But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. . . .
“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the Lord. “You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God—there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior.”
(Isaiah 43:1-4, 10-11)
God created Israel and made it special to him. The people of Israel sinned and broke their covenant with God and would be exiled for it, as Isaiah prophesied. But after that sad period, God promised to restore his people. Since God promised to protect Israel in times of trouble, Israel’s task was to be a witness (43:10; 44:8), telling the world who God is and what he has done.
We are important to God, and he ransomed us from our slavery to sin and summoned us by name (43:1)! When we bear God’s wonderful name, we must never do anything that would bring shame to it. Believers today share the responsibility of being God’s witnesses. Do people know what God is like through your words and example? They cannot see God directly, but they can see him reflected in you.
Going through the “deep waters” of difficulty (43:2) will either cause you to drown or force you to grow stronger. If you go in your own strength, you are more likely to drown. If you invite the Lord to go with you, he will protect you.