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 could not drown them and Nebuchadnezzar discovered he could not
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, eternity, 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
foretell 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 religion should
submit to the power of the truth and true worship of God.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah: 6; 40-41; 43; 55; 63
Holy Spirit Advantage Prophetic Ministries