The Majesty of Our Maker
The same basic defiant question had been asked in two occasions. First, it was heard by the River
Nile in Egypt. Pharaoh demanded of Moses: “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let
Israel go?”

Centuries later it was repeated by the River Euphrates in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar hurled it at three
young Hebrew men: “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? (Dan 3:15).

Both monarchs got their answers soon enough. Who is this God? Well, for starters He could and
would protect His own. Pharaoh found he couldn’t drown them and Nebuchadnezzar discovered he
couldn’t burn them. In this portion of his book, Isaiah expands on the question posed by these two
pagans. Who indeed is the God of Israel? In glowing terms the prophet speaks of His salvation,
righteousness, grace, glory, holiness, mercy, compassion, wrath, power, eternality, long-suffering,
triunity, uniqueness, faithfulness, and love! What more could be said? In fact, what more could be
said?

A Challenge to Idolaters.
Isaiah. 43: 8-13.

Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be
gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us
former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and
say, It is truth. Ye 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. “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.”

“I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you:
therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.   13) Yea, 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?”

God here challenges the worshippers of idols to produce such proofs of the divinity of their false
gods as even this very instance (to go no further) of the redemption of the Jews out of Babylon
furnished the people of Israel with, to prove that their God is the true and living God, and he only.

The patrons of idolatry are here called to appear, and say what they have to say in defense of their
idols, v. 8, 9. Their gods have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, and those that make them and
trust in them are like unto them; so David had said (Ps. 115: 8), to which the prophet seems here to
refer when he calls idolaters blind people that have eyes, and deaf people that have ears. They have
the shape, capacities, and faculties, of men; but they are, in effect, destitute of reason and common
sense, or they would never worship gods of their own making. "Let all the nations therefore be
gathered together, let them help one another, and with a combined force plead the cause of their
dunghill gods; and, if they have nothing to say in their own justification, let them hear what the God
of Israel has to say for their conviction and confutation."

God's witnesses are subpoenaed, or summoned to appear, and give in evidence for him (v. 10):
"You, O Israelites! All you that are called by my name, you are all my witnesses, and so is my servant
whom I have chosen." It was Christ himself that was so described (Isa. 42: 1), My servant and my
elect. Observe,
1. All the prophets that testified to Christ, and Christ himself, the great prophet, are here appealed to
as God's witnesses. (1.) God's people are witnesses for him, and can attest, upon their own
knowledge and experience, concerning the power of his grace, the sweetness of his comforts, the
tenderness of his providence, and the truth of his promise. They will be forward to witness for him
that he is gracious and that no word of his has fallen to the ground. (2.) His prophets are in a
particular manner witnesses for him, with whom his secret is, and who know more of him than
others do. But the Messiah especially is given to be a witness for him to the people; having lain in his
bosom from eternity, he has declared him.

Now, Let us see what the point is which these witnesses are called to prove (v. 12): You are my
witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Note, Those who do themselves acknowledge that the Lord
is God should be ready to testify what they know of him to others, that they also may be brought to
the acknowledgement of it. I believed, therefore have I spoken. Particularly, "Since you cannot but
know, and believe, and understand, you must be ready to bear record, (1.) That I am he, the only
true God, that I am a being self-existent and self-sufficient; I am he whom you are to fear, and
worship, and trust in. Nay (v. 13), before the day was (before the first day of time, before the
creation of the light, and, consequently, from eternity) I am he." The idols were but of yesterday,
new gods that came newly up (Deut. 32. 17); but the God of Israel was from everlasting. (2.) That
there was no God formed before me, nor shall be after me."

The idols were gods formed
(dii facti--made gods, or rather fictitii--fictitious); by nature they were
no gods, Gal. 4: 8. But God has a being from eternity, yea, and a religion in this world before there
were either idols or idolaters (truth is more ancient than error); and he will have a being to eternity,
and will be worshipped and glorified when idols are famished and abolished and idolatry shall be no
more. True religion will keep its ground, and survive all opposition and competition. Great is the
truth, and will prevail. (3.) That I, even I, am the Lord, the great Jehovah, who is, and was, and is to
come; and besides me there is no Savior, v. 11. See what it is that the great God glories in, not so
much that he is the only ruler as that he is the only Savior; for he delights to do good: he is the
Savior of all men, 1 Tim. 4:10.

3. Let us see what the proofs are which are produced for the confirmation of this point. It appears,
(1.) That the Lord is God, by two proofs: [1.] He has an infinite and infallible knowledge, as is
evident from the predictions of his word (v. 12): "I have declared and I have shown that which has
without fail come to pass; nay, I never declared nor showed any thing but it has been accomplished.
I showed when there was no strange god among you, that is, when you pretended not to consult
any oracles but mine, nor to have any prophets but mine." It is said, when the children of Israel
came out of Egypt, that the Lord alone did lead them, and there was no strange god with Him. [2.]
He has an infinite and irresistible power, as is evident from the performances of his providence. He
pleads not only, I have shown, but, I have saved, not only foretold what none else could foresee,
but done what none else could do; for (v. 13), "None can deliver out of my hand those whom I will
punish; not only no man can, but none of all the gods of the heathen can protect." It is therefore a
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, because there is no getting out of them again. "I
will work what I have designed, both in mercy and judgment, and who shall either oppose or retard
it?"

(2.) That the gods of the heathen, who are rivals with Him, are not only inferior to him, but no gods
at all, which is proved (v. 9) by a challenge: Who among them can declare this that I now declare?
Who can foretel things to come? Nay, which of them can show us former things? Isa. 41:22. They
cannot so much as inspire an historian, much less a prophet. They are challenged to join issue upon
this: Let them bring forth their witnesses, to prove their omniscience and omnipotence. And, if they
do prove them, they shall be justified, the idols in demanding homage and the idolaters in paying it.
If they do not prove them, let them say, it is truth; let them own the true God, and receive the truth
concerning Him, that he is God alone. The cause of God is not afraid to stand a fair trial; but it may
reasonably be expected that those who cannot justify themselves in their irreligion should submit to
the power of the truth and true worship of God.


Scripture Reading: Isaiah:  6; 40-41; 43; 55; 63
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