“I have called you by your name.” The complete verse reads:
“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'” (Isaiah 43:1).
In my NIV Study Bible, the Isaiah 43 chapter subhead reads: “Israel’s Only Savior.” Later, we will read some inspirational, praise-worthy, and warning verses from that chapter — the Word of God conveyed through the prophet Isaiah. But first, the personal journal entry describing the Divine message received by my friend during her recent visit to a holy place associated with Jesus.
Writing me, she prefaced her entry: “This is the excerpt from my personal journaling that day.” It read:
“When I really stop to contemplate the infinite God, it seems impossible that He would want to have a personal relationship with ME. That He would speak to ME.
“Yesterday, the day before I went to [the holy place] I decided to set aside the next day for Him – to spend the day in prayer, contemplation, fasting, quiet reflection – no cell phone, no distractions. I turned my phone to ‘do not disturb’ last night, with no need of an alarm anyway.
“I awoke to an audible voice, speaking in the softest of tones, ‘I have called you by your name.’ I was wide awake and sat up in bed. It repeated. ‘I have called you by your name.’ I don’t know how to explain the physical, tangible mechanism of this except to say that I also FELT it, as a movement in my heart.
“Later that day, sitting in the quiet space of [holy place], I heard it again. A whisper this time. And the same tug on my heart that brought a rush of tears to my eyes.
“Later that day, standing in [holy place] I heard the voice again. ‘Are you ready?’ I blinked away tears. ‘Ready for what?’ my soul asked. The voice, gentle and firm, repeated, ‘Are you ready?'”
Now my friend is patiently praying for guidance, trusting Him, and waiting, in God’s time, to be “ready.”
Understand that my friend is not an overly emotional person. Thus, after sending me the journal entry, she wrote — “I can’t even read what I just wrote you without crying again” — not her “normal” reaction. But I believe her response proves the Divine message is embedded in her soul as a “spiritual hot button” that God will “activate” when she is “ready.” (And perhaps, “ready” for me to chronicle?)
In the meantime, readers should know that my friend is a brilliant, professionally credentialed, accomplished woman, with great faith. She works in the secular world but passionately serves the Lord by engaging in numerous faith-related projects and activities. After hearing her story and later reading her journal entry, I said, “Your experience reminds me of when God called Moses, Isaiah, and Samuel in my Bible study Vol. 106.” She replied, “Well then, I’m in good company!”
Now we turn to excerpts from Isaiah 43 that could shed light on why my friend heard a verse from a chapter that follows a “story arc” from the Lord. For clarity, I have added two subtitles (in bold) summarizing the messages God conveyed to His people.
The Lord God created Israel. He is Israel’s protector. He is the Lord.
“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.”
“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. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. …Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…” (Verses 1-4, abbreviated).
“Fear not, for I am with you;…bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Verses 5-7 abbreviated).
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior” (Verses 8-11 abbreviated).
God’s Mercy, Israel’s Unfaithfulness, and Punishment
Note: In the final verses 14-28, the Lord reminds His people in Israel what He has done — especially bringing them out of Egypt and forgiving their sins. But now, He admonishes and chastises temple leaders and the people for their inadequate sacrifices and lack of faith in Him. The chapter ends with God warning of destructive punishment:
“Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense. You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
“But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities. ‘I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.’ Your first father sinned [Abraham] and your mediators transgressed against me.
“Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary [religious leaders] and deliver Jacob [the people] to utter destruction and Israel to reviling” (Verses 14-28 abbreviated).
The final verse warned about forthcoming destruction later inflicted upon Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
Today’s lesson is to heed God’s warning. The people of our nation and the world have fallen away from Him — expect severe consequences.
My friend heard God ask, “Are you ready?” We know God always anoints leaders to be His faithful servants during catastrophic times. “Are YOU ready?”
Author’s Note: Readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.” Part Two, featuring volumes 57-113, will be published later this year.
Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. SignFromGod was a proud sponsor of the Museum of the Bible’s opening events for its high-tech exhibition about the Shroud of Turin, open through July 31. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.