Today: [Isaiah 43] The Jacob Mentality: In chapter 43 of Isaiah we see that God CREATED Jacob, but He FORMED ISRAEL. This speaks to us of the new birth. We all become new creations in Christ when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. We are born with a fallen nature as Jacob, condemned to a life of struggle and self-loathing. In Christ, however the old passes away and we as Jacob take on the entitlement of one who as Israel has prevailed in the things of God. Are you tired of the struggle? Are you weary of facing life’s challenges with only your own meager resources to defend yourself? In this chapter, we see God speaking to us through the words of Isaiah that He will help us and deliver us, first from ourselves and our own flawed character – and then from every offending circumstance.
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[Isa 43:1-28 KJV] 1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I [am] the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt [for] thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I [am] with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 [Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 8 Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, [It is] truth. 10 Ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I [am] he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when [there was] no strange [god] among you: therefore ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I [am] God.
In verse 1 of our chapter today there is a distinction made between Jacob and Israel. Jacob speaks of who we are in the natural, outside of Christ. Jacob was Esau’s twin who struggled with Esau in the womb. When Esau was born Jacob’s hand following him out – grasping Esau’s ankle. Thus, Jacob’s name means “Heel Grabber” or “Usurper”. Do you ever feel like everything is all up to you? Do you ever allow yourself to think that in the struggle of life only those who scratch and fight for every advantage will make it to the top? This is the Jacob Mentality and in some form or another it is found in each of us. Over time the battle between Jacob and Esau came to a head and Jacob ran for his life. He wound up working for his uncle Laban who was much like his young nephew Jacob. Everything Jacob did God would bless and Laban would try to take advantage of. Laban changed Jacob’s wages 10 times, each time trying to take away from Jacob all the blessing that God had given him. Do you ever feel taken advantage of? Do you ever feel as though you just can’t get a break and everyone is out to get you? This is the Jacob mentality.
All of us struggle with feeling alone and feeling like a victim. When you were born there was in you and inherent fallen nature that is the Jacob nature. But the time came when Jacob wrestled with the angel and became another man. He went from being a usurper to being Israel, a prince with God who prevailed. This is a type of the new birth. God wants us to move from the Jacob Mentality to the Israel Entitlement. It is true that Israel limped the rest of his life after wrestling with the angel – but it was a mark of a life yielded to God. Jacob held on to the angel and would not let him go until the angel touched him in the hollow of his thigh. You might try to change, to become a better person, to cease from your own struggles but until you are touched by the hand of heaven you will never be able to do as the Old Timers were fond of saying “Let Go and Let God…” Letting go – releasing your life in yielded abandonment to God only comes when God Himself touches you and you are forever changed and your walk as Jacob’s was is forever changed. He created Jacob but He formed Israel by the blow that crippled him in the natural but entitled him in the Spirit to go out and be the man of God he was destined to be.
13 Yea, before the day [was] I [am] he; and [there is] none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? 14 Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry [is] in the ships. 15 I [am] the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. 16 Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; 17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. 18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. 21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. 22 But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. 23 Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. 24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. 25 I, [even] I, [am] he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. 27 Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me. 28 Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.
In verse 10 God declares through the prophet Isaiah that He is God and beside Him there is no other. One translation adds “I looked and I couldn’t find anyone other than who I AM!” Thus in verse 11 the Father proclaims that beside Him there is no savior. Our own strength cannot save us. Our wits and clever choices cannot save us. Our education cannot save us. Political leaders or Military Might cannot save us. Only God can save us – all else is a false confidence that once leaned upon will ultimately pierce us through with many sorrows. What is it that we put our confidence in? We put our confidence in what we are loathe to lose or to let go of. That is what Jesus said to the rich, young ruler:
[Luk 18:22 KJV] 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
What was Jesus after? The man’s money? He didn’t need his money. He was after the man’s heart. He was attempting to deliver the young man from the one thing that would keep him from God – his own self-reliance. The following verse tells us the sad outcome:
[Luk 18:23 KJV] 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
We might judge this young man for his foolish decision but the words of Jesus in John 6:67 echo in our ears:
[Jhn 6:67 KJV] 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
There is no bargaining in this affair. The multitude clamored after Jesus for the loaves and the fishes, but Jesus was calling them into a covenantal abandonment. Why? Because as verse 11 tells us only God can save us. Beside Him there is no other. In verse 14 the Lord speaks to the people in captivity 100 years before Babylon carried Judah away in chains. He declares that He is their redeemer if they will only look to Him and not to man. In verse 18 He declares that the former things are to be forgotten for the Lord will do a new thing in the earth. That new thing from the season of their captivity was to come 500 years later in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 25 the scope of the plan of God is revealed when the Father declares the He is the one who blots out our transgression and will not remember our sin. He then tells the captives PUT ME IN REMEMBRANCE. Here is the prayer that God is disposed to hear – the prayer reminding Him of His promise. We may feel that is disrespectful but what God is after is to keep His promises in the forefront of our minds and know that because of the shed blood of Calvary we are no longer disqualified but heirs, joint-heirs with Christ of all that heaven affords, so says the prophet Isaiah in his heartfelt declaration to the people.
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