who have been troubled more than the nation of Israel, yet God has delivered and has preserved? He wants them to be an eternal witness to the delivering power of God. Notice verse 14:

Isaiah 43

14Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships [that is, who shout their shouts of victory in their ships] .

Those of you who have studied the book of Isaiah with us know that this particular verse is speaking about something that was not going to happen for nearly 200 years after this particular time when Isaiah was speaking. It was something related to the future. It says in the text that God has done it. We pointed out to you the reason for it. It is called the perfect present tense , and it is translated in this fashion because when God says that He is going to do a thing, as far as He is concerned, it is done. The translators had to write it in the manner which it was expressed. It says, “I have done it,” yet history proves it was not done until 200 years later, but God said, “Two hundred years from now, I am going send Cyrus of Persia into Babylon and I am going to bring down the moguls and the sailors whose cry is in their ships.” Notice verse 15:

Isaiah 43

15I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

Then, as though they might wonder if He could do it, He says in verse 16:

Isaiah 43

16Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;

He had done that before. When the children of Israel left Egypt and they crossed the Jordan, He had made a path in the mighty waters. Verse 17:

Isaiah 43

17Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: [He had done that with Pharaoh's army] they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.

You may not know what tow is, but it means “a flickering candle.” It is just as a candle that flickers and may almost go out and with a mere pinch of the finger, it is gone. That is how God disposes of the enemy of Israel.

In verse 18, He said, “Don't think about the past, because what I am going to do in the future is something so tremendous that you won't even be talking about the past. Look at verse 18:

Isaiah 43

18Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
19Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?…

Witness to the Sovereighty of God

Because we have studied the book of Isaiah up to this point, we are able to make this statement without a great deal of explanation. God has great plans for the nation of Israel in the future. Those plans are described in the figurative language of the next few verses. God says:

Isaiah 43

19…I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen [this is looking way down through the corridors of time to the distant place in the future when the whole world will acknowledge the sovereignty of God] .
21This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

The greatest witness to the sovereignty of God that is found in this section of the Word, or in any portion of the Scripture is found, I believe, in this next paragraph. If I were going to give one word that would describe the sovereignty of God, in this particular paragraph, it would be the word grace. Do you know what grace is? Grace is a word that is difficult of definition. No one single definition completely tells the whole story. All that we can do is make an effort to define it. We would like to say to you that grace is the unmerited favor of God . It is receiving the smile of God when all we should see is the back of His hand. It is receiving His blessing when we ought to receive His curse. It is receiving something to which you have no claim. It is receiving something that you do not deserve.

How Grace Gives Testimony to God's Sovereignty

There is no greater illustration of the grace of God than the nation of Israel. If you are wondering how the grace of God can give testimony to the sovereignty of God, I want to remind you of something that you will come across a little bit latter. It is summed up in the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans, chapter 11, when he said, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and upon whom I wish to bring judgment, I will bring judgment.” If you and I are looking for a person to reward, we would look for a person who was worthy of that reward. If I were looking for a person to bless, I would look for a person who acted like they were interested in us. But not God. It is all of grace, not of works, lest any man should boast. What He said of Israel here can be said nearly of any person who has had any dealings with God at all. The form may not be the same, but the principle is. Look at verse 22:

Isaiah 43

22But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.

This is the first word of condemnation that God brings in this paragraph. He says, “You haven't asked Me when you could have. You haven't visited with Me. You haven't had any fellowship with Me and you weary at Me. You don't want to have anything to do with Me.” Then verse 23:

Isaiah 43

23Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.

“You have not done a thing for Me,” God said. “I have not burdened you with an offering, nor have I worried you with incense. I haven't made any demands on you.”

Do you realize that God doesn't? Oh, the Bible is full of commands; the Bible is full of exhortations. The Bible is full of what you and I might interpret as requirements from God, but literally they are not. If you don't want to do them, God doesn't want them done. He has no desire to have unwilling service rendered to Him. He has no desire to have praise that does not come from the heart. Look at verse 24:

Isaiah 43

24Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve [a better word is burdened] with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.

Let that sink in today. Have you ever considered that God gets tired of your sin? Have you ever considered that God gets tired of your disobedience? Have you ever considered that even though God has not visited you with His chastening hand, He is weary of your continued, deliberate disobedience of Him? Oh, how weary He is, and what a tremendous burden our sins are to Him. If you acted like I act, if I acted like you act, He would give you exactly what you deserve. He would treat you unkindly. But, God is not that way. Look in verse 25 at one of the greatest illustrations of the grace of God that you can imagine:

Isaiah 43

25I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Notice what He said. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy trangressions, and I will not remember your sins.” Oh Lord, why is it that you blot out our transgressions? Why is it that you will not remember our sins? He said, “Well, certainly not for your sake.” In verse 26:

Isaiah 43

26Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.

He says, “Maybe I am forgetting something. Maybe I haven't remembered some good things that you have done. Remind Me.” They were silent, of course. Verse 27:

Isaiah 43

27Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.

“From the beginning you have sinned against Me. So I can't forgive your sins and I can't blot out your transgressions because of anything you are. If I do it, it will have to be for My sake.”

Israel's Testimony to God's Chastening Hand

May I remind you, Beloved, that if you are a child of God, if your sins are forgiven, then they are forgiven not for your sake, but for His. Are you misunderstanding what I am saying? Are you jumping to conclusions? Are you saying, “Well then, God doesn't care about sin, does He? All we need to do is sin all we want to and it doesn't matter to God.” That isn't what I said, and that isn't what God said. He says, “Even though I do forgive your sins, even though My grace is sufficient, your sins have made it necessary for Me to bring My chastening hand upon you.” He says, in verse 28:

Isaiah 43

28Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

Israel is a testimony to the grace of God, but she is also a testimony to the chastening hand of God. Why is it that the nation of Israel is scattered all over the world? Why is it that this nation has suffered persecution as no other nation has? Here is your answer. Why is it that this nation is slated for even greater persecution than she experienced under the hand of Hitler? Why is she slated for even something worse? When she comes to the end of her tribulation, she will have learned God, and when she has learned God, the nation will be ready to give the testimony that God intends that she shall give.

That is the reason that I am concerned about Christians when I see them going astray. That is the reason I am concerned about Christians when I see them bowing their neck, setting their jaw, saying, “I am going to have my way, and there is nothing that anybody can do about it.” That is true, in a sense. You finally reach an age when nobody can do anything about it, but you are forgetting God. God will do something about it.

I have said to my family, over and over again, “I am not concerned about whether or not my family will live for God. I am not concerned about whether I will. I know I will, and I know they will, but the thing that I am concerned about is what God might have to do if you are too stubborn in relation to His will.” He has a way of getting obedience. He has a way of bringing us to the place that we will do what He wants us to do.

Are you noticing what I am saying? A moment ago I said that God doesn't want your service and He doesn't want your worship unless it comes from your heart, and now I am contradicting myself. I am saying that God will see to it that He gets it. No. It is not a contradiction. What I am saying is that once God has put His finger upon you, once God has chosen you as He chose the nation of Israel, you will be His witness, but there might be an awful toll taken before you are. If you are too stubborn, or if you want your way instead of God's way, and if you are foolish enough to think that you can have it, God may let you go. Then He will draw the reign up tight and snap your neck when He does it. That is what is sad.

God Likes His Children

The remaining paragraph that we have before us needs very little comment. Notice, chapter 44, verse 1:

Isaiah 44

1Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:
2Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.

Notice how He keeps emphasizing, “I have chosen you. No one can snatch you out of My hand. When I start a work, nobody can stop it. It may look like they are going to. It may look like the nation of Israel has been set aside, and will never be a witness again, but such isn't the case.”

Notice the word Jesurun . One moment He call them Jacob , and the next moment He call them Jesurun . That is His pet name for them, and only God could give them a name like this. When you know the deceitfulness of the nation of Israel and all of the unloveliness that is recorded in the Bible about them, you wonder how could God call them a name like this? Do you know why He can? Because He likes them.

Isn't it amazing that you can see in your children what nobody else can see, and you can't see what everyone else can see? You have some pet names for them, and once in a while you will say something relative to that pet name, and somebody says, “Oh, if they could see those kids when they are away from home, they wouldn't talk like that about them.” God sees His children when they are away from home. I can't see mine when they are away from home, and I don't know what they do. I trust that they remember whose they are and whom they serve.

God sees His children when they are away from home, and He can call them Jesurun . It means “My perfect one.” Isn't that amazing? The grace of God is so marvelous that that He can speak to the nation of Israel in the manner in which we have been speaking in this lesson, yet when He looks at the finished product, He can say, “My perfect ones.”

He goes on to say, in verse 3:

Isaiah 44

3For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
4And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.

He uses this figurative language to tell how He will ultimately bless them, but do you know what is sad today? They could have had all of this blessing without 2000 years of suffering, if they would have only been willing to yield to God.

As I look into the faces of some of you, I can't help but wonder what is God going to have to do before He gives you the blessing that He has for you. He wants to give it to you right now, but He may have to lead you through the fire before you are ready to open your hand and receive it, and that is sad.

Jews to Be Changed

Verse 5 may be surprising to you, and I can certainly understand how it would be. I am not anti-Semitic; I think my preaching proves that, but to be perfectly frank with you, sometimes the most obnoxious people in the world, to me, are Jews. Sometimes I have had Jewish Christians in my home, and I knew what it was going to be before they came. I asked the Lord to give me a special baptism of grace to put up with it, because they are obnoxious in the flesh. There is no need for me to act like I don't know that. That is what I think, and I have even told some of them that. To some of them that I have known really well, I have said, “It thrills my heart to hear your testimony, but why are you so obnoxious?” They knew what I was talking about. That is the way that they are made.

This verse says that God is going to so completely change them and revolutionize their lives that pretty soon everybody will want to become, of all things, a Jewish citizen. There will come a day when they will be so changed that folk will want to be called Jews. Look at verse 5:

Isaiah 44

5One shall say, I am the LORD's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel.

That verse literally says that one day people will engrave on their hand, “I am a Jew.” Today, in some places where they are persecuted, they have to wear the star of David as an emblem. In some countries they have even had to have it on their forehead. It is not that they are ashamed of it, but it is a mark of disrespect, and it is certainly persecution, but there is a day coming when God will so revolutionize their lives that people will want to engrave on their hand “I am a Jew,” and individuals will want to surname himself by the name of Israel. They will want to add Israel to their name.

It is almost unbelievable, isn't it? But, Beloved, it need not be, for I see all about me, in this day in which I live, the same manifestation of the grace of God. I see the grace of God laying hold of an individual and completely changing his life so that an individual suddenly has a goal in life and is beginning to live as he has never lived before. I see individuals who are just as unlovely as these folk about whom I am talking changed by the grace of God and made most unusual individuals. Look at verse 6:

Isaiah 44

6Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
7And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people [Israel] ? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
8Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Conclusion

This is what God said of Himself. I say humbly today, I would add my own testimony to that. I know no god like my God; I know no savior like mine. None can compare with Him. He is the fairest of ten thousand to my soul, and I know that He is to many of your hearts. I trust as the days go by you will come to know Him, and you will come to understand Him as He teaches you in the school of experience, so that your witness will not be secondhand, but firsthand, and though folk may say any number of other things about you, they will be able to say, “There is something about him. God is real to him.”


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