Re-creating Community

Key Verse: “Thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”
—Isaiah 43:1

Selected Scripture:
Isaiah 43

OVER A PERIOD OF MANY centuries and generations, in which the children of Israel had often turned aside toward other enticing gods, we cannot help but be impressed by the Lord’s continuing personal and caring relationship with his people. This thought is well expressed in this lesson’s Key Verse that is addressed to the Jewish nation, and assured them not to fear because God was dealing with them and still called them by name because they were his people.

There are many remarkable occasions when God dealt with his covenant people. Even when they were disobedient and unfaithful to him, he continued to guide, discipline, and chastise them for their own good and welfare. The account reads, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” (Isa. 43:2,3) God would test his chosen people through all of their many experiences.

The Israelites were a typical nation, whose experiences typified those of the Lord’s people who are being called and dealt with during the present Gospel Age. This is particularly true in connection with their elaborate religious ceremonies that centered around their Tabernacle. It also includes their Tabernacle furnishings, the priesthood, and the many sacrifices that were a part of their regular observance as directed by God’s Word.

We note, in the scriptural reference cited above, that God promises to lead the nation of Israel through water and fire. Both of these natural elements suggest difficult experiences in some way or manner regarding his people. This is true of Israel and the Lord’s people at the present time. It is God’s assurance, however, that he would be with his people in all that these symbolic words may suggest.

The Israelites were assured that whenever they were passing through the ‘waters’ they would not be adversely affected by them. Although addressed specifically to the Israelites, it also well illustrates the walk of the footstep followers of our Lord Jesus during the present time. Passing through the waters is a figurative expression denoting that, no matter how difficult the way may become, we may be assured that our Heavenly Father will be guiding and directing us. These waters illustrate the school of experience whereby each of us must be tested and proven.

The reference to ‘fire’ points to the severity of some of our experiences. Peter addresses this point when he writes, “The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (I Pet. 1:7) He then says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.”—I Pet. 4:12

Christians living today may also be assured that God is leading them through the afflictions of life. “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”—Isa. 43:7

Dawn Bible Students Association
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