Pastor Steve Ellison
Isaiah 43:14 begins as eighteen other places in Isaiah begin, “Thus says the Lord”. Isaiah 43:14-15 indicates a second glorious Exodus for the nation of Israel and names the author of this Exodus, Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “For your sake I have sent to Babylon, And will bring them all down as fugitives, Even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice. “I am the Lord, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.” (NASU) God is declaring through the mouth of Isaiah that God is about to act on behalf of His people. God reminds the nation that He is their Redeemer, Holy One, Creator, and King. Thus, they can have absolute confidence that He will do what He says He will do. He will allow Babylon to defeat them and take them captive, but He will rescue them in dramatic fashion. The Babylonians will be forced to swallow their pride and run as fugitives all the way to the sea at the far side of the empire.
The next two verses, instead of referring to names of God as evidence of the certainty of His word refers to His past actions as evidence. Isaiah 43:16-17 begins with the same phrase as verse fourteen, Thus says the Lord, Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty waters, Who brings forth the chariot and the horse, The army and the mighty man (They will lie down together and not rise again; They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick). (NASU) This passage is clearly a reference to the first Exodus, the one in which God led His people safely and miraculously out of Egypt. Jehovah uses it as an illustration that He absolutely can accomplish whatever He desires.
Immediately after reminding His people of His past miracle, God tells them not to dwell on that but instead to look for a new mighty deed from Him. Isaiah 43:18-21 points to a second Exodus, “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. “The beasts of the field will glorify Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people. “The people whom I formed for Myself
Will declare My praise. (NASU) God cannot be put into a box. He is not forced to work in any one particular manner. This second Exodus will be different in every way. This time, a Gentile ruler will turn Israel loose without coercion and without a power struggle. The Israelites will not have a solitary indispensable leader. They will have multiple leaders. The Exodus will not happen in one dramatic fell swoop. Rather it will happen slowly over several years under the leadership of various leaders. This time not every Israelite will participate. This time the miracle of God will not be as apparently supernatural to unbelievers.
In the first Exodus, God used water to illustrate His supernatural protection of His people and to illustrate His judgment on His enemies. In the second Exodus, God used the wilderness/desert to illustrate His ongoing protection of His people. He used water to illustrate His manifold blessing on His people. God’s mighty work on behalf of His people would result in praise to God. Isaiah 43:19 asks if you understand, Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (ESV) Sometimes, if we are not observant, we miss the mighty works of God.