Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 43-47.
This passage is so chock-full of things I want to write about that I do not know where to start. So, I will start with the first thing that came to me as I read it through for the first time (I usually read the passage at least twice before I start writing). The writer begins today’s passage by telling the people of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, that God has told them not to be afraid because He has ransomed them. God will gather them together from the distant corners of the earth. He will instruct the earth to gather them together for Him. Then comes the interesting part, God tells those gathering His people together to gather everyone who claims Him as their God. Throughout today’s passage this theme keeps coming up, the prophet refers again and again to the fact that God will welcome all who claim Him as their God. Through this prophet, God predicted that people from every nation and ethnicity would claim Him as their God and this has come to pass.
The main theme in today’s passage, around which several other themes wind (such as the one I mentioned in the previous paragraph), is that there is no god other than God. Nothing and no one is comparable to Him. The prophet goes on to write about the different ways in which people make their own gods from wood or from precious metals. The writer does not list this out, but there is another way in which people create their own gods, they do so by the works of their minds. Some people become enamored of the products of their mind. They begin to worship their own thoughts, or the thoughts of others. Throughout history various people have come up with ideas which they believe will allow them to predict the future. In modern times, we call these ideas “science”. While there is some utility in using science to predict the future, whenever we become convinced that we understand this world well enough that we no longer need God, God shows us how limited our science truly is. Those who put their full trust in science rather than God will soon discover that it is no more reliable for what is important than an image made of wood, or one made of precious metals.
The final theme in today’s passage which I want to touch upon is the writer’s disdain for those who believe that, when He made them, God got it wrong. Whether it is those who believe that their hair is the wrong color, or their nose the wrong shape, or their sex the wrong one, in every case what they are truly saying is that God got it wrong. We are to God as clay is to the potter. If God decided to make us a “vase”, than a “vase” is what we were meant to be. It gains us nothing to argue that we should be a “pot”. We are what God has made us and desiring to be something else will only result in unhappiness. However, if God made you a “vase”, He made you one according to HIS specifications, not according to any human’s. So, if God has created you a man, or a woman, listen to what He tells you that means. Do not allow the people of this world to define what it means to be a “man”, or to be a “woman”, not even if they go to the same congregation you do. This is where it gets complicated because those who are seeking to serve God may provide an avenue through which God will tell you what it means to be what He has made you. But listen closely for His words and seek what He has to tell you and reject those who speak only with human wisdom.
As a Church we have become lost because we did not talk about this when people started to be unhappy with the shape God made their nose, or the color He chose for their hair, or the myriad other ways in which people objected to the way God chose for them to look. God has a purpose in the way in which He shaped us, rather than reject it, let us embrace it.