Isaiah 43

God redeems Israel

1 Israelites, descendants of Jacob, the Lord created you, and he made you who you are. Now he says this to you:

‘Do not be afraid,

I have rescued you to belong to me.

I have called you by your name,

so now you are mine.

2 When you go through deep water,

I will be with you.

When you cross dangerous rivers,

you will not drown.

When you walk through fire,

it will not burn you.

The flames will not destroy you.

43:2The dangerous rivers and the fires are pictures of different kinds of trouble. God says that he will always be there to help his people, whatever troubles they may have.

3 I am the Lord, your God,

so I will rescue you.

I am Israel's Holy God, your Saviour.

I gave Egypt as the price to buy you back.

I gave Ethiopia and Seba to their enemies,

so that you could be free.

4 You are very valuable to me.

You are my special people, and I love you.

So I will give other people to their enemies,

to keep your lives safe.

Other nations will pay the price,

instead of you.

5 I am with you,

so do not be afraid.

I will bring your descendants from the east.

I will also bring you together from the west.

6 I will say to people in the north,

“Give them back!”

And I will say to people in the south,

“Do not stop them!”

Bring my sons from places that are far away.

Bring my daughters from the ends of the earth.

7 Bring back everyone who belongs to me.

I created them,

so that they would bring honour to me.

I made them who they are.

Yes, I made them!

8 So bring the people to me.

They have eyes, but they are blind!

They have ears, but they are deaf!

9 Tell the people of all nations to come together.

Did any of their gods tell us what would happen?

If anyone heard them speak the truth,

they should bring those people to this court.

Then they can tell us that they were right.

People could say, “They spoke the truth.” ’

10 The Lord says to his people,

‘You are the people who must say that I am right.

I have chosen you as my servant.

I chose you so that you may know me,

and also believe in me.

Then you would understand that I am the true God.

There has never been any other god except me,

and there never will be.

11 I am the Lord, I alone.

There is no other saviour, except me.

12 I promised to save you,

and I did what I said I would do.

I told everyone what I had done.

There was no foreign god among you,

who did that for you.

So you are the people who must say

that I am the only true God.’

That is what the Lord says.

13 ‘Today and every day, I am God.

If I hold you in my hand,

nobody can take you away from my power.

When I do something,

nobody can change it.’

14 The Lord is your Redeemer, Israel's Holy God. He says this:

‘I will send an army to attack Babylon,

so that you, my people, will be safe.

I will cause all the Babylonians to run away.

They were proud of their great ships,

but now they will use them to escape from their enemies.

15 I am the Lord, your Holy God.

I am the one who created Israel.

I am your King.’

16 The Lord is the one who made a road through the sea for you to cross. You went on a dry path in the middle of the deep water. 17 He led the enemy's great army, with their chariots and their horses, to chase you. They all fell down and the water drowned them. Their lives finished, like the flame of a lamp that stops burning.

18 The Lord did all that for you, but now he says,

‘Forget those things that happened a long time ago.

Do not think about past events.

19 Look! Now I will do something that is new!

It is already beginning to happen.

Surely, you can recognize it.

Yes, I will make a road through the desert.

I will make streams in the wilderness.

20 The wild animals in the desert praise me,

including the jackals and the owls.

They praise me because I put water in the desert,

and streams in the wilderness.

I am giving water to the people that I have chosen,

so that they will not be thirsty.

21 They are the people that I made for myself,

so that they would praise me aloud.

22 But you Israelites, Jacob's descendants,

you did not call to me to help you.

You became tired of serving me.

23 You did not bring sheep to me as burnt offerings.

You did not make sacrifices to me,

to show that you respect me.

I did not make it difficult for you,

when I asked you to bring offerings to me.

When I asked you to burn incense to worship me,

that should not have made you tired.

24 You did not buy any spices

to offer them to me.

You did not bring me the fat from your sacrifices

to make me happy.

Instead, you have made it difficult for me,

because of all your sins.

All the evil things that you do

have caused me to become very tired.

25 But I am the one who removes your sins

when you do not obey me.

I, the Lord, do that, because of who I am.

I do not hold your sins in my mind.

26 So let us talk together about what has happened.

Show me why you think that you are right!

27 Your first ancestor did not obey me.

43:27‘Your first ancestor’ may mean Jacob (Israel). He was the ancestor of the Israelite nation.

Your leaders and teachers turned against me.

28 So I caused the priests of your temple

to become ashamed.

I caused enemies to destroy Israel.

I let them insult Jacob's descendants.’