New American Standard Bible
But now, this is what the Lord says, He who is your Creator, Jacob,
And He who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other people in your place and other nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
The Lord is the creator of all. He is the one who has called Israel by name. He is the one who has created the nation because of the covenant established between Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God called Israel by His grace. They had done nothing to deserve being chosen by God. But nonetheless God chose them and never took His hand off them.
God here calls Israel both Jacob and Israel. Before Jacob’s name was changed to Israel he was a deceiver. But when he wrestled with the angel and he was forever changed, so was his name. But God makes it clear that He is the one who has not only created them but also formed them. He has shaped them into the nation they are. Through every instance of rebellion the Lord has disciplined them.
But the Lord comforts them telling them not to fear because He has redeemed them. He makes it clear that they are His special people. God says He has called them and they are His. The same stands for us today who are in Christ. None can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them (John 6:44). We are God’s chosen people covered by the blood of Jesus. We are adopted by Almighty God and He will never abandon nor forsake us.
Passing through the waters reminds Israel of the exodus from Egypt and God delivering them. Passing through the rivers reminds them of crossing the Jordan under the leadership of Joshua. Through the fire reminds us of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abdendago. God is showing that their return to the land from Babylonian captivity will happen because of His power and His grace. There is no power on earth or anyone who is greater than God Almighty. But the question is do we truly trust God? Do we truly trust Him at His word? He is always faithful and has demonstrated that over and over again in the lives of His people.
God again states that He is Israel’s God. What set Israel apart from the other nations was their covenant relationship with God. When God refers to Himself as the Holy One of Israel, He is speaking of His sovereignty and control over all things. God is ruler of all creation. He is the ruler of all nations and kings. No matter the bondage Israel found herself in because of her own sin, the Lord would not abandon her. He would set her free.
It was God who conquered the nation of Egypt and enabled Israel to go free under the leadership of Moses. The cities of Cush and Seba are the most southern cities of the nation of Egypt. God is making it clear that He has fully dealt with Israel’s enemies in the past and will do so again in the future.
The Lord states that Israel is precious in His sight and that He loves her. That word love means a feeling of deep affection. Israel is the apple of God’s eye. They are His chosen people. Yes they sinned many times, but the Lord never abandoned or forsook them. He allowed them to go into exile for a time, but it was for their good and for their salvation.
The other men and people that God would give in their place would be the nations and peoples that God would conquer to set Israel free. Today when we think of the price that God paid so we could be set free shows us that He will go to any length to set His people free. No matter the depths of our sin, the Lord will discipline us, but He will never abandon us nor forsake us.
The Lord tells Israel not to fear. Though they presently find themselves in captivity in Babylon, it is the Lord who will gather them and bring them back to the land. He will rescue them. For a period of seventy years they would spend in captivity, but when God’s time table was over, the Lord would move on the heart of Cyrus and the people would return to the land.
The Lord now speaks to the north and the south to have His people brought back. God created everything by His word. The word of God will not return void. When God speaks, it will happen. The Lord refers to Israel as His sons and daughters. It speaks again of their special relationship with Almighty God. When God calls and chooses us, it is He who redeems us. Our salvation is a gift from Almighty God and it is to be received. When we make a decision to follow Jesus, it is the Lord who holds us in His hands. We are saved by the grace of God. We are kept by His grace.
The Lord says everyone who is called by His name and whom He has created for His glory. Israel as a nation was chosen by God. Israel only became a nation by the hand of God. Left to themselves they would have destroyed themselves and never come out of the bondage of Egypt. But God rose up Moses, empowered him with mighty signs and wonders, and made a way for Israel to be set free.
God shaped and formed Israel as a nation by all they have gone through. Even in their hardship because of their own sin the Lord has used it for their good. Even when we sin, the Lord is willing to forgive our sin. He disciplines us because He loves us, and in the long run His discipline will continue to shape and mold us to be the people God has called us to be.