Isaiah 43:1–3;
“But now, thus says the Lord,
your Creator; . . .  He who formed you, O
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.’ . . .  ‘I have formed you, . . . you will not be
forgotten by Me. . . .  Return to Me, for
I have redeemed you.’ Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout joyfully, you
lower parts of the earth; break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O
forest, and every tree in it. For the Lord
has redeemed Jacob and in Israel He shows forth His glory.”


Observation: In
spite of Israel’s
unfaithfulness to God, He still loved her and promised her release from
Babylonian captivity. His words reminded Israel who she was to Him
(redeemed, beloved) and who He was to her (Creator, Lord, the One who formed
her.) And He said, “Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” Here we see God as
though standing on a precipice overlooking the pit of hell, calling Israel to a
redemption He had already provided even though Isaiah wrote these words 700
years before the birth of Christ. Finally, He commanded that the whole
earth:  mountains, forest, and trees,
shout joyfully over this redemption.

Application: Throughout these chapters God uses the language of forming, suggesting
something beyond merely creating or fashioning.
There is within the word
the additional concept of applied pressure, of a knife cutting away unwanted
attributes that the finished thing of beauty might emerge. 

God does indeed have that in store for His chosen people Israel. But
there is also a personal application here, an individual way of understanding
what He is doing in my life as He takes me through waters of affliction that
cannot overwhelm me and fires that cannot scorch or burn. These are for my
refining, that I might become the pure, spotless bride that His sacrifice has
already purchased. He calls me forth from the messes I become mired in, into
His redemption, His freedom, His peace. As I yield to His call, the world and
everything within it will rejoice.

Prayer: O God, Father of all redemption through the death and
resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have felt the
pressure of Your formation; I have known the cutting of Your knife. How
I thank You that You do not leave me as You found me, but that Your great love
has called me forth to eternal redemption as the bride of Your dear Son.