Pastor Steve Ellison
One regularly visited theme in the Bible and particularly so in Isaiah is the “blindness and deafness of humans”. Apart from the work of God in our hearts and minds, we do not see or hear, nor do we understand. Isaiah 43 plainly declares and gives evidence that the God of the Bible is the only hope for mankind. God rhetorically asks for challengers to His sovereignty. Of course, none step forward. No human, no god can thwart Jehovah’s plans.
Isaiah 43:8-13 is reminiscent of God through Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. In this case, God Himself summons the nations of the world to challenge His sovereignty and He calls Israel to witness to the truthfulness of His claims from Creation up to their day. Verses 8-10a describe a tribunal, Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes, And the deaf, even though they have ears. 9 All the nations have gathered together So that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this And proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified, Or let them hear and say, “It is true.” 10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord. (NASU) What a marvelous and confident declaration! God will call only a blind and deaf witness on His behalf. Then He lays out the challenge, let the nations present their witnesses and decide if they are right or if Jehovah is right. God’s question for them is: Is there anyone else who can rightly claim responsibility for the history of Creation? Perhaps there is a foreshadowing of the new birth here. Once I was blind but now I see, and I am commanded to testify on behalf of Him who gave me sight.
Verses 10b-13 continue the record of the court proceeding, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. 11 “I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no savior besides Me. 12 “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And I am God. 13 “Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” (NASU) God now turns His attention from His past exploits to predictions of the future, particularly the future rescue from Babylonian Captivity. The experience of the first Exodus, the one from Egypt, demonstrates the reliability of the promise of the second Exodus, the one from Babylon. Marvelously, God declares His willingness to place the responsibility for His case squarely on the shoulders of His people. No blind, deaf, created-with-human-hands idol could do that. God’s sovereignty and omnipotence is such that He can safely rely on fallible humans to credibly testify of Him.
This passage screams of the current age in which we live. The lost world demands proof of God’s existence and goodness, proof they confidently proclaim does not exist. Yet, it does exist. It exists in the transformed lives of lost sinners to saved sinners. It exists in the blind seeing and the deaf hearing and those who could not understand now understanding. The God of the Bible claims that He is the only Sovereign Savior. If you claim to know Christ, you have been summoned to testify of Him. Failure to testify is contempt of court. There is none who can deliver out of His hand.