Isaiah 43:11 - No Saviour Besides the Lord
I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no Saviour.Isaiah 43:11
In our North American society, there are Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, adherents of even less familiar religions, as well as Christians. In this pluralistic society, the politically correct view is that all religions are equal. But the LORD says: “...apart from me there is no Saviour” (Isaiah 43:11). The Christian faith presents itself as an exclusive faith: there is no other religion of equal value. In fact, orthodox Christianity teaches that all other religions are false. There are no other gods than the LORD God.
In Isaiah’s day, God’s people fell into the mistaken idea that the Baals were also worthy of worship. This angered the LORD so much that He was going to send his people into exile in Babylon. Judah had spurned the LORD’s love, and now Judah was going to feel the LORD’s anger.
But Isaiah could also proclaim the comfort that the LORD would not abandon his people in exile. He was going to deliver his people. From east and west, from north and south, the LORD was going to gather his people together (Isaiah 43:5-7). The LORD was going to glorify his name among the nations lest any of them say that He was too weak to protect his own people (cf. Ezekiel 36:22-24). The LORD did not want the nations to think that their gods were better because they had conquered and deported Judah. That is why Isaiah could proclaim comfort to Judah: God’s people would return from exile! The LORD was going to keep his covenant promises for the glory of his name in the presence of the nations. The LORD would demonstrate that He alone is God!
And so the LORD issues a challenge: let the nations assemble and let them bring forward witnesses. Which of the nations was told by its gods that Judah would return to its land (Isaiah 43:9)? Which of the gods had foretold the other events in Judah’s history? The LORD knows that all so-called gods will fail the test. By contrast the LORD says that his people are his witnesses (Isaiah 43:10, 12) because Judah’s history is a living testimony to the fact that the LORD is God. The history of the LORD’s way with his people is a witness to the nations. The LORD made promises of salvation in the history of his people, and He fulfilled them. The LORD says:
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed ... You are my witnesses declares the LORD, that I am God.Isaiah 43:12
Think of the exodus from Egypt, which the LORD had promised, and which He brought about (cf. Isaiah 43:16, 17). God’s people should have known this and also confessed that the LORD is God alone!
In the middle of all this, as a climax, we read: “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no Saviour” (Isaiah 43:11). This may be Judah’s certainty as it hears Isaiah proclaiming a return from exile. No one will be able to withstand the LORD for as the LORD himself says: “When I act, who can reverse it” (Isaiah 43:12)?
The LORD speaks very emphatically: “I, even I, am the LORD...” And He connects his name with salvation: “...apart from me there is no saviour.” The covenant God is the only Saviour! For, the name LORD is God’s covenant name, and with this name He revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush and promised to deliver Israel from Egypt, thereby showing his covenant faithfulness (Exodus 3). Apart from covenant fellowship with the LORD, there is no salvation.
The New Testament teaches us that apart from the fellowship which we have through faith with Jesus Christ, the Saviour whom God the Father sent into the world, there is no salvation. Besides Jesus Christ there is no Saviour! He alone unties us from the slavery of sin and death. Throughout his dealings with Israel in the Old Testament, the LORD was working toward the coming of this Saviour. The slavery of Egypt and Babylon symbolized the slavery of sin and death; the deliverance from Egypt and Babylon symbolized the deliverance from the slavery of sin and death. Moreover, the gathering of the exiles from the corners of the earth foreshadowed the gathering of all God’s people from the corners of the earth. As Christ said: “...many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). All those whom God created for his glory will be gathered in (cf. Isaiah 43:7). In Christ alone rests salvation. Our Saviour said it like this:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6
As Christians in a pluralistic society, let us not be afraid to stand up for the exclusive character of the Christian faith. Apart from the LORD, there is no Saviour. This is the reason for mission and evangelism. To God alone be glory, now and forevermore.