It was a crisp, beautiful morning. I’d been in bed with a cold for several days, but escaped to church and now sat on a park bench in the sunshine.
“Isaiah 43:1,” I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, so I turned to the familiar passage. I started to read down through the chapter, but He pulled my attention back. “Isaiah 43:1.” I moved my eyes to the top of the column where the words hooked my heart and stopped me firm. In moments I saw details I’d missed before.
“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.’”
Although Isaiah is speaking specifically to the nation of Israel in this verse, I want to look at this passage with Israel, the man, in mind.
For the first season of his life, Jacob lived up to the meaning of his name: heel-catcher, deceiver, and supplanter. Not only did he trick his elder brother (Esau) out of his birthright, but later manipulated his father to steal Esau’s blessing. At the urging of his mother, Jacob then fled to live with an uncle to escape Esau’s vengeance. From all logical viewpoints, Jacob had burned his bridges. Surely, even God had turned His back on him by now. But our Creator knows what we often don’t know about ourselves.Our Creator knows what we often don’t know about ourselves. Click To Tweet
God created Jacob, yes. God gave him breath and life. But as one born in the line of Adam, Jacob’s sinful tendencies would almost destroy him. Even still, God knew Jacob was meant to carry His glory. Jehovah knew Jacob was created in His very own image with the potential to lead His people with honor. So with tenacious love and vision, God began to form Jacob into his true name and identity: Israel, meaning God prevails.
Look again at Isaiah 43:1.
O Jacob: “listen to the Lord who created you.”
- God spoke directly to how Jacob saw himself — the supplanter.
O Israel: “the One who formed you says…”
- God also spoke to Jacob’s true identity — Israel, the one through whom God prevails.
God speaks to us in the same way.
Sometimes, when I’ve gotten distracted, I’ve looked back over my shoulder and gazed at the created Amy. I see the fear and lack of confidence. I recognize the imperfections and how I’m hiding in the shadows. And I’ve started to believe that’s who I am. I could identify with that Amy. I had lived out many days through her filters.
But as I gazed at those fuzzy, old movie reels, I heard a gentle, firm Voice. “Amy, My fearless, mighty friend – I have something for you to do.”
At first, my heart leapt at His words. Then I glanced back over my shoulder and thought, “Surely He doesn’t mean me. I can’t do that because…” And I’d fill in the blank. But again, “Amy, My daughter – My favor and goodness are upon you. I will accomplish more than you can think or imagine through My power at work within you… For you are Mine.”
And the persistence of my Lord prevailed.
These moments of looking back, of thinking I’m still what I used to be, have lessened with each step forward. More and more I see my true identity in Christ and embrace where it’s taking me. I choose to believe His whispers, to laugh and say, “You’re right! I am fearless!” And on another adventure we go.
May I encourage you…
If you’re stuck in a certain image of yourself… Listen carefully to the Holy Spirit’s whispers. Listen to the One who has ransomed you.
- Who does He say you are?
- How is He realigning you to truth?
- What is He calling you into?
God always speaks to your potential; your destiny. Even in discipline He points to who you truly are. And in the midst He whispers: “Do not be afraid… you are Mine.”God always speaks to your potential; your destiny. Click To Tweet
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I’d like to make one last note:
I mentioned earlier, God is actually speaking to the nation of Israel through Isaiah in the above verse. God is reminding them that He created the nation of Israel, and is also forming them into their true identity so they can fulfill their destiny.
God still forms nations today. He is forming my nation and your nation, wherever you may be reading this, as we allow Him to form each of us individually. May we each one lean into our transformation, that the world around us will also be transformed by the King of glory.
Come, Kingdom of God.
In my nation.
As it is in heaven.