Isaiah 43:21ff, Religious service is the flower or result of a life of devotion and service to YHVH and our fellow man. It is not the religious service itself that matters to YHVH, but the condition of one’s heart and the life of righteousness that precedes resulting in the religious service that counts. Israel had lost sight of this, and their religious service had become empty, ritualistic and meaningless to YHVH. Additionally, the offering presented to YHVH had to cost the offerer dearly. Though Yeshua fulfilled the sacrificial system by his death at Golgotha by becoming the ultimate sacrifice (and it cost him dearly), if we are in Yeshua we must follow in his footsteps. How is this? (Read Ps 51:15–16; 34:18; Isa 66:1–3; Rom 6:3–13; Gal 2:20 and Heb 13:15–16.) Remember, it is not what we do, or how we do it that matters to YHVH as much as why we do it. Why do you do what you do in your spiritual exercises? If it is for any other reason than to draw near to our Father in heaven, to love him, and to become like him, then your motives may be questionable.
Isaiah 43:23–24, The purpose of the offerings was to bring the offerer nearer to Elohim. Israel had lost that perspective and therefore YHVH states, “Not for me have you brought the lamb of your elevation offering ….” What were the wrong motives on Israel’s part with which YHVH took exception? What are your motives for obeying YHVH? In the Christian world, the need for “fire insurance” against the fires of “hell” is a major though sadly misguided motive for many to be a follower of Jesus. For some who are returning to the Hebrew roots of their faith, obedience may be simply a knee-jerk reaction against some of the false teachings of Christianity, or it may be about proving to others that they are better or more righteous than others. Or maybe we’re doing it so seek the approval of others? Perhaps it is to earn points with YHVH, making our obedience a works-based legalism. What is at the root of your motives? This are all wrong and misguided motives and are displeasing to the Almighty.
Isaiah 44:3–4, Pour water on him that is thirsty. In Scripture, water symbolizes both the Torah-Word and Spirit of Elohim. Is your innermost soul like parched ground that is begging for water? (Read Pss 63:1–11 and 84:2.) Is this your heart-cry and desire? When our offerings are presented to YHVH out of right heart motives, then heaven and earth align to bless the offerer. The physical land will be blessed with rain in due season, even as YHVH will bless the spiritual land of our lives with spiritual rain from the highest heaven. When YHVH blesses his people they sprout between the blades of grass and become like willow trees by a river. Grass is thick and what can possibly squeeze between blades of grass, much less grow? But YHVH can pour out his Spirit on your life and you will literally shoot up to tower over the grass like a willow tree. Willows require much water and will grow quickly into large trees. Some species related to the willow such as poplars and cottonwoods can easily grow to be 130 feet tall with trunks six feet in diameter if they are planted on a riverbank, for example. But they started out as an indistinguishable sprout amongst the blades of grass in the brush and weeds along the river. Cry out to YHVH for his divine river of life to flow into your life so that you can rise heavenward above your circumstances and setbacks. (Read Luke 11:9–13.) Isaiah is addressing the plight of the descendants of Jacob while in their spiritual captivity in galut (in exile). We are collectively in galut. But if each person individually begins to break out of his or her personal galut through the power of the resurrected Redeemer of Israel—Yeshua, through whom we are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37), then the entire body-politic of the nation of Israel will move forward spiritually out of exile and toward the Promised Land. Soon there will be a mighty forest of willow trees. (Read Ps 1:3.)
Isaiah 44:6–8, I am the first and the last … Is there any Elohim beside me? Who is the First and the Last? (Read Rev 1:11,17; 2:8; 22:13.) In the first part of verse six, we find the interesting phrase: “Thus says YHVH the King of Israel and his redeemer YHVH of Hosts; I am the first and the last …” To whom is this a clear reference? Who is redeeming Israel collectively and as well as one life at a time? With redemption comes deliverance, victory and eternal life. There is no possibility of defeat in the end when the one and only Elohim of the universe is on your side!
Isaiah 44:9–20, These verses discuss the absurd futility of idol worship. How would we define modern-day idolatry? Quite simply, it is anything in your life that takes precedence over your relationship with YHVH-Yeshua. What do you spend most of your time, thought life, energy and resources pursuing—God or mammon? Be honest and do not lie to yourself. Your heart will convict you. Down deep you know the real answer to this question. Many people put YHVH into a box and let him out of that box once a week when they are with other believers, and then put him back into that box when they are back alone. This is gross idolatry and hypocrisy. Idolatry is the religion of those in spiritual exile. They are those who worship the created instead of the Creator (read Romans 1). YHVH’s people Israel have gotten mixed up in these false religious concepts and must come out (Rev 18:4).
Isaiah 44:21–23, Read and meditate on these verses. This is our destiny. This will happen and is happening, for YHVH has declared it. Who eternally remains at the center of Israel’s redemption and glorious future? (Read Acts 17:28.) Do you love him with all your heart? If not, ask YHVH to enlarge (or widen, make room) your heart, as David prayed (Ps 119:32).