God Made You

Descendants of Jacob,
I, the LORD, created you
and formed your nation.
Israel, don’t be afraid.
I have rescued you.
I have called you by name;
now you belong to me.
When you cross deep rivers,
I will be with you,
and you won’t drown.
When you walk through fire,
you won’t be burned
or scorched by the flames.
I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
the God who saves you.
I gave up Egypt, Ethiopia,
and the region of Seba
in exchange for you.
To me, you are very dear,
and I love you.
That’s why I gave up nations
and people to rescue you.
Don’t be afraid! I am with you.
From both east and west
I will bring you together.
I will say to the north
and to the south,
“Free my sons and daughters!
Let them return
from distant lands.
They are my people—
I created each of them
to bring honor to me.” (Isaiah 43:1-7)

Only crazy people kill their own children. God’s not crazy. As the writer of Proverbs pointed out, children need discipline and the rod of discipline will not kill the child, though the child might be convinced otherwise and will scream bloody murder. The Israelites were suffering because they had violated the terms of God’s contract with them. They were suffering justly. They were being punished because they had been bad. So the Israelites were certain that God had abandoned them for all time, that they were in exile in Babylon or Assyria because God hated them and never wanted to see them again.

Children often take any bad situation and magnify it beyond recognition. The children of Israel were no different—and if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re no different either. But God reassured his people, that no matter what they went through, he would be with them and would protect them. It was all for the best and in the end, they’d be glad for the experience. Punishment never seems good when it’s happening. But later, the value usually becomes pretty obvious.

God created his people—every last one of them—and not only does he love them despite their sins, their many failures, he knows that they will, each of them, ultimately bring him honor. Remarkably, God is honored to know us.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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