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43. Israel's Only Savior

But now 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. 2When 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. 3For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7Even 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.

8Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. 9Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. 10Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. 12I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. 13Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

14Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. 15I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. 16Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; 17Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.

18Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. 21This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

22But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. 23Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. 24Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. 25I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. 27Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me. 28Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

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22. And thou hast not called on me. He confirms by an indirect reproof what he said in the preceding verse, that it was not by any merits of his people that he was induced to act so kindly towards them. This deliverance, therefore, ought to be ascribed to no other cause than to the goodness of God. In order to prove this, he says, “Thou hast not called on me.” Calling on the name of God includes the whole of the worship of God, the chief part of which is “calling upon him;” and, therefore, following the ordinary manner of Scripture, he has put a part for the whole. But in other passages the Lord plainly shews that calling upon him is the chief part of his worship; for, after having said that he despises sacrifices and outward ceremonies, he adds,

“Call upon me in the day of trouble.” (Psalm 50:15.)

Hence also Scripture, when it speaks of the worship of God, chiefly mentions “calling on him;” for when Moses states that the worship of God had been restored, he says, “Then began men to call on the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26.)

But thou hast been wearied of me. In this second clause I consider the particle כי (ki) to be disjunctive, “But rather thou hast been wearied of me.” Others render it “Because thou hast wearied;” as if he had said, “Thou hast received with dislike what was enjoined on thee;” which amounts to nearly the same thing. As the Lord demands obedience, so he wishes all that worship him to be ready and cheerful; as Paul testifies, that “the Lord loveth a cheerful giver,” (2 Corinthians 9:7,) and they who obey reluctantly cannot be called, and are not reckoned by him, true and sincere worshippers. Thus, in order to show that the Jews have not worshipped him as they ought to have done, he says that they did it reluctantly. If any one choose rather to view it as assigning the reason, and render it thus, — “Thou hast not called on me, for thou hast rendered to me no worship without regret, and what may be said to have been extorted from thee by violence,” as it makes little difference in the meaning, I do not greatly object; but the translation which I have given appears to convey more clearly what the Prophet intends. Besides, the contrast contains within itself the assigning of a reason; and therefore, if we wish that God should accept of our service, let us obey him with a cheerful disposition.




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