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The Lord Controls Human Events

41 Be silent and listen,
    every island in the sea.
Have courage and come near,
    every one of you nations.
Let’s settle this matter!
Who appointed this ruler
    from the east?[a]
Who puts nations and kings
    in his power?[b]
His sword and his arrows
turn them to dust
    blown by the wind.
He goes after them so quickly
that his feet
    barely touch the ground—
he doesn’t even get hurt.

Who makes these things happen?
Who controls human events?
    I do! I am the Lord.
I was there at the beginning;
    I will be there at the end.
Islands and foreign nations
saw what I did
and trembled
    as they came near.

What Can Idols Do?

Worshipers of idols
comfort each other,
    saying, “Don’t worry!”
Woodcarvers, goldsmiths,
    and other workers[c]
encourage one another and say,
    “We’ve done a great job!”
Then they nail the idol down,
    so it won’t fall over.

The Lord’s Chosen Servant

Israel, you are my servant.
I chose you,
the family
    of my friend Abraham.
From far across the earth
    I brought you here and said,
“You are my chosen servant.
    I haven’t forgotten you.”

10 Don’t be afraid. I am with you.
Don’t tremble with fear.
    I am your God.
I will make you strong,
as I protect you with my arm
    and give you victories.
11 Everyone who hates you
    will be terribly disgraced;
those who attack
    will vanish into thin air.
12 You will look around
    for those brutal enemies,
but you won’t find them
    because they will be gone.

13 I am the Lord your God.
I am holding your hand,
    so don’t be afraid.
I am here to help you.

14 People of Israel, don’t worry,
though others may say,
    “Israel is only a worm!”
I am the holy God of Israel,
    who saves and protects you.
15 I will let you be like a log
    covered with sharp spikes.[d]
You will grind and crush
every mountain and hill[e]
    until they turn to dust.
16 A strong wind will scatter them
    in all directions.
Then you will celebrate
and praise me, your Lord,
    the holy God of Israel.

The Lord Helps the Poor

17 When the poor and needy
are dying of thirst
    and cannot find water,
I, the Lord God of Israel,
will come to their rescue.
    I won’t forget them.
18 I will make rivers flow
    on mountain peaks.
I will send streams
    to fill the valleys.
Dry and barren land
will flow with springs
    and become a lake.
19 I will fill the desert
    with all kinds of trees—
cedars, acacias, and myrtles;
olive and cypress trees;
    fir trees and pines.
20 Everyone will see this
    and know that I,
the holy Lord God of Israel,
    created it all.

Idols Are Useless

21 I am the Lord,
    the King of Israel!
Come argue your case with me.
    Present your evidence.
22 Come near me, you idols.[f]
Tell us about the past,
    and we will think about it.
Tell us about the future,
so we will know
    what is going to happen.
23 Prove that you are gods
by making your predictions
    come true.
Do something good or evil,
so we can be amazed
    and terrified.[g]
24 You idols are nothing,
    and you are powerless.[h]
To worship you
    would be disgusting.

25 I, the Lord, appointed a ruler
    in the north;
now he comes from the east
    to honor my name.
He tramples[i] kings like mud,
    as potters trample clay.[j]
26 Did any of you idols predict
    what would happen?
Did any of you get it right?
None of you told about this
    or even spoke a word.
27 I was the first to tell
the people of Jerusalem,
    “Look, it’s happening!”[k]
I was the one who announced
    this good news to Zion.

28 None of these idols
are able to give advice
    or answer questions.
29 They are nothing,[l]
    and they can do nothing—
they are less
    than a passing breeze.

Footnotes

  1. 41.2 ruler from the east: Probably Cyrus (see 44.28; 45.1; 48.14).
  2. 41.2 Who puts. . . power: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 41.7 and other workers: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 41.15 I will let. . . sharp spikes: In ancient times a heavy object was sometimes dragged over wheat or barley to separate the grain from the husk. This was called threshing.
  5. 41.15 mountain and hill: These stand for the power and pride of Israel’s enemies.
  6. 41.22 Come near. . . idols: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 41.23 and terrified: Or “when we see it.”
  8. 41.24 powerless: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. 41.25 tramples: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 41.25 trample clay: This was done to soften the clay and make it easier to shape.
  11. 41.27 Look. . . happening: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. 41.29 nothing: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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