“I Give Men in Exchange for You …”

Twice in Hebrews the writer quotes an Old Testament passage and then locates it with the word “somewhere” (Hebrews 2:6 and 4:4). So I was somewhat biblical in not remembering the passage’s location that I quoted in the sermon this past Sunday. But alas, I don’t want to make a habit of that. The writer to the Hebrews only did it twice.

I knew it was in the 40’s of Isaiah, but here it is, in its context – Isaiah 43:4:

Isaiah 43:1–7 (ESV): But now thus says the Lord,
  he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
  when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3  For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
  I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4  Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
  I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.

5  Fear not, for I am with you; 
I will bring your offspring from the east, 
and from the west I will gather you. 
6  I will say to the north, Give up, 
and to the south, Do not withhold; 
  bring my sons from afar 
and my daughters from the end of the earth, 
7  everyone who is called by my name, 
whom I created for my glory, 
whom I formed and made.” 

God is utterly sovereign, and He does whatever He pleases in His sovereign love to redeem His people. He will go to the furthest lengths to secure us, and thus He is with us, against every opponent, enemy and obstacle. 

Of course, as we see from so many threads of the Bible, the New Testament does not downplay or dilute this principle, but instead heightens it. God goes further. Because He loves us, He gave a man for us – His only Son. The hope of all the nations, He exchanged for souls of His people. So as we face a new year, the command remains: fear not, for God is with us. For this LORD God is our Savior, our Keeper, our Friend. 

Cordially in Him,