I almost skipped over these next two verses until I realized that God was making a statement about His trustworthiness and faithfulness to His promises.
Isaiah 41:8-9 "But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.”
God is a covenant-keeping God. He made a covenant with Abraham that He will fulfill—despite how long it seems to be taking to us and despite the fact that He has had to chasten His people along the way. God has not cast aside Israel as some theologians would like us to believe. The church has not replaced Israel. The church has been privileged to be grafted in to the root of true Israel, those that place their faith in and embrace the promises of God and Jesus, His Son, as their Messiah (Romans 11).
He goes on to emphasize that He is a faithful God, and that is important to us. If He is not faithful to His word, we have no sure anchor for our faith.
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
The people of Israel can know that though they may rebel against Him, He will never leave them or refuse to be their God. As their God, He will get through the toughest times. God’s right hand is indicative of His power and authority, which He exerts in righteousness.
That last phrase is the one that really jumped out to me. God’s people are always ready to accept His strength, protection and sustenance; but we don’t often think of what it means for Him to act towards us in righteousness. That righteousness requires that He chastise, correct and teach us; judgment and testing are part of that process. The problem is that we are such slow learners.
The next characteristic to which the LORD testifies is His ability to prophesy, to foretell the future.
Isaiah 41:26-29 “Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words. The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings. For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word. Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.”
The ability to declare the future with total accuracy is a singular proof of God as Supreme in power and authority. He boldly declares that no false god can do this; they are powerless. They only exist in the wind/breath/verbal expression of the people who claim them.
Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
I love this verse. It is another unequivocal statement of God as God—the One and Only. There is no other being that is His equal. This is not wrongful pride; it is just a statement of fact. It’s a statement that should strengthen our faith. Only YHWH is deserving of all glory and praise.
Isaiah 42:9 “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
This is a statement that supports the truth of the previous verse. Only God has the ability to predict the future. Every prophecy from the mouth of God comes to pass just as He has foretold. The scripture is full of proofs of this declaration. History and science are full of proofs of this statement—from the declaration that the earth is round to the prophecies concerning the world empires in Daniel, to the coming of the Messiah, etc.
Isaiah continues to affirm the truth that Israel is His chosen possession according to His covenant with Abraham. He is a covenant-keeping God. The LORD again declares that there is no other being like Him and there never will be.
Isaiah 43:10-11 “Ye 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. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”
The Hebrew for LORD is YHWH, meaning the self-existent, eternal God. He is unique in His ability to defend, deliver, preserve and protect (from the Hebrew for saviour) His people.
Isaiah 43:12 “I 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.”
God is saying that His actions have proven His words, and He has acted in plain view of the nations. He has proven Himself as no other so called “god” has. God’s declarations and actions on behalf of His people as recorded in scripture (and I am sure in many ways that weren’t recorded) prove that He is God.
Isaiah 43:13 “Yea, 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?”
“before the day” – God is outside of time. This declaration of God is one you have to accept by faith. I can say it and know what I’m saying, but I don’t really understand it. I do, however, without a shadow of a doubt believe it.
Nothing and no one is more powerful than God. What He declares will come to pass, and nothing or no being can prevent it. God will do as He pleases and no one has the power or ability to stop Him.
This next verse makes reference to another truth about God’s creation that wasn’t really recognized until the 1800s.
Isaiah 43:16 “Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters….”
Chuck Missler relates the story of how this verse prompted one man’s quest to map the oceans. Quoted from another article at khouse.org.
Matthew Fontaine Maury was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in 1806. As an avid Bible reader, he was struck by the reference in Psalm 8 to “the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:8). He also noticed that Isaiah wrote of a “path through the mighty waters” (Isaiah 43:16). Are there pathways in the seas? Who could imagine such a thing? The pursuit of this enigma became Maury’s lifetime quest.
He entered the Navy in 1825 as a midshipman. By 1842 he was placed in charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments, out of which grew the U.S. Naval Observatory and Hydrographic Office. To gather information on maritime winds and currents, Maury distributed to ship captains specially prepared logbooks from which he compiled pilot charts, enabling him to shorten the time of sea voyages. In 1848 he published maps of the main wind fields of the Earth.
Maury was ultimately able to produce charts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, a profile of the Atlantic seabed, and the first modern oceanographic text. He is internationally recognized as the “Father of Oceanography,” and Maury Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy is named in his honor. [end quote]
The next verse I want to jump to is yet another affirmation of the LORD’s relationship to Israel and the fact that He is the only God.
Isaiah 44:6 “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
YHWH declares that He is in fact the King of Israel, whether they choose to acknowledge Him as such or not. Again, He is identified as their Redeemer, their Deliverer, and the One who will ransom them (with the blood of His Son). It’s easy to miss the word and. This message is from YHWH and His redeemer, Jesus the Son, the Lord of hosts; Jesus is the Commander in Chief of the armies of God.
Galatians 3:11–14 “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Again, YHWH identifies Himself as the One and Only God; there is no other. There is no room for debate in this statement; it is an absolute. Both God and Jesus identify themselves as the first and the last; Jesus identifies Himself that way four times in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 1:11 “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”
Revelation 1:17 “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last….”
Revelation 2:8 “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive….”
Revelation 22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
This also affirms the truth that Jesus declared.
John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”
YHWH alone can bring forth witnesses to His unique ability to tell His purposes for the future and bring it to pass in just the way He foretold. His actions on behalf of His nation give proof that He is the One and Only God; there is NO OTHER.
Isaiah 44:7 “And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. ”
God is all-knowing, and He doesn’t know of any other “god”—meaning, there is no other God! The LORD drives this truth home many times through the prophet Isaiah. This tells me it is a key truth for us to understand. False gods are just that—FALSE.
Isaiah 45:5-6 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.”
There is only one true authority in the universe—YHWH, the self-existent, eternal God our Creator.
Isaiah 45:12 “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.”
The LORD declares: I AM the Creator. I AM in control. I AM The authority in heaven and on earth.
Isaiah 45:18 “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
Again, emphasis is given to the fact that YHWH God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In looking at the Hebrew for established, the phrases “provide, make provision and make ready” stood out to me. He made every provision necessary for the benefit of man because He made it to be inhabited by man.
Again that statement—I AM YHWH and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:21 “Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.”
God has made prophecies from ancient times and many have been fulfilled to the letter. Some are yet to be fulfilled, but the future will prove them to be just as accurate. Once again, YHWH declares that He is the ONLY God; there is no other god, no other being capable of declaring the future, This time, however, He adds the truth that He is just; He is righteous and holy. Nothing He does is wrong.
God also emphasizes that He is The Saviour; there is no other being capable of providing us a refuge and protection from evil and its consequences.
Isaiah 45:22 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
Based on the evidence, God is urging all the peoples on the earth to turn to Him in faith for salvation. God has singled out Israel as a nation of privilege among the nations, but His desire is that every person on planet earth turn to Him in faith for salvation. This truth is affirmed in other scripture.
2Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
1 Timothy 2:3–4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
This is the sixth time in chapter 45 alone that God has repeated this truth—I AM God and there is no other.
One more rhetorical question from YHWH—“Is there any other being who can compare to me?”
Isaiah 46:5 “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?”
Once again, God declares that His unique ability to foretell the future proves that there is no other true God.
Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure….”
In making this claim, God reminds His people of their history. He has proven Himself to them in so many miraculous ways. Their scripture is full of testimony to His mighty acts. The evidence declares that there is no other GOD, no other being that can compare to YHWH. He can confidently declare that every part of His plan and His purpose will be carried out to the smallest detail.