“Remember these, 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 blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:21-22).
The first 40 chapters of Isaiah ring with God’s harsh judgment upon Israel because of her sins. God’s people had left Him and turned to worshipping idols. God chastened His people in an effort to correct them and encourage them to turn back to Him, but they rebelled against His correction (Isaiah 42:23-25). Punishment for such sin as idolatry is necessary in order for God to be just.
However, God longed to comfort His people and show them His love (Isaiah 40:1). As the opening verses above indicate, God pleads with His people to return to Him and He would redeem them from their sins (Isaiah 44:21-22). God assures them He will redeem them from the Babylonian captivity: “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43:5-6). God encourages His people to forget the past judgment of them because of their sins and to pursue the path He has made on which His people may return to Him: “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
As they endure the trials before them, God encourages His people not to fear because He will redeem them: “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” (Isaiah 41:8-10).
Ultimately, God would accomplish the opportunity for all men to be redeemed from their sins through His Son Jesus Christ: “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth" (Isaiah 42:1-3). Furthermore, regarding the Messiah God says, “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house” (Isaiah 42:6-7).
As I consider God’s redemption of Israel from their sins, I am reminded that God has redeemed me from my sins. So many songs we sing remind us of God’s redemption of us as Christians. Rightly we sing such lines as, “Angels are singing redemption’s sweet song”, “How I love the Great Redeemer Who is doing so much for me!”, and “I’ve been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb”, because these lyrics remind us of both our need for redemption from our sins and of the One Who redeemed us! Today, I will rejoice in my redemption and in my Redeemer!
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).