Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, and more specifically, is found in the forty-third chapter of the book. When you begin reading this particular chapter, you will find the Lord speaking to Jacob, and not simply speaking to Jacob, but reaffirming His relationship with him. As this chapter begins and opens, it opens with words of affection toward Jacob, as the Lord’s heart was yearning and burning within Him toward Jacob. “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel” (Isaiah 43:1). The words which the Lord of hosts speaks to Jacob in this first verse alone are utterly and completely amazing, for the Lord confirms and reaffirms His relationship with him. What’s more, is that the Lord essentially brings Jacob back to the place where it all began—the moment when Jacob was created by the Lord of hosts. Moreover, the Lord of hosts didn’t merely declare that He had created Jacob, but He also went on to reveal that He formed Israel. Within this first verse alone is something that must not be quickly overlooked or even neglected, for it contains a tremendous reality concerning our own lives. When the Lord begins speaking through the prophet Isaiah, He first makes the declaration that He created Jacob—created Jacob from the seed of one man named Abram whom He called out of Ur of the Chaldeans into the land of Canaan. Jacob’s creation did not begin with Jacob himself, but began two generations removed as the Lord called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldeans and brought forth the seed that was present within him. When Abram was called forth from Ur of the Chaldeans, he and his wife Sarai came forth with a seed within Abraham’s bosom. The creation of Jacob began two generations removed from Jacob’s presence upon the earth, as his creation originated through Abram, and continued on through Abram’s son Isaac. The Lord of hosts was very clear in this passage that He not only created Jacob, but He also formed Israel, thus drawing a distinction between the two realities. Beloved, we must see this distinction clearly, for it reveals the process and work of the Lord within our lives in this generation.
When reading this passage, I am utterly and completely consumed with the concept of “the creation of Jacob,” and “the formation of Israel,” for the two acts are completely separate and distinct from each other. In all reality, the latter is separated and different from the first, and in all reality, is even dependent on the first. It is no coincidence, nor is it by accident the Lord spoke of creation first and then formation second. In all reality, creation must needs occur first, for without creation there can be no formation. In fact, I would dare say that it is the creation that paves and creates a way for formation, as formation is utterly and completely dependent upon creation. To illustrate this reality even further, it is necessary to examine the first chapter of the book of Genesis, and study the creation of the heavens and the earth. The book of Genesis opens up and begins with these words—“In the beginning God CREATED the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). As you continue on within this first chapter of Scripture, you will find six days of creation, as the Lord engaged in six days of creating within and upon the heaven and the earth. In verses three through five we read “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called night. And the even and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:3-5). In verses six through eight we read of the creation which occurred upon the second day—“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day” (Genesis 1:6-8). In verses nine through thirteen we read of the creation which occurred upon the third day—“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb, yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day” (Genesis 1:9-13).
When we come to verses fourteen through nineteen of the same chapter, we find the Lord’s creation which occurred upon the fourth day. “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day” (Genesis 1:14-19). Verses twenty through twenty-three bring us face to face with the creation which occurred on the fifth day—“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day” (Genesis 1:20-23). Verses twenty-four and twenty-five continue speaking to the fifth day of creation as “God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his. Kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:24-25). When we come to the twenty-sixth verse of this chapter we find a dramatic transition and shift in the creation of heaven and earth, as when the sixth day came we find something completely and totally different taking place. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He Him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:26-31).
The account of man being created upon the earth did not begin and end in the first chapter, for when you come to the second chapter you will find something incredibly powerful revealed concerning man’s creation upon the face of the earth. “AND THE LORD GOD FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, AND BREATHED INTO HIS NOSTRILS THE BREATH OF LIFE; AND MAN BECAME A LIVING SOUL” (Genesis 2:7). Pause for a moment and consider the reality that surrounds Adam’s placement upon the earth which the Lord had just created. Pause and consider Adam’s placement upon the earth the Lord had created, and His placement in the Garden of Eden which the Lord planted. When I read the first and second chapters of the book of Genesis I can’t help but see a powerful transition and distinction in the language—especially concerning the activity of the Lord. In the first chapter we read how God “made the firmament,” and how God “made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.” Within the first chapter we also read how God “made the stars also,” and how “God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind.” Furthermore, we read how “God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind.” When we come to the twenty-sixth verse of the first chapter we discover God’s intention to “make man in our image” and “after our likeness.” We read how “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” When we come to the second chapter, however, we do not read words such as “create,” “made” and “make,” but rather something completely different. In the seventh verse of the second chapter we read how “the Lord God FORMED man of the dust of the ground.” Within this verse, we not only read how the Lord FORMED man of the dust of the ground, but we also read how the Lord BREATHED into his nostrils the breath of life. When we come to the eighth verse, we read how not only did the Lord form man and breath into his nostrils, but we also read how the Lord “PLANTED”. Garden eastward in Eden. Whereas in the first chapter we read how God “created” and “made,” in the second chapter we read how the Lord “formed” and planted.”
I cannot help but see the tremendous significance and importance of what we read in the second chapter as compared to and set against what we read in the first chapter—especially concerning man. In the first chapter we read of the act of “creation,” while in the second chapter the word that is. Used is not “creation, but rather, the word “formed.” I absolutely love this distinction in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, for it reveals the clear distinction between “creation” and “formation.” In the first chapter we read how man was created in the image, and after the likeness of God, while in the second chapter we read how man was formed of the dust of the ground. When speaking of the creation of man, the Holy Spirit reveals how his creation was “in the image” and “after the likeness of God.” When speaking of the formation of man, the Holy Spirit reveals that man was “formed of the dust of the ground.” When seeking to understand the creation of man, it is necessary and imperative that we understand that his creation was done in the image and after the likeness of God. When speaking of the formation of man, we must understand that formation as being directly connected to the substance from which he was formed. Not only must we consider the substance from which man was formed—of the dust of the ground—but we must also consider that man’s formation was also directly connected to the breath of God. In all reality, there can be no formation without and apart the breath of God, for it wasn’t enough for man to be formed of the dust of the ground. The Lord could have very easily formed man of the dust of the ground, yet without and until the breath of life was breathed into his nostrils, man would just be a lifeless, inanimate object there upon the face of the earth. Man might have had the appearance which was originally in the heart and mind of the Lord, yet it wasn’t until the breath of God was breathed into him that man became more than just the formation of dust, but actually a living soul. Man was formed of the dust of the ground, yet man wasn’t created simply to be a formation of the dust of the ground, but a living soul—a reality which cannot and will not occur until the breath of God was breathed into his nostrils. Within the first and second chapters of the book of Genesis we not only see “creation of man,” but we also see “the formation of man.” It is absolutely vital that we recognize this distinction, for there is a difference between being “created” by the Lord, and being “formed” by God. Our creation is in the image and after the likeness of God, yet our formation is of a substance which the Lord can put His hands upon—and not only put His hands on, but put His breath within. CREATED IN & FORMED OF. Within the second chapter we read of man’s formation of the dust of the ground, as well as the planting of the garden, thus speaking of the Lord’s direct and intimate involvement in both. In other words, there is a vast difference between the Lord speaking something into existence, and actually forming and planting something—a reality we must firmly grasp and understand.
Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord speaks of “the creation of Jacob,” but also “the formation of Israel,” thus drawing a clear distinction between the two. The formation of Israel could not come without and apart from the creation of Jacob, for Israel was but the formation and transformation of Jacob as Jacob encountered the angel of the Lord at the Jabok River. Consider the encounter Jacob had there at the Jabok River when he was left all alone before he would meet his brother Esau. “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breakers. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow the thigh unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thighs in the sinew that shrank” (Genesis 32:24-32). In the thirty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis, we also read these words spoken unto Jacob by the Lord of hosts—“And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Pagan-Aran, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is not Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. And God went up from him in the place where He talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Beth-el” (Genesis 35:9-15). Even Jacob’s words when appealing to his brother Esau speak of the transformation which occurred after he departed from the house of his father and mother—“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all that ruth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands” (Genesis 32:10). In the final verse of the thirtieth chapter we read these words concerning Jacob’s experience in the house of Laban—the brother of his mother. “And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses” (Genesis 30:43).
In the thirtieth chapter we read how Jacob increased greatly in the house of Laban, while in the thirty-second chapter we read how when Jacob first crossed the Jordan, he did so with nothing more than a staff in his hand. When Jacob returned a second time over the Jordan, he did so not only with the staff he left, but had also become two bands, as Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter. When Jacob wrestled with the angel by the Jabok River, it was declared unto him that his name would no longer be Jacob, but would be Israel. When we come to the thirty-fifth chapter of the book of Genesis, we find the God of Abraham and Isaac appearing to Jacob and reaffirming his identity and nature had changed—that he would no longer be called Jacob, but would instead be called Israel. What’s more, is that the Lord didn’t just speak to Jacob and reveal that his name would be changed to Israel, but went on to reveal so much more that was directly connected to the changing of his name. “A nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins” (Genesis 35:11). “And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land” (Genesis 35:12). The Lord not only spoke to Jacob concerning the changing of his name, but also how directly connected to that name would be the transformation of a man to a house, and not only from a man to a house, but from a house to a nation. When the Lord appeared to and spoke to Jacob, He spoke to him of his transformation and formation—the transformation and formation of Israel. When we read in the prophetic book of Isaiah concerning the creation of Jacob, yet the formation of Israel, we must understand it in light of these passages. Jacob was created within the womb of his mother, and in all reality was even created within the seed that was within Abram when he left Ur of the Chaldeans. Jacob—along with his twin brother Esau—was created from Isaac and Rebekah, yet more than Jacob’s creation, he was formed into Israel. The Lord took this man whom He had created and taken from Isaac and Rebekah, and formed and transformed him into Israel. The formation of Israel began with a single man—Jacob—yet would continue and progress until the time when Jacob and his household went down into the land of Egypt to the land of Gosh as a company and house of seventy. When Israel would emerge from the land of Egypt, they would emerge as a company and host of people, as more than three-million emerged from the slavery and bondage of Egypt. When the children of Israel emerged from the land of Egypt, they emerged as a people, yet that people would eventually become and be transformed into a nation within and upon the earth. Taking this a step further, Israel not only became a nation within the earth, but Israel also became a kingdom in the earth, as kings emerged from Israel and would reign upon the throne of David.
When I read the words of the prophet Isaiah concerning the creation of Jacob, yet the formation of Israel, I can’t help but consider the words of the apostle Paul in the first chapter of his epistle to the Philippians. “…being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). In the very next chapter, the apostle Paul writes these words to the same congregation—“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). The apostle Paul not only emphatically declares that He who began a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ, but he also declares that it is God which worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. The word which we read in the prophetic book of Isaiah are truly wonderful, for they reveal the Lord’s process within our own hearts and lives. Each and every one of us were created in the image and after the likeness of God, yet there must come the point when creation gives way to formation. There must come the point when we are willing to forsake Jacob and leave Jacob behind in order that we might be formed into Israel. There must be a willingness and determination within our hearts and spirits to be formed into Israel—to allow the Lord to perform, to complete and to finish the work which He began in us. I am reminded of the words of the apostle Paul in the twenty-third verse of the fifth chapter of the first epistle to the Thessalonians—“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). I’m also reminded of the words of the apostle Paul in the twelfth chapter of his epistle to the Roman congregation—“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that he present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). I’m also reminded of the words of the apostle Paul in the fourth chapter of the epistle he wrote to the Galatian congregation—“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you. Now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19). What about the words of the apostle Paul in the eighth chapter of the epistle to the Roman congregation—“For whom HE did foreknowledge, He also did predestination to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Fairborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). In the fourth chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians we read “And that ye put o n the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). In the third chapter of the epistle to the Colossians we read “and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Colossians 3:10).
What does this formation of Israel look like? When the prophet Isaiah speaks of the creation of Jacob and the formation of Israel, he goes on to reveal how “when thou passes through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isaiah 43:2). The Lord also reveals how he redeemed Israel, called him by his name, and that He belonged to Him. The Lord declared how He gave Egypt for Israel’s ransom, and Ethiopia and Seba for them. The Lord declared that Israel was precious in His sight, and how Israel had been honourable, and how He loved them. The Lord declares to Israel that He was with him, and that He would bring his seed from the east, and would gather him from the west. The Lord would say to the North, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back. Furthermore, the Lord declared that He created Israel for His glory, and that He “formed him” and “made him.” Oh, please get this deep within your spirit and see the language of Genesis in this particular chapter. In the book of Genesis we read of the formation and making of man, we read of the creation of Jacob and the formation of Israel, and we begin to see the formation of Israel as more than just a man and a house, but into a nation, a people and kingdom. THE LORD GOD WHO FORMS AND MAKES ACCORDING TO HIS PLEASURE! Perhaps the single greatest reality that surrounds this concept of “formation” as set apart and separate from “creation” is found later on in this chapter. “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19). Moreover, the Lord also goes on to declare “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25). The Lord of hosts not only called Israel to remember not the former things, but He also went on to declare that He blots out their transgressions for His own sake, and would not remember them. Oh, consider the words of the apostle Paul in the fifth chapter of the second epistle to the Corinthian congregation—“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. THEREFORE IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17). Oh that we would remember not the former things, and that we would allow formation to take place within our lives, as old things are passed and are passing away, and as all things are become new. The question you and I must answer is this” ARE WE WILLING TO PARTNER WITH THE NEW THING GOD IS DOING IN THE EARTH?
ISRAEL, THE NEW CREATION OF GOD! What we read in this chapter in the book of Isaiah is essentially New Testament truth on the pages of the Old Testament, for through the prophet the Lord not only speaks of “remember not the former things”—“forgetting those things which are behind”—but also of “behold, I am doing a new thing”—“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, He is a new creation.” Israel was the new creation of God upon the earth, and was created through Jacob when the Lord granted Jacob twelve sons and then multiplied him in the earth. Israel was sort of re-created and reborn when they emerged from their captivity and exile in the land of the Chaldeans after seventy years which had been decreed. Even as recent as seventy years ago, Israel was again re-created, re-formed and reborn, as Israel was reborn from the ashes of the Holocaust and given a place among the nations of the earth. Oh beloved, we must see this clear picture of the formation of Israel, for the formation of Israel pointed to and included the putting away and doing away with former things, as the Lord created something brand new in the earth. The Lord instructed Israel to remember not the former things, and through the apostle Paul, He has instructed us to “forget those things which are behind,” and to allow “old things to pass away.” The Lord declared to Israel that He was doing a new thing, and through the apostle Paul the Lord declared that if any man be in Christ, He is a new creation. Oh that we would partner with the work which the Lord is doing in the earth—that we would distance ourselves from those things which are behind, and that we would remember not the former things. Oh that we would partner with the new work which the Lord is doing in the earth—the work of forming Israel from the creation of Jacob. The Lord created Jacob in order that at the appointed time He could take that creation and form Israel from Jacob. The Lord created you, the Lord created me, yet it is the process of formation which we must align ourselves with, and passionately pursue with everything that is within us. THE ALIGNMENT OF THE FORMATION OF ISRAEL FROM THE CREATION OF JACOB.