Thursday, March 26, 2009

Remember & Return - Isaiah 44 part 4

"Remember these things O Jacob,
And Israel, for you are My servant;
I have formed you, you are My servant,
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.
I have wiped out your transgressions
like a thick cloud,
and your sins like a heavy mist.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."
(vs 21-22)

This section of chapter 44 is obviously beautiful. It echos Isaiah's words in the previous chapter. In 43:25, this same gospel language is proclaimed: "I, even I am the one who wipes out your transgressions, for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins."

I will never grow tired of that gospel truth. "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" (Ps 103:12). "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow" (Is 1: 18). God, through Christ's redeeming work accomplished and applied to us by grace through faith, wipes out our transgressions.

What particulary strikes me this morning though, is the gospel language within this particular context. The previous verses speak of idolatry. The Israelites have found themselves in Babylonian captivity because of their idolatry. God has called them to leave the foolishness of that sin and return to the fear of the LORD which is the beginning of wisdom.

Here He graciously commands His people to "Remember these things." We need to remember the foolishness of graven images (see yesterday's post) and we need to remember the greatness of the God of the Bible (see last Friday's post). We need to meditate on the fullness of His character as it is held forth to us in the pages of Scripture. Each year that I walk with Christ I see more and more how full and beautiful, how logical and practical, how amazingly marvelous all of God's attributes are. No man could conceive of a God like this. No hands could create Him, nor minds invent Him. We need to "remember our creator in the days of our youth" and all the days of our life.

The Living and True God has made us, we have not made Him. "I have formed you." Israel is called to remember that their God is Creator not created. He is not like graven images.

The Living and True God is the Master whom we were created to serve. "I have formed you, you are my servant." Israel is called to remember that they were created to serve not to be served! We were created for His glory not He for ours. Now, that can make us bristle in our sinful pride and selfishness. We naturally tend to think - "What a domineering God! I'll be servant of no one!" Oh, but our Master is a good and gentle master. He is no tyrant. He loves His people. They are the apple of His eye and just as we will do anything to protect our own eye from harm, so He will deal with any who attempt evil against His dearly loved servants. Being the servant of this King is the best of all positions to be in. "For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand in the threshold of the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Ps 84:10). Israel needs to remember this. I need to remember this.

The Living and True God is our Redeemer. "I have redeemed you." Israel is called to remember what God has done for those who are trusting in Him. Graven images cannot save us, they can't save themselves. They can do NOTHING, for they are nothing. Remember what God has done. Remember what He has promised yet to do for those whom He has redeemed with His own precious blood.

What struck me this morning was that our remembering of these things calls for an action. We are to remember and we are to return. "Return to Me, for I have redeemed you" (vs 22). Yesterday I had to honestly ask myself, what graven images have I created in my heart and mind? What idols do I fall down before and worship by my actions and affections? Today, in response to these verses, I need to remember just who the real God is - the God who formed me, the God whom I am created to serve, the God who has redeemed me. I need to remember Him and I need to return to Him with every ounce of my thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Help me Lord to do just that!

In His glorious grace,


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