Isaiah 44-46

 

Tonight, we will be covering 3 Chapters. Much of the verses found in Chapters 40 Ė 48 deal with the supremacy of God over manmade idols and how God is still Israelís redeemer. While there is some rebuking of using false idols and challenging these idols to speak up and prove they are gods, these 8 chapters also contain a message of hope. The messageof hope was that God would be with them in the future to deliver them from their captivity and parts of our text points to the time of the Messiah who would deliver us from our sin.

 

Let us begin in:

 

Isaiah 44:1 "Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, And Israel whom I have chosen.2 Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you: 'Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring;4 They will spring up among the grass Like willows by the watercourses.'5 One will say, 'I am the LORD's'; Another will call himself by the name of Jacob; Another will write with his hand, 'The LORD's,' And name himself by the name of Israel.

 

The basic message is one of hope. God lets them know that they were His chosen people and that He formed them in the womb. Though His people would be taken into captivity, they would be restored, but this is another of these sections of Scriptures that points to the time of Christ as well because, when did God pour out His Spirit on their descendants? It was on the day of Pentecost. So, while God speaks of time of hope and restoration that would occur in about 150 years, ultimately we would see this fulfilled with the new spiritual Israel during the N.T. times, which consists of Jew and Gentile.

 

Next we see a strong rebuke against idolatry.

 

Isaiah 44:6 " Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.7 And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them.8 Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.' "

 

There is no other God or no other Redeemer. God is it. God challenges anyone one or thing to step and show that he can do what God can or know what God can. The fact His people had seen first hand the power of God should be enough to prove the point that God is it.

 

Isaiah 44:9 Those who make an image, all of them are useless, And their precious things shall not profit; They are their own witnesses; They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed.10 Who would form a god or mold an image That profits him nothing?11 Surely all his companions would be ashamed; And the workmen, they are mere men. Let them all be gathered together, Let them stand up; Yet they shall fear, They shall be ashamed together.12 The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals, Fashions it with hammers, And works it with the strength of his arms. Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails; He drinks no water and is faint.13 The craftsman stretches out his rule, He marks one out with chalk; He fashions it with a plane, He marks it out with the compass, And makes it like the figure of a man, According to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house.14 He cuts down cedars for himself, And takes the cypress and the oak; He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.15 Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.16 He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, "Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire."17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!"18 They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.19 And no one considers in his heart, Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, "I have burned half of it in the fire, Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?"20 He feeds on ashes; A deceived heart has turned him aside; And he cannot deliver his soul, Nor say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"

 

These verses sum up how ridiculous man can become. They would make these useless gods out of wood and other objects that have no life. While doing this should have made them appear crazy people began accepting it as truth because they became blind to the truth.

 

For example, if I took this remote control and became infatuated with it and how it can turn the power point projector on and off and made a shrine for it you all should think I have lost my mind. However, if I pray to this remote and some of things I pray for happen by coincidence, I will contribute it to the remote. I then will brag about the all powerful remote to others and tell them to pray to it. If something they pray for happens coincidently, then they might believe in the remote as well. This the principle behind how people could make some useless thing in to a god.

 

People do the same thing today. Though they have been taught the truth, they exchange the truth for something useless like an idol. They blindly follow after false teachers and worldly ways even though they know deep down that is wrong. This is truly a sad condition to be in.

 

Isaiah 44:21 " Remember these, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me!22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."23 Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, And glorified Himself in Israel.24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;25 Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, And drives diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, And makes their knowledge foolishness;26 Who confirms the word of His servant, And performs the counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, 'You shall be inhabited,' To the cities of Judah, 'You shall be built,' And I will raise up her waste places;27 Who says to the deep, 'Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers';28 Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid." '

 

One of the wonderful things about God is that He is always there for you. Yes, if you turn from Him you will face the consequences, but He allows you to turn back to Him and be redeemed. This shows His great mercy He has for us because we did not deserve His love in the first place, and to turn from Him and be allowed back again is a privilege that is hard to believe, yet God allows it.

 

Many try to predict the future, but only God knows the future. Before King Cyrus was even born, he is being prophesied as the one who was free His people from captivity and how they would be a nation again and how they would rebuild the temple. Of course this prophecy came true and just one example of many that shows that God is control and knows what will happen in the future, so we can trust in His Word. Isaiah 45 continues talking about King Cyrus.

 

Isaiah 45:1 "Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held -- To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut:2 'I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron.3 I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

 

King Cyrus was able to defeat the Babylonians and other nations just as was predicted. We learn in Ezra 1:2 that the king himself proclaimed that God was the one that gave him his victories over the various kingdoms and how he was to play his part in the temple being rebuilt for God. King Cyrus began very rich from all the gold and other precious things he took from those nations he defeated.

 

Isaiah 45:4 For Jacob My servant's sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,6 That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other;7 I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.'

 

As I have already said, the fact that God called this king by name before he was born and told exactly what he would do by the power of God proves that God is control of all things. He can bring about great blessings or He can bring about great destruction. There is no other like God almighty.

 

Isaiah 45:8 " Rain down, you heavens, from above, And let the skies pour down righteousness; Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together. I, the LORD, have created it.

 

This is a beautiful statement that shows how our God deserves our complete adoration. He is the Creator of all things and makes righteousness possible. We today should certainly be thankful for all that God has done for us and how He has made salvation possible for us all.

 

Isaiah 45:9 " Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' Or shall your handiwork say, 'He has no hands'?10 Woe to him who says to his father, 'What are you begetting?' Or to the woman, 'What have you brought forth?' "11 Thus says the LORD, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.12 I have made the earth, And created man on it. I -- My hands -- stretched out the heavens, And all their host I have commanded.13 I have raised him up in righteousness, And I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city And let My exiles go free, Not for price nor reward," Says the LORD of hosts.

 

Here is another rebuke to those who continue to rebel against their Maker. Many today do the same because many refuse to abide in the doctrine of Christ and some deny that they have Maker at all. How sad it is for the created to deny it Creator or trust in His wisdom. Godís plans will not be changed by man because God is going to raise up Cyrus and use this Pagan man to carry out His will to restore His people once again.

 

Isaiah 45:14 Thus says the LORD: "The labor of Egypt and merchandise of Cush And of the Sabeans, men of stature, Shall come over to you, and they shall be yours; They shall walk behind you, They shall come over in chains; And they shall bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying, 'Surely God is in you, And there is no other; There is no other God.' "15 Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!16 They shall be ashamed And also disgraced, all of them; They shall go in confusion together, Who are makers of idols.17 But Israel shall be saved by the LORD With an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced Forever and ever.

 

Isaiah is talking about how the enemies of the Jews will also be brought low and be humbled. They will realize that God had made King Cyrus able to subdue them and free the Jews to allow them to rebuild. They will also realize that their many false gods have no power or control over what God almighty can do.

 

Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other.19 I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek Me in vain'; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

 

Our God is not some obscure god whose message is vague or hidden. No, God has not kept His way and what He wants us to do secret. He revealed His message through the Patriarchs, prophets and through the apostles and other servants of God. We do not have to guess at what God wants us to do or what it takes to please Him and that should be comforting to us because when little is known about a false god, man will create whatever comes to his mind for people to follow. Their teachings will be all over the place and will contradict. However, the teachings from God are pure, true, and always accurate as it should be.

 

Isaiah 45:20 " Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.21 Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.22 "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.23 I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.24 He shall say, 'Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, And all shall be ashamed Who are incensed against Him.25 In the LORD all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory.' "

 

The message is that God is Supreme and salvation only comes through Him. These other nations that were doing their own things and following after the own gods will find out that there is only one true God. Whether someone figures this truth out in this lifetimeor not, everyone will eventually figure this out. Just as Paul also says in:

 

Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

 

In verse 23, Isaiah says God swears by Himself. Only Deity could do this. The fact that He can do this shows that all these things He was saying was going to happen, would happen. This is the all powerful God that we serve.

 

In Chapter 46, Isaiah focuses on the downfall of Babylon.

 

Isaiah 46:1 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops; Their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle. Your carriages were heavily loaded, A burden to the weary beast.2 They stoop, they bow down together; They could not deliver the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity.

 

Bel and Nebo were two Babylonian gods. One easy way to show that a god or gods are either weak or not gods at all is by defeating those that put their faith and trust in them.Not only would the Babylonians be taken into captivity, their supposed gods would be too.

 

Isaiah 46:3 " Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, Who have been upheld by Me from birth, Who have been carried from the womb:4 Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.5 " To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal And compare Me, that we should be alike?6 They lavish gold out of the bag, And weigh silver on the scales; They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god; They prostrate themselves, yes, they worship.7 They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it And set it in its place, and it stands; From its place it shall not move. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer Nor save him out of his trouble.

Here is a call to Godís people to listen and remember that He is with them and will always be with them. While some wanted to make gods of gold and other materials, God makes it clear that it is utter foolishness to do so because those gods made by hands cannot hear your cries or deliver you from your troubles. Only God can do that.

 

In a similar way, we all need to remember that our technology nor or wisdom can save us today. Yes, we can do amazing things and cure many diseases, but eternal salvation can only come through God and we must never forget it.

 

Isaiah 46:8 " Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors.9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.

 

The plea is a familiar one because God never stopped trying to get His people to wake up from their stupor and remember how awesome He is and what He has done. No matter how much man may think he is in control of things, he is wrong because God is the one in control. Nothing was going to stop God from using this future King named Cyrus to carry out His judgment on surrounding nations and to restore His people. To me, it is comforting to know that God is control. Finally, we read:

 

Isaiah 46:8:12 " Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness:13 I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.

 

This described the rebellious Jew back then and it describes the rebellious people of today. Many are so stubborn that they would rather feel they are right than admit that they are wrong according to Scripture. We must be careful that we are not stubborn people who are unwilling to be humble enough to change our ways to Godís ways and embrace the blessings the God can bring into our lives. Part of being faithful is giving 100% of yourself to God. We must trust in Him even when our heart of hearts tells us differently because our heart and feeling can mislead us, but Godís never will.

 

If these Jews at the time were listening carefully to what Isaiah was saying, it should have moved them to be ashamed of their sinful behavior but at the same time gave them great hope in the future of their nation because God was still with them and He wanted them all to turn back to His ways. He was going to bless them once again.

 

We should learn from this as Christians to never put anything before God and to realize that He loves and will always be there for us, but we must choose to serve Him. As Isaiah has pointed out, salvation cannot be found in anyone other than God Almighty. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful loving God who is so patient with us, cares for us, and give us so many opportunities to be in fellowship with Him.