Thursday, December 23, 2010

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 26, 2010

(GOD is our only SAVIOR and HE promises us victory)
(Isaiah 43)

In the Hebrew, the word used for “redeemed” is “ga’al”, and it means “to buy out of slavery”. In Isaiah 43, the prophet writes of a “new exodus” in which GOD would once again bring HIS people back home from their captivity and oppression, this time, from out of Babylon. Here in this passage we see yet another “salvation oracle” being introduced with the powerful words “Thus says the LORD”. “Fear not” is the first element in this prophetic passage, and it gives reference to, and is based upon, what GOD had done for the Israelites in the past, namely, Israel’s miracle-filled exodus from Egypt.
Many legal terms are applied here, as it is in much of Old Testament literature, where it references the many “distinctive acts of GOD” that would soon occur. First GOD says HE will “redeem” HIS people, as would a “kindred redeemer” redeem a family member (Ruth, chapters 2-4) according to Hebrew Law. Then, GOD “named HIS people”, as would a parent, or legal guardian name their children. And finally, GOD says that HE will “ransom” them with Babylon, as HE had done earlier with Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba, when HE gave those nations up as a ransom for Israel’s freedom (Isaiah 43:1-4). And so here we see, GOD saves us through HIS laws, as well as, through HIS distinctive acts.
In Isaiah 43:25-27 GOD invites us to appear in HIS court of law, a place we wouldn’t want to be without JESUS. GOD’s greatest distinctive act was to send us HIS only begotten SON, JESUS, and HE, by doing so, offered HIM up as a ransom for our sins against HIM. As our personal SAVIOR, one of the ways JESUS saves us is by speaking on our behalf in front of GOD the FATHER, WHO is the injured party, prosecutor, and judge in HIS court. When we choose JESUS, HE becomes our advocate in GOD’s court of law, and HE is the only ONE WHO is qualified to stand before GOD on our behalf. In biblical times, people involved in legal disputes had to appeal before an earthly king for justice, however, in the day of the LORD, our cases will be appealed before our Heavenly FATHER, WHO will only take appeals from one advocate, CHRIST JESUS.
And finally, GOD saves us by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT, WHO is the only ONE WHO can lead, counsel, and guide us into all righteousness, that is the righteousness of CHRIST. Apart from the HOLY SPIRIT we can’t even fully understand the word and laws of GOD enough to respect or obey them. It is the SPIRIT that opens up our minds to understanding and following our LORD (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). No man can come to CHRIST unless the HOLY SPIRIT draws them, and the HOLY SPIRIT doesn’t draw those who lack the desire to be in the family of GOD (John 6:44-47). GOD created all men, but all men are not children of GOD. Only those who earnestly believe and accept CHRIST as their personal SAVIOR, can ever be a child of GOD (John 1:12).
And so we can clearly see through this ancient passage of Isaiah that GOD, that is, the whole of GOD, GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT has long ago, committed to remain with us once we commit to remain with HIM. The “whole of GOD” is committed to the “whole of man” in the three spheres of time that a man has to travel through, the past, the present, and, the future. Man, has always been, is now, and, will forever be, in total need of GOD. We need GOD the FATHER for our daily protection and provisions (Isaiah 43:5), that’s the present. We need JESUS for the forgiveness of sins (Isaiah 43:25), that’s the past. And we need the HOLY SPIRIT for guidance, for counseling, and to lead us into an uncertain future on faith (Isaiah 43:18-19). And so the whole of GOD is made available to the whole needs of man, and apart from GOD, there is no SAVIOR.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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