Isaiah 42:10-43:13; Ephesians 2:11-22; Psalms 68:1-6; Proverbs 17:9-11
OT: “Now this is what the Lord says — the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel — “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and the rivers will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, and the flame will not burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior. I have given Egypt as a ransom for you, Cush and Seba in your place. Because you are precious in my sight and honored, and I love you, I will give people in exchange for you and nations instead of your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’ Bring my sons from far away, and my daughters from the ends of the earth — everyone who bears my name and is created for my glory. I have formed them; indeed, I have made them… I — I am the Lord. Besides me, there is no Savior. I alone declared, saved, and proclaimed — and not some foreign god among you. So you are my witnesses” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “and I am God.” (Isaiah 43:1-7, 11-12 CSB)
In the culture of that day, if a man died childless, causing his land and inheritance to be lost, the next of kin could buy back his dead relative’s property, marry his widow, and restore his relative’s heritage. This was called redeeming, and the near relative who restored the family line was called a kinsman redeemer. We see that played out in the story of Ruth. Because of Israel’s rebellion and rejection of God, the people lost everything to the Assyrian and Babylonian invaders. When it seemed like the hope of Israel had ended, God said through Isaiah, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” God wasn’t just their close relative – He was their creator, the One that called them out from the rest of the world for a divine purpose. Just as He had maintained His promise to Abraham by redeeming his descendants from bondage in Egypt, He would maintain the covenant that He had established with all the patriarchs that had gone before by redeeming Israel from exile and reestablishing Israel in the land of promise once again.
The initial fulfillment of that prophecy occurred some 70 years later, as the Jews were allowed to return to the land, rebuild their temple, and restore the worship of God. However a greater fulfillment of this prophecy has occurred since then. God the creator, out of His great love for all of humanity, redeemed mankind from the bondage of sin and death through the shed blood of His only begotten Son. Only God was able to accomplish such a task. There is no way to salvation except through Jesus Christ… there is no Savior but Him. Through Christ and the glorious gospel of the Kingdom, God calls people by name from the North, South, East and West to place their faith in His Son Jesus Christ, experience redemption and salvation, have restored to them the fullness of their purpose, and receive the glorious riches of their intended inheritance.
NT: “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross by which he put the hostility to death. He came and proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:13-22 CSB)
The audience that Paul wrote to in Ephesus was a primarily gentile audience. Before Christ, gentiles were excluded from the inheritance of Israel and the blessings promised to the chosen people of God. But in Christ Jesus, the notion of Jew and gentile was done away with. Through faith in Christ a new “race” of people was created, where both Jew and gentile were reconciled – to each other and to God – resulting in peace. Just as Isaiah prophesied a calling back to the Lord that would result in peace, Jesus Christ proclaimed the good news of peace to all through Him – peace to those who were near (Jews) and peace to those who were far off (gentiles). Through faith in Christ, all have access to the Father… all have access to the glorious inheritance of God’s chosen people. All who place their faith in Christ and are redeemed by His blood are chosen. No longer is there a wall of division and animosity between Jew and gentile. In Christ, all are citizens of the kingdom, all are saints, all are members of God’s household, and all are living stones that are placed together to form God’s holy temple and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. In Christ, there is no “us” and “them”… there are no haves and have-nots. All who place saving faith in Christ are redeemed, at peace, joint heirs with Jesus, and recipients of God’s promised blessing of grace through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Psalms: “Sing to God! Sing praises to his name. Exalt him who rides on the clouds — his name is the Lord — and celebrate before him. God in his holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows. God provides homes for those who are deserted. He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a scorched land.” (Psalms 68:4-6 CSB)
God has a special place in His heart for the outcasts and the marginalized. Widows and orphans – women without a husband and children without a father – were cut off from any type of inheritance. They had to provide for themselves with no hope for a prosperous future. To the widow and the fatherless, God steps in and becomes their redeemer. God becomes a Father to children who have lost their father. He becomes an advocate (champion) for the woman who has lost her husband. He provides a home for those who have no family. Those who had to sell themselves into bondage, He sets free and prospers them. What a good, gracious and merciful God, and worthy of our praise and exaltation!
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your great redemption. Though I had lost all rights to an inheritance of blessing because of my sin, You redeemed me with Your blood that was shed on the cross. By placing my faith in You, I have been adopted into Your family, united with all the saints, and blessed with all the rights and privileges of being Your son. You are worthy of all my praise, and I will gladly give it to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.