Today we return to Isaiah 43. It’s fair to say that I am in love with this chapter of Scripture. It helps us see both God’s Law and God’s Gospel, our rebellion and the promise of a Savior, in a way that is clear and ready to share.
Isaiah itself is such a gem. My study Bible* tells me that no other book is quoted more frequently in the New Testament as Isaiah, and some commentators call it “the Fifth Gospel.” In just three weeks of our eight week study, I think you can see why. Isaiah holds so much promise, without ignoring our sinful state. It recognizes our need and His willingness as our Savior.
That said, open to Isaiah 43 again, and see how God speaks to all nations through His prophets. Look at Isaiah 43:1-7. I’ll highlight verses 3-7 below.
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 communicates His love for all nations here. This promise comes immediately after God declares, “I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life…” (v. 4)
God is nothing if not congruent. When the world would claim that the Bible contradicts itself, verses like this help us to see the fullness of God and understanding comes when He opens our eyes to the page. What exhortation is at the very beginning of verse 5 as a pivot in the passage?
“Fear not, for I am with you…”
We may not understand completely what God is doing at any given time, or ever! But He promises His presence. In these verses He says in effect, (forgive my rough paraphrase)
I know this is hard to understand. I know there is sacrifice. I know that it’s confusing.
But fear not! I am still there. I am still God over all.
I do care. I am Love.
Each and every being on this Earth is my precious child.
And how does God refer to those he is gathering from the ends of the earth?
Oh, girls. I can barely take it, it’s so beautiful. You see, I like the idea of being God’s child. I love the picture of resting safe in His strong arms, looking to Him as a faithful and true parent, with concern and grace and wisdom. But ever better…
I want to be His daughter.
My dad died when I was about 18-months-old. Until recently, I hadn’t realized what an impact on my life this was. Every girl needs a dad. Someone to tell her she’s pretty, someone that lights up when she walks into the room, and someone to teach her who holds her value and it isn’t a man.
If you haven’t had this in your life, I’m very sorry. Often times, but not always, God fills in the gaps with other people in our lives. Sometimes we have only Him. I know it’s hard. It is a huge loss. Mourn it, sister. Give it to Him. Perhaps you are the one that can understand, better than any of us, the value and the need for our Faithful Father God. Everything we need is stripped bare, but never doubt that He is the Faithful Father you have been missing.
My step-dad adopted me when I was 5 years old. He never fails to make me feel like the prettiest girl in the room. He gets up at 5am to make me breakfast sandwiches and good coffee when I visit, not wanting to miss even a moment of conversation together. He stands in the driveway when I pull my minivan out to head back to Ohio. When I round the bend, sometimes…he’s still standing there.
God is our double time father. He made and created us (Look back at Isaiah 43:7). Then he adopts us in Christ Jesus. More on this tomorrow. For today, let’s focus on God’s affection for His daughters.
Please turn to Mark 5:21-43 (or you can go rogue with the parallel passages in Luke 8 and Matthew 9, but Mark is the most complete account). I will highlight Mark 5:22-27, 35-36, and 41-42 for want of space below.
Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.
Look at the verses again. Highlight or underline anytime the word daughter, child, or little girl is utilized.
When Jesus sees us, he doesn’t just see a mass of people. He is concerned with the communal, the group, the body of believers, the nations, but he is also concerned with each and everyone of us and our inherent uniqueness. It strikes me that Jesus asks the question, “Who touched me?” (v. 31), not for His own benefit, but for hers. The woman was already healed immediately when she touched His robe.
But Jesus reaches out and invites her into relationship with one word – daughter.
Jesus then tenderly speaks to Jarius’s daughter. “Talitha” is an Aramaic word. It is a very unique phrase, a feminine word, specific to young women. Strong’s asserts that it is more correctly translated maiden or even damsel.* Jesus is no fairy tale, but He knows a girl’s heart, for sure.
Daughter, maiden, little girl, child, beloved. Could we want for more endearment?
Jesus fills in all the gaps where life has left us empty. We have a perfect God who declares us Sons and Daughters of the One True King. He is so faithful.
How do you think the relationship of Dad is a blessing and can be confusing in our relationship with God?
What terms of endearment mean the most to you, in Scripture, in your marriage, in your family, anywhere? What loving words and names speak grace and love into your life?
*The Lutheran Study Bible published by Concordia Publishing House