God Says I Will Call You Out Of Distant Places

Title: God Says I Will Call You Out Of Distant Places

Bible Book: Isaiah 43 : 5-13

Author: David E. Owen

Subject: God, Nearness of; Call of God



Last week, we looked at Isaiah 43 at one of the great resolutions of God.

Specifically, in Isaiah 43:1-4, we noticed that…

God Says “I Will Continue With You In The Difficult Places”

Today, it’s on my heart to look at Isaiah 43:5-13, and here we find that…

God Says “I Will Call You Out Of The Distant Places”

As we mentioned last week, before we find “The Grace Of God In His Redemption” in Isaiah 43:1, we first see “The Government Of God In His Retribution” in Isaiah 42:21-25.

Because of Israel’s sin God would allow two things to happen to them as seen in verse 22…

1. They Would Be “Spoiled” - robbed & ravaged

2. They Would Be “Snared” - as prisoners & as prey

But then when we come to Isaiah 43:1, the tone changes as it says…

(Isaiah 43:1) But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

Though it seems sometimes like we are so far away from God, He has not given up on His people. He declares His first resolution concerning His continuance in Isaiah 43:2 when He says, “I will be with thee!”

Then in Isaiah 43:5, He makes another resolution concerning His call as He says, “I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west.”

You’ll notice that the first resolution is preceded in verse 1 with the words “Fear not.” And again in verse 5, the second resolution is preceded by the words “Fear not.” In fact, the phrase “Fear not” is used eight times in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 7:4; 35:4; 41:13,14; 43:1; 43:5; 44:2; 54:4). Eight is the number of new beginnings, and it is as if God is saying through Isaiah, “Fear not. Though you will be carried away into captivity, and though things may look bleak at times, there will be a new beginning!”

Some of my resolutions have been less than reliable. But when God says, “I will,” you can rest assured that He will do what He says. He will keep His word.

Matthew Henry explained the primary application of our text for today by saying…

Some of the seed of Israel were dispersed into all countries, east, west, north, and south, or into all the parts of the country of Babylon; but those whose spirits God stirred up to go to Jerusalem should be fetched in from all parts; divine grace should reach those that lay most remote, and at the greatest distance from each other; and, when the time should come, nothing should prevent their coming together to return in a body, in answer to that prayer (Psalm 106:47 – Gather us from among the heathen), and in performance of that promise (Deuteronomy 30:4 – If any of thine be driven to the utmost parts of heaven, thence will the Lord thy God gather thee), which we find pleaded on behalf of the children of the captivity (Nehemiah 1:9 – though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there).

I would like to make an application of the text by saying that God is still calling people unto Himself from every direction, and as we think about this truth from this text…

I. Let’s Consider The Geography Of The Call

A. God’s Call Extends To The Exiled

(Isaiah 43:5) Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;

The Barnes’ Notes Commentary says…

Vitringa understands this of the spiritual descendants of the Jews, or of those who should believe on the Messiah among the Gentiles, and who should become the people of God. But the more natural interpretation is, to refer it to the Jews who were scattered abroad during the exile at Babylon, and as a promise to re-collect them again in their own land … from all parts of the earth; from all lands where they were scattered. (The fact) that they were driven to other places than Babylon on the invasion of their land by the Chaldeans, is abundantly manifest in the historical records (Jeremiah 9:16; Ezekiel 5:12; 17:21; Amos 9:9; Zechariah 2:6).

1. Notice The Directions That Are Mentioned Here

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “Isaiah was referring primarily to the restoration from Babylon (from the east).”

When you consider east and west, you are talking about endless directions. Unlike going north and south, when you go east or west, there is never a point of destination. These directions represent a total separation, a total disconnect. That’s why the psalmist described the removal of our transgressions like this…

(Psalms 103:12) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

2. Notice The Drawing That Is Mentioned Here

God said, “I will bring thy seed from the east.”

bring – Hebrew 935. bow', bo; a prim. root; to go or come (in a wide variety of applications):--abide, apply, attain, X be, befall, + besiege, bring (forth, in, into, to pass), call, carry, X certainly, (cause, let, thing for) to come (against, in, out, upon, to pass), depart, X doubtless again, + eat, + employ, (cause to) enter (in, into, -tering, -trance, -try), be fallen, fetch, + follow, get, give, go (down, in, to war), grant, + have, X indeed, [in-]vade, lead, lift [up], mention, pull in, put, resort, run (down), send, set, X (well) stricken [in age], X surely, take (in), way.

This word “bring” has the idea of a return. When you go east, you will always be going east until there is a turning point. God says ‘I am the turning point.’

Then He says, I will “gather thee from the west.”

gather – Hebrew 6908. qabats, kaw-bats'; a prim. root; to grasp, i.e. collect:--assemble (selves), gather (bring) (together, selves together, up), heap, resort, X surely, take up.

This is a wonderful word, and it has the idea of a harvest. God is bringing and God is gathering; He is drawing people unto Himself.

B. God’s Call Extends To The Enslaved

(Isaiah 43:6) I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;

1. We See The Reach Of The Enslaved Ones

The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon indicates that the word “north” (OT:6828 – latsaapown) refers to the remotest parts of the north, and it suggests the hidden, dark places.

Again the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon indicates that the word “south” (OT:8486 – Uwlteeymaan) means southward at the end of the south, i.e. in the remotest south (of the land). It is a word that is chiefly poetic, (referring) literally (to) what is on the right (hand), i.e. as one faces east. The right hand speaks of favor and strength and blessing.

The indication is that God goes to the darkest places of the north and to the brightest places of the south in order to retrieve His own.

2. We See The Release Of The Enslaved Ones

“Give up” is a wonderful expression that is translated from the Hebrew word natan (OT:5414). And according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, the word means “to deliver, give, place, set up, lay, make, do.”

W. E. Vine said…

First, natan represents the action by which something is set going or actuated. Achsah asked her father Caleb to “give” her a blessing, such as a tract of land with abundant water, as her dowry; she wanted him to “transfer” it from his possession to hers (Joshua 15:19). … Natan also has a technical meaning in the area of jurisprudence, meaning to hand something over to someone. … Sometimes, natan can be used to signify “putting” (“placing”) someone into custody (2 Samuel 14:7) or into prison (Jeremiah 37:4).

God also said to the south, “Keep not back.”

keep … back – Hebrew 3607. kala', kaw-law'; a prim. root; to restrict, by act (hold back or in) or word (prohibit):--finish, forbid, keep (back), refrain, restrain, retain, shut up, be stayed, withhold.

So God is saying to the prison of the south, the prison of human favor and strength, ‘Restrain them no more; shut them up no more; withhold them no more.’

In 1891, Fanny Crosby published the words to a song that says…

North and South shall own Thy sway; East and West Thy voice obey;

Crowns and thrones before Thee fall, King of kings and Lord of all.

His call reaches every point on the compass!

C. God’s Call Extends To The Extremes

(Isaiah 43:6) I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;

1. The Statement Magnifies The Far Distance

far – Hebrew 7350. rachowq, raw-khoke'; or rachoq, raw-khoke'; from H7368; remote, lit. or fig., of place or time; spec. precious; often used adv. (with prep.):--(a-) far (abroad, far off), long ago, of old, space, great while to come.

It suggests great distance. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament indicates that…

The primary meaning … expresses the state of a person or thing as being “far” from someone or something else. In many passages there is also the notion of “being too far” as if the person or object was unreachable (Deuteronomy 12:21), or too distant to be heeded (Genesis 21:16).

No matter how far away you are, you are not unreachable to God.

The “ends of the earth” indicates the extremity and the border and the brink.

ends – Hebrew 7097. qatseh, kaw-tseh'; or (neg. only) qetseh, kay'-tseh; from H7096; an extremity (used in a great variety of applications and idioms; comp. H7093):-- X after, border, brim, brink, edge, end, [in-] finite, frontier, outmost coast, quarter, shore, (out-) side, X some, ut (-ter-) most (part).

You may have gone to the outer reaches of life; you may feel like you’ve gone to the borderland of grace; you may have gone to the very brink of destruction, but God says “bring”!

2. The Statement Magnifies The Father’s Desire

bring – Hebrew 935. bow', bo; a primary root word that means to go or come (in a wide variety of applications).

It really has the idea in this context of bringing in (or coming in) and entering. There has been an exit, but God calls for an entrance.

And God is calling for His sons…

sons – Hebrew 1121. ben, bane; from H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of lit. and fig. relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc.).

And God is calling for His daughters…

daughters – Hebrew 1323. bath, bath; from H1129 (as fem. of H1121); a daughter (used in the same wide sense as other terms of relationship, lit. and fig.):--apple [of the eye], branch, company, daughter, X first, X old, + owl, town, village.

In Lamentations 2:18, the term is translated as “the apple of thine eye.”

His call is “Come Home”!

Illustration: When the world-renowned lay preacher, Dwight Lyman Moody, lay on his deathbed in his Northfield, Massachusetts, home, Will Thompson made a special visit to inquire as to his condition. The attending physician refused to admit him to the sick­room, and Moody heard them talking just outside the bedroom door. Recognizing Thompson’s voice, he called for him to come to his bedside. Taking the Ohio poet composer by the hand, the dying evangelist said, “Will, I would rather have written “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling” than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.”

(Er­nest Kri­kor Emurian – For­ty Stor­ies of Fa­mous Gos­pel Songs)

Here are the words that Will Thompson wrote…

Verse 1 Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me;

See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me.

Verse 2 Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, Pleading for you and for me?

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies, Mercies for you and for me?

Verse 3 Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, Passing from you and from me;

Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming, Coming for you and for me.

Verse 4 O for the wonderful love He has promised, Promised for you and for me!

Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon, Pardon for you and for me.

Chorus Come home, come home, You who are weary, come home;

Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home!

II. Let’s Consider The Goal Of The Call

A. His Goal Is Reverence

(Isaiah 43:7) Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

At the beginning of this verse, there is a further word from a fatherly perspective. For as Barnes’ Notes says…

[Every one that is called by my name] To be called by the name of anyone, is synonymous with being regarded as his son, since a son bears the name of his father (see Isaiah 44:5; 48:1). The expression, therefore, means here, all who were regarded as the children of God; and the promise is, that all such should be re-gathered.

1. Notice The Aspects Of Glory

created (same as in verse 1) – Hebrew 1254. bara', baw-raw'; a prim. root; (absol.) to create; (qualified) to cut down (a wood), select, feed (as formative processes):--choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make (fat).

glory – Hebrew 3519. kabowd, kaw-bode'; rarely kabod, kaw-bode'; from H3513; prop. weight; but only fig. in a good sense, splendor or copiousness:--glorious (-ly), glory, honour (-able).

2. Notice The Association Of Glory

God reminds us that the seed and the sons have been created for His glory. The glory is associated with Him. He makes a similar statement in vs. 21…

(Isaiah 43:21) This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

He said that He created them, formed them, and made them.

Cf. (Psalms 100:3) Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Illustration: My niece Olivia quoted this verse and emphasized “not we ourselves.”

formed – Hebrew 3335. yatsar, yaw-tsar'; prob. identical with H3334 (through the squeezing into shape); ([comp. H3331]), to mould into a form; espec. as a potter; fig. to determine (i.e. form a resolution):-- X earthen, fashion, form, frame, make (-r), potter, purpose.

made – Hebrew 6213. 'asah, aw-saw'; a prim. root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application (as follows):--accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, + displease, do, (ready) dress (-ed), (put in) execute (-ion), exercise, fashion, + feast, [fight-] ing man, + finish, fit, fly, follow, fulfil, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, + hinder, hold ([a feast]), X indeed, + be industrious, + journey, keep, labour, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, + officer, pare, bring (come) to pass, perform, practise, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, X sacrifice, serve, set, shew, X sin, spend, X surely, take, X thoroughly, trim, X very, + vex, be [warr-] ior, work (-man), yield, use.

B. His Goal Is Responsibility

(Isaiah 43:10) Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

1. There Is The Responsibility Of A Witness

witnesses – Hebrew 5707. 'ed, ayd; from H5749 contr.; concr. a witness; abstr. testimony; spec. a recorder, i.e. prince:--witness.

The meaning of the word indicates that the witness is one who testifies and one who makes a record of what the LORD is doing.

2. There Is The Responsibility Of A Worker

servant – Hebrew 5650. 'ebed, eh'-bed; from H5647; a servant:-- X bondage, bondman, [bond-] servant, (man-) servant.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament indicates that this word “servant” (OT:4566 – w’abdiy) means to “enslave, reduce to servitude. This service may be directed toward things, people, or God. When used in reference to things it is usually followed by an accusative of the thing upon which the labor is expended, e.g. ‘to till’ a field; ‘to dress’ vineyards; workers or artisans in flax or in city construction.

C. His Goal Is Relationship

(Isaiah 43:10) Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

1. This Is A Personal Relationship

know – Hebrew 3045. yada', yaw-dah'; a prim. root; to know (prop. to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, fig., lit., euphem. and infer. (including observation, care, recognition, and causat. instruction, designation, punishment, etc.) [as follow]:--acknowledge, acquaintance (-ted with), advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, [un-] awares, can [-not], certainly, for a certainty, comprehend, consider, X could they, cunning, declare, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with, familiar friend, famous, feel, can have, be [ig-] norant, instruct, kinsfolk, kinsman, (cause to, let, make) know, (come to give, have, take) knowledge, have [knowledge], (be, make, make to be, make self) known, + be learned, + lie by man, mark, perceive, privy to, X prognosticator, regard, have respect, skilful, shew, can (man of) skill, be sure, of a surety, teach, (can) tell, understand, have [understanding], X will be, wist, wit, wot.

believe – Hebrew 539. aman, aw-man'; a prim. root; prop. to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; fig. to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; mor. to be true or certain; once (Isa. 30 : 21; by interch. for H541) to go to the right hand:--hence assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.

2. This Is A Perceptive Relationship

understand – Hebrew 995. biyn, bene; a prim. root; to separate mentally (or distinguish), i.e. (gen.) understand:--attend, consider, be cunning, diligently, direct, discern, eloquent, feel, inform, instruct, have intelligence, know, look well to, mark, perceive, be prudent, regard, (can) skill (-ful), teach, think, (cause, make to, get, give, have) understand (-ing), view, (deal) wise (-ly, man).

Barnes’ Notes further explains some of the phrases in this verse by saying…

[And believe me] Or rather, confide in me.

[Before me there was no God formed] I am the only true, the eternal God. In this expression, Yahweh says that he was the first being. He derived his existence from no one. Perhaps the Hebrew will bear a little more emphasis than is conveyed by our translation. ‘Before me, God was not formed,’ implying that he was God, and that he existed anterior to all other beings. It was an opinion among the Greeks, that the same gods had not always reigned, but that the more ancient divinities had been expelled by the more modern. It is possible that some such opinion may have prevailed in the oriental idolatry, and that God here means to say, in opposition to that, that he had not succeeded any other God in his kingdom. His dominion was original, underived, and independent.

[Neither shall there be after me] He would never cease to live; he would never vacate his throne for another. This expression is equivalent to that which occurs in the Book of Revelation, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last’ (Revelation 1:11); and it is remarkable that this language, which obviously implies eternity, and which in Isaiah is used expressly to prove the divinity of Yahweh, is, in the passage referred to in the Book of Revelation, applied no less unequivocally to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Before we move on, let’s consider verses 8 and 9 for a moment…

(Isaiah 43:8-9) Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. {9} Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary explains verses 8 and 9 as follows…

Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears - Solemn challenge given by God to the nations to argue with Him the question of His superiority to their idols, and His power to deliver Israel (Isaiah 41:1).

Blind people - the Gentiles, who also, like Israel (Isaiah 42:19), are blind (spiritually), though having eyes - i.e., natural faculties whereby they might know God, as originally revealed to their forefathers, and as even still He manifests Himself in the works of nature (Romans 1:20-21) (Lowth). Or else, the Jews (Vitringa).

Who among them can declare this? - who among the idolatrous sooth sayers hath predicted this? - i.e., as to Cyrus being the deliverer of Israel.

And show us former things - former predictions, as in Isaiah 42:9 (Maurer). Or, things that shall first come to pass (note, Isaiah 41:21-22) (Barnes).

Let them bring forth their witnesses - as I do mine (Isaiah 43:10).

That they may be justified - declared veracious in their pretended prophecies (note, Isaiah 41:26).

Or let them hear, and say, (It is) truth - or, as the other alternative, let them hear the witnesses on my side, and say, as the result, that the truth is on my side-that I alone am God.

III. Let’s Consider The God Of The Call

A. He Is Emphatically God

(Isaiah 43:11) I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

1. He Is Absolutely Divine

LORD – Hebrew 3068. Yehovah, yeh-ho-vaw'; from H1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God:--Jehovah, the Lord.

Barnes’ Notes says…

The repetition of the pronoun ‘I’ makes it emphatic. The design is, to affirm that there was no other being to whom the name ‘Yahweh’ pertained. There was no other one who had the attributes which the name involved; there was, therefore, no other God.

2. He Is Absolutely Deliverer

Saviour – Hebrew 3467. yasha', yaw-shah'; a prim. root; prop. to be open, wide or free, i.e. (by impl.) to be safe; causat. to free or succor:-- X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.

B. He Is Exclusively God

(Isaiah 43:12) I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

1. His Prophecies Attest To This

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says that the phrase “I have declared” means that He has “predicted the future (Isaiah 41:22-23).”

This same commentary goes on to explain…

And have saved – the nation, in past times of danger.

And I have showed – namely, that I was God.

When (there was) no strange (god) among you – to whom the predictions uttered by me could be assigned. “Strange” means foreign-introduced from abroad.

2. His People Attest To This

He says “therefore ye are my witnesses.” In other words, because you have heard prophecies and experienced things that could not be attributed to anyone else but God, you are the ones that should testify about Me.

witnesses – Hebrew 5707. 'ed, ayd; from H5749 contr.; concr. a witness; abstr. testimony; spec. a recorder, i.e. prince:--witness.

C. He Is Endlessly God

(Isaiah 43:13) Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

1. He Has No Beginning

Albert Barnes said…

[Yea, before the day was] Before the first day, or before the beginning of time; from eternity.

2. He Has No Barrier

work – Hebrew 6466. pa'al, paw-al'; a prim. root; to do or make (systematically and habitually), espec. to practise:--commit, [evil-] do (-er), make (-r), ordain, work (-er), wrought.

Again, Barnes said…

[And who shall let it?] Margin, as Hebrew, ‘Turn it back.’ The meaning is, ‘Who can hinder it?’


Both in verses 10 and 12, God says that His people are His “witnesses.” And He challenges the pagan nations to produce their own witnesses who will testify of their false gods.

Evangelist Dana Williams is a very capable Bible expositor who pastored for many years at the Temple Baptist Church in Newland, NC. While he was pastoring at Temple, they had one service where folks started testifying. And for the entire service, people were just bragging on the Lord. Brother Dana probably said what I sometimes say; “Does anyone else have a testimony?” And towards the end of the service, he thought that everyone was finished, but there was an older gentleman who started walking down the aisle saying, “I want one of those. I want one of those.” Dana asked him what he wanted, and the man indicated that he wanted one of those testimonies. The pastor asked him if he had ever been saved, and the man said no. So Brother Dana led him to the Lord there at the altar. And in the process, the man got what he came for … a testimony!

We are the Lord’s witnesses. All of His people have a testimony of how He has called us unto Himself.

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