“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine’” (Isaiah 44:1-2).
Isaiah is in many ways a bipolar book. The prophet bounces between dire predictions of doom to glorious ecstasy as he foretells what God will bring about at the end of time. Sometimes his messages present God’s wrath, warning the people to repent before disaster falls upon them. Other times, Isaiah can’t help but glory in God’s goodness and grace. One thing that appears in both types of message, however, is a simple theme: God is the One Who formed Israel.
Beginning in chapter 43 and continuing to chapter 49, Isaiah delivers a series of messages, the majority of which contain the key phrase of God forming Israel. They belong to Him, for He has made them. They are His people, and they ought to do what He says. But Israel has rebelled against God. They do whatever they please, regardless of what God has instructed. They want nothing to do with their Creator.
In light of this, it’s perfectly understandable that God is angry with them. What is difficult to understand is the fact that God still loves them and wants to redeem them. These seven chapters declare the incredible love God has for His people. Yes, they have disobeyed Him in every way. The majority of them want nothing to do with Him. But God has not given them up. “‘Can a woman forget her nursing child,’” He asks, “‘that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you’” (Isaiah 49:15). The love of a mother for her child is often described as the deepest kind of love; God’s love for His people goes deeper still. He is their Maker, and for that reason He loves them. Israel drifted as far away from God as possible, but He still claimed them as His own. He redeemed them because they were His from the beginning.