This people have I formed for myself: they shall shew forth my praise.Isaiah 43:21(Darby)
What a wonderful example of God’s loving-kindness and gracious patience towards His people is discovered in the pages of Isaiah, and what graphic details are painted of Jesus, the suffering Servant, Who was despised and rejected of men. What a poignant portrait of the sinless Lamb of God Who was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities so that He could die an ignominious death as the sacrifice for our sin.
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and was smitten of God for our sakes – so that by grace through faith in His selfless, sacrificial work on Calvary’s Cross, we might be forgiven of our sin, brought back into fellowship with God, clothed in Christ's perfect righteousness, receive access to the throne of grace, and be endowed with the riches of God’s abundant blessings towards us – in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No wonder that, without exception, those of us who are His blood-bought children rejoice to sing forth His praises - not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving ourselves up into His services and by walking before Him all the days of our life, in holiness and righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord, our God and Saviour.
No surprise that God purposed that in the ages to come He would use the Body of Christ, which is the Church, as a demonstration of the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. What joy to know that collectively, the Body of Christ will be used to display the immeasurable riches of God's grace towards us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ Jesus died for us. No wonder we read that: "The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise."
But we must never forget that Israel is the nation to whom Isaiah is speaking specifically, and although there is much that we can apply to our own lives and Christian walk, it was Israel who was given the command to sing forth the greatness of God to the surrounding nations. Israel was given the command to tell all people groups, who were dead in trespasses and sins, of God’s gracious character and His redeeming love.
It was Israel that was called to proclaim to all people that their promised Messiah of Israel was the coming King of kings and Prince of Peace – and to Israel was given the responsibility of being a light to lighten the Gentile nations. Israel was to be the voice that told the nations that the coming Messiah was the One chosen by God as the Saviour of the whole world and Kinsman-Redeemer of all humanity.
But Israel rejected their heavenly calling and crucified their Messiah. Their desire was salvation from the Roman empire rather than the salvation of their souls - and so the Lord called the Church into being to sing forth the greatness of God to the sea of humanity in the unsaved nations, and to tell of the gracious character and redeeming love of Israel’s rejected Kinsman-Redeemer. During the time that Israel is set aside, it is the Church that has been called to preach the gospel of grace and proclaim the Saviour of the world to Jew and Gentile alike so that whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, by grace through faith in Christ.
We must never forget that Israel is the nation to whom Isaiah is speaking, and we must always remember that the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Israel, the nation that God formed for Himself, will one day return to be His witnesses to the world. After the Church has been removed at the Rapture, it is the people of Israel who will show forth His praises to the nations.
Israel will, one day, fulfil their calling for they are precious in His sight. But for now, the Christian Church is called to be His witness to the world, for we too are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God – so that we too may declare the praises of Him Who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.
What a wonderful God You are. Your grace, wisdom, love, and patience toward me, causes me to rejoice greatly. There is nothing to commend me to You, and yet You have called me and chosen me, saved me and fashioned me to be Your witness to this generation, and in the world to come, life everlasting. Thank You for Your gracious character and redeeming love. May I sing forth Your praise, not only with my lips but in my life, forever and ever. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.