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I greatly enjoy producing YouTube videos with Rudy Ross. Rudy is Jewish and I am a Gentile. I occasionally tell Rudy that the presence of Jewish people on earth is a testimony to the reality of God.
Given what has happened to them, the Hebrew people should have wiped the race off the face of the earth. Yet, they are still here and since 1948 have lived in their own country.
Isaiah prophesied the role that the Hebrews would play in chapters 43 and 44. The existence of Jewish people demonstrates the reality of God and his utter superiority over idols.
God has not left out Gentiles in revealing the reality of his presence and character. We, too, have a role to play.
Blind and Deaf Witnesses
The picture of God’s people in 700 B.C. was not favorable. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah highlight how God’s people were blind to his activity. In spiritual ignorance, they attempted to blend the service of the One True God with that of the Canaanite gods.
Today, the situation has not changed for God’s people. While we profess faith in God, we often rely on the economy, politicians, entertainment, and more for the “good” life.
Even though we frequently fail, God uses Jews and Gentiles to establish the reality of his presence in the world.
Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
who are deaf, yet have ears!
Let all the nations gather together,
and let the peoples assemble.
Who among them declared this,
and foretold to us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to justify them,
and let them hear and say, “It is true.”
You are my witnesses, says the Lord,
and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me. (Isaiah 43.8-10)
The scene is a courtroom where the nations and gods come to hear testimony. Quite fallible people are seated in the witness stand. Their testimony is what makes people say, “It is true.”
What is true? God is the only True God. All other gods and idols are poor substitutes.
God’s people must “know” and “believe” and “understand” that he is I AM. “I AM” comes from the covenant name that God gave to Moses (Exodus 3.14-15).
Only God can say, “I AM.” We can say, “He is,” but only God can make the I AM claim.
If anyone knows, believes, and understands that God is I AM, it is because he has graciously opened our spiritual eyes and ears to that truth.
The same is true, when we know, believe, and understand that Jesus is I AM. Four of eight examples of “I AM” statements in John are:
— Bread of Life – Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6.35).
— The Light of the World – Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8.12).
— The Good Shepherd – Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10.11)
— The Resurrection and Life – Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11.25-26).
Let’s not forget that we are spiritually blind and deaf to God’s activity. Only his grace allows us to see his being as I AM.
Let the World Know
How do we cooperate with God to help a blind and deaf world turn from idols to the One True God? Isaiah points the way.
I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses, says the Lord.
I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
there is no one who can deliver from my hand;
I work and who can hinder it? (Isaiah 43.11-13)
Each verse provides a clue as to how spiritually blind and deaf people can be used to help an idolatrous and unbelieving world experience God.
(1) Salvation – God revealed his love and power when he saved over a million Hebrews from generations of slavery in Egypt.
The name Jesus means “to save.” “You are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1.21).
The healed blind man stood in the witness box before the religious leaders and said, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9.25).
When we tell of God’s salvation, we join the multitudes who testify to the world that God is I AM and the Savior.
(2) Devotion – Some Jewish acts of devotion may seem foreign to Gentiles. Circumcision, observance of food laws, and Sabbath-keeping are three examples.
Jewish people have been persecuted for observing these three acts of worship. Every time a Jewish person refused to break with these observances, often under severe penalties, they witness the reality of the One True God.
When Christians exercise their faith in Jesus above all of the idols of modern society, we also give witness to the reality of God.
(3) Deliverance – The Hebrew people were delivered from Exile in Babylon through an act of God. They were weak and powerless but served a mighty God.
The first step of Alcoholic’s Anonymous begins with a statement of powerlessness over alcohol and drugs. Steps two and three involve a belief in and surrender to the God who delivers people from bondage.
I praise God for the large number of people I know who have been delivered from drugs and alcohol. God used the program of AA to lead them to himself and freedom.
Their sobriety is a testimony to their friends and family that there is One True God, who loves us and sets us free to new life.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video of these blog articles on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy is Jewish, a Christian, and an excellent Bible student. The videos present insights from a dialogue with the two of us.
I am indebted to Dr. John Oswalt, who has written an excellent two-volume commentary on Isaiah for insights into the Book of Isaiah.
Please email your prayer requests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team will pray for you.