Isaiah 44

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The Lord’s chosen: Israel

and Opening about they are heading to captivity because of sin, but God is reminding them he loves them and will restore them.
Lets begin with verse 1
Isaiah 44:1 ESV
1 “But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!
God is calling them to pay attention to what He is about to say. In the midst of the judgement we spoke of last week because of their sin and disobedience, God is reminding them there is hope in the future.
God reminds them they are still his chosen people. While their actions require discipline, he will not abandon his relationship with them.
Verse 2 Isa 44:2
Isaiah 44:2 ESV
2 Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
God is reminding them that they are his people, in fact that he is the one who formed them, made them as a people and nation as the individual members were still in the womb.
And having made them, he loved them and would help them. There are of him, I have chosen you and will help you and in fact he gives them another name or title… The upright people or upright one Jeshrun...
God loves them and they should trust God.
How hard is it for us to trust God? At times I think people find it hard because the circumstance seems so big… BUT as they live in relationship to the Father, as they know him all the more.. they will learn to trust him.
Verse 3 Isa 44:3
Isaiah 44:3 ESV
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
Part of or a portion of the Lord’s help will be based on His future plan for them. he says he would pour water on the thirsty land.
So much water will be poured out that streams will come where deserts once lay...
This is a new day of restoration for his people. They will have a new life and the divine blessing of God upon them, His children...
The once dead thirsty land is transformed as his people will one day be transformed and blessed by His future plans for them, His people.
And like water upon the land so God will pour his Spirit out until the people, , especially the people to come in the days ahead. The coming of the Spirit connects a time of righteousness, peace and divine blessings.
A new day is coming much like the prophecy of Joel 2:28
Joel 2:28 ESV
28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
Verses 4-5 Isa 44:4-5
Isaiah 44:4–5 ESV
4 They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. 5 This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.”
The outpouring of the Spirit has a wonderful result, the descendents will sprout up like the grass does...
The people will multiply, and there will be a spiritual change among the people as well, they will experience a spiritual transformation as well.
That transformation is a direct response to the Spirit being poured out on them.. People will come and declare they are the Lord’s, the children of Israel. The have called out to God and he has heard them...
They will also declare they are the Lord, they belong to Him and he receives them gladly.
There is hope for the future my friends, the creator and Holy one of Israel has not forgot them, he has called them and plans to bless them once again that they might be a vast nation.
The message will change as we moe into verse 6, listen to what the Lord says...
Verse 6....Isa 44:6
Isaiah 44:6 ESV
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.
I like this, the true King of Israel … who is the Lord. remember the people wanted a king so they could be like the other nations, when clearly He alone was mean to be their King.
Remember what God said in chapter 43, verse 15...
Isaiah 43:15 ESV
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.”
God is the redeemer.,… He is the one who is also the redeemer, who has and will deliver his family members from danger and to protect. He will fight on behalf of this people
And finally He says I am the first and the last… This is not just a title but describes his unique sovereignty over all the events. He knows what has happened in the past, and has planned and revealed to his people some of the events that will happen in their future...
For God to testify that I am the first and the last and there is no other God besides me really sets him apart from those so called gods in Canaan and those other lands...
Verse 7 Isa 44:7
Isaiah 44:7 ESV
7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
Who is like Him? Honestly there is no one…really there is no one, but if there is one… let it be made known… but there is no one .... No one can match His power, His position as the One who is sovereign in the world
God finally challenges anyone to make a comparison between YHWH and any other so called god. God says reveal the facts....
Can any other god declare or call to, not even a peep.
Verse 8 Isa 44:8
Isaiah 44:8 ESV
8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”
So here after saying all this, God is sending out a word of encouragement to the people… They do not need to fear or tremble or being dismayed.. There are certainly no other gods who can exert their power or interfere with God’s rule on the earth or even in the Universe..
His people can witness to this, look back in the past as God’s people saw His mighty hand at work...
So with their witness past and even present, is there a God besides me? No
The word is there is no Rock, I know not any.... The imagery of God as a rick creates a image of a solid foundation that is immoveable and the source of protection to the people.
Since there is no other, the people can trust YHWH God.
Verses 9-20, begins a new section.... here, it is the voice of how useless it is to trust in idols that have no power, that are not even real.
Verse 9 Isa 44:9
Isaiah 44:9 ESV
9 All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame.
The opening seems to condemn the carpenters or artisans who make these idols. all who makes these figures are worthless and empty. Namely because what they make have no real value and brings no profit to those who embrace them.
These idols are a deception and they provide no benefits…
Think about today in Buddhism, you can go and buy a talisman and lets say it is supposed to bring you safety from fire… it will lsat a year and then you have to buy another one or you are not protected…
Do you think that talisman has any power…NO.. it is just a idol superstitious people will gather in order to bring them some amount of peace in their life… it is worthless but a money maker for the Buddhists.
These idol makers God is speaking about will be put to shame, they will be judged and people will finally discover the truth about these objects of wood and cast metals.
Verse 10-11 Isa 44:10-11
Isaiah 44:10–11 ESV
10 Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.
Who are these people who make worthless idols? Who would dare lead the people astray with such lies ( these idols are really powerful, yeah right).
Who would care so little about their own neighbors to make a profit over them...
Judgement will fall on those who have down such wicked acts that lead the people… they will all be put to shame.
Think of those who have lead the people astray, some of these name it and claim it preachers who promised wealth, healing etc if you did this or that, especially giving money to them and sadly nothing happened and the people were in a sense robbed of their wealth..
They will be put ot shame....that is what God is saying today in those who lead the people astray.
Verses 12-17 describes the making of these idols in greater detail...
Verse 12 Isa 44:12
Isaiah 44:12 ESV
12 The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.
The skilled artisan works and strives to produces these figures, these worthless idols.
The person hammers, cuts and works the material by his strength, He makes himself weary with all the work. His hard work leaves him hungry and thirsty...
Verse 13.... Isa 44:13
Isaiah 44:13 ESV
13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.
The carpenter does the same, he works the wood, he draws his outline... He shapes the figure into a man that will dwell in someone’s home…set in its temple or shrine that it might be worshipped.... How sad, false worship....
Verses 14 Isa 44:14
Isaiah 44:14 ESV
14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.
The man cuts down a tree to have wood for an idol, He chooses the right one wither it be oak or another sapling and them plants a young tree so there would be wood for the future.
Verse 15 Isa 44:15
Isaiah 44:15 ESV
15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it.
Look at how the wood is used, some is used to warm or to cook with it, and the rest is left over for his wood working to make something, in this case he has crafted an idol and then this likeness of a so called God, he falls down and worships.
This seems all so sad....
Verse 16 Isa 44:16-17
Isaiah 44:16–17 ESV
16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
The idea here is the wood itself should be special if it is used to craft the god, but no… it is used for many purposes and it reveals the worthless nature in the eyes of the person if their selfish needs are met
Verses 18-20 Isa 44:18-20
Isaiah 44:18–20 ESV
18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. 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 deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
The foolishness of worshipping these idols is seen here as well.
Think about it, the idea that men can make a powerful divine being out of a lifeless random piece of wood makes no sense.
These people do not know or perceive the real significance of their actions.... And only a fool would consume ashes and say it is good. So the people are foolish in their worship of these man made idols, they have no power or real presence in the land....
The do not know the difference in a created thing, meaning the tree and wood that is used, and God is the creator of the world and universe.
What has caused this, we see this is the continued thoughts of men and women from the generations before them.. The follow the cultural patters of the their parents and other evil leaders, and while they have truth in the law, they have not been taught the law..
Verses 21-22 Isa 44:21-22
Isaiah 44:21–22 ESV
21 Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. 22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.
So having reminded them about the dangers of idol worship, the prophets shares two promises from God, these are the “I will’s”
All they need to do is to remember these things…The first is they should remember the fact that God made them, and made them His servant. God makes a promise that he will dedicate himself to the special relationship that Israel forgot.
The second exhortation calls for the Israelites to repent and turn back to God, not some other false god.
Why should the Israelites turn back to God? One is that God has wiped away their sins and forgave them.
Just like the morning fog is carried away by the wind so our guilt and sin is carried away, what a bountiful blessing of God’s grace.
Verse 43 Isa 44:23
Isaiah 44:23 ESV
23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.
This verse is the end of a thought God is sharing and there is a little hymn of praise.
It is the praise given to God who has been saved Israel and redeemed them by His own love and mercy toward them and also those of the world who would know God because of Israel.
Verses 24-26 Isa 44:24-26
Isaiah 44:24–26 ESV
24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25 who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, 26 who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins’;
The people should believe that God is the one speaking to them, even if parts of the nation will be left in ruins because of the Babylonians… God will restore them in the future.
God is their redeemer, the one who formed you in the womb. The one who created the heavens and the earth will keep them even in difficult times of distress. He will not forget his people. Thus God can be trusted to handle all that they face.
God is sovereignly controlling the world at the present time. He foils and frustrates those who claim to be able to explain the signs around them, those diviners and sorcerers.
In truth do not look to these who say they know, turn to the one who does know today and tomorrow.
God will make fools of those sorcerers.
But God also is able to establish and fulfills the statements made by his servant, namely God will do what he has told Isaiah to say to the people.
God is the one who says to Jerusalem and Judah 3 things,
1. Jerusalem will be inhabited, 2. the cities of Judah will be built 3. I will restore them namely the ruins, what has been torn down will be rebuilt
Whole the people will be carried away in the future to Bably lon, they will once again return and dwell in their land, that is God’s commitment to His people.
Verse 27-28 Isa 44:27-28
Isaiah 44:27–28 ESV
27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry; I will dry up your rivers’; 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ”
Here is verse 27 we see the word deep… are these the warer of the ocean, the red sea or even the great river Euphrates..
Although God dired up the Red sea and allowed the people to pass to the other side before drowning all of Pharaoh's army. But here the imagery of drying up the waters refers to the overshelming flood of people that God will deliver his people from and give deliverance to Israel.
God will accomplish all that He desires ad will accomplish the transformation of Jerusalem.
God will speak to Cyrus, who he calls His shepherd to accomplish the things God requires. Specifically God will give Cyrus instruction to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem.
we see this with Nehemiah and his word with the Kings blessings...
The over arching theme is while God punished because of sin, then He will restore as He has promised.
God ordains people at times, even those considered enemies to carry out His will for His people.
Do you beleive God works in you, even in difficult times for his glory and your good?
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