The Passion Translation
Yahweh, the Only True God
44 1-2“Now, listen to me, my servant Jacob,
Israel, my chosen one.
I am Yahweh, your Creator, who shaped you in my womb.[a]
Hear what I have to say to you:
‘Don’t fear. I will help you, O Jacob my servant,
Do not fear, my pleasing one,[b] Israel.
3 I will pour refreshing water on the thirsty
and streams on the dry ground.[c]
I will pour out my Spirit on your children,[d]
my blessing upon your descendants.
4 They will spring up like grass blanketing a meadow,[e]
like poplars growing by gushing streams.
5 One will say, “I belong to Yahweh.”
Another will be called Jacob.
Yet another will write on his hand “Property of Yahweh.”
Another will adopt the name Israel.’”
6 The words of Yahweh,
Israel’s true King[f] and Kinsman-Redeemer,
Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies, says:
“I am the Beginning and I am the Ending,[g]
and I am the only God there is.
7 Who is like me? Go ahead, stand and speak up.
I’ll wait for him to announce it and explain it all to me!
Who else has announced from everlasting[h] what is to come?[i]
Let him prophesy what is yet to be.
8 Do not fear nor be shaken!
Haven’t I foretold it, announcing it to you ahead of time?
You are my witnesses, so tell me, is there any god besides me?
There is no other Rock of shelter; I know not one.”
9 Idol-makers amount to nothing,
and the things they treasure can do no one any good.
They are witnesses with blind eyes who know nothing;
they will be disgraced.
10 What kind of person would form an idol-god
or cast an image with no ability to do any good?
11 No wonder those who worship them[j] will be put to shame.
Their craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand.
They will all be terrified and put to shame!
12 The blacksmith takes his tongs and heats it over the coals,
forming it with hammers, forging it with his strong arm.
But when he gets hungry, his strength ebbs away,
and if he doesn’t drink water, he quickly grows weary.
13 The woodworker stretches out a measuring line,
then marks it and fashions his idol-god with his carving tools.
Then he uses a stylus to trace it out on the wood[k]
and shapes it into the figure of a man,
trying to make it look like a beautiful human
to be displayed somewhere in a shrine.
14 He chooses a cedar or a cypress or an oak,
but first lets it grow strong in the forest.
He plants a pine tree, and it is nourished by the rain.
15 The wood serves man for fuel;
some he uses to warm himself
and with some he bakes his bread.
But from this same wood he also makes a god to worship
and bows down to the idol he formed.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire to roast his meat.
Then he eats his fill and is satisfied.
Part he uses to warm himself and says,
“Ah, I’m warm and cozy sitting by the fire.”
17 With the rest of it he makes his idol-god,
bows down to it, and worships it!
He prays to it, saying, “Save me, for you are my god!”
18 They have no clue what they’re doing
and don’t comprehend how absurd it is!
For they shut their eyes so they cannot see.
They close their hearts so they cannot understand.
19 They have no knowledge, no understanding,
no discernment to say,
“Half of the wood I burned in the fire.
I roasted meat and cooked my dinner.
Now should I take the rest of the wood
and make it into an abomination?
Should I bow down and worship a block of wood?”
20 He feeds his spirit on ashes![l]
His deluded heart leads him astray.
He can’t even ask himself,
“Is this thing I’m holding in my right hand a fraud?”
God Never Forgets Israel
21 “Remember these things, O Jacob’s tribes,
and Israel, you are my servant.
I created you to be my servant, and I will never forget you!
22 I have swept away your sins like a thick cloud.[m]
I have made your guilt to vanish
like mist disappearing into thin air.
Now come back, come back to me,
for I have paid the price for you.”[n]
23 Sing! Starry sky above, break loose with singing,
for Yahweh has finished it!
Shout! Earth deep below, give up your shout!
Mountains high, break out with joyous songs of praise!
Let the forest choirs join in, with every tree singing its notes!
For Yahweh has paid the ransom price for Jacob’s tribes,
and he will be glorified in Israel!
God Is in Control
24 Here is what Yahweh,
your Kinsman-Redeemer, who formed you in his womb, has to say:
“I am Yahweh, Creator of all.
I alone stretched out the canvas of the cosmos.
I who shaped the earth needed no one’s help.
25 Now I make fools of fortune-tellers
and frustrate astrologers’ predictions.
I confuse the wise, who think they know it all,
and make their ‘knowledge’ into foolishness.
26 I confirm the word of my servants
and fulfill the prophecies of my messengers.
I say to Jerusalem, ‘Many people will live in you again,’
and to the cities of Judah, ‘I will raise up your ruins; you will be rebuilt!’
27 I say to deep waters, ‘Dry up!’ and to rivers, ‘Become dry!’[o]
28 I say concerning Cyrus,[p] ‘He is my shepherd,
and he will carry out all the purposes I have for him,’
saying to Jerusalem, ‘You will be rebuilt and flourish again!’
saying to the temple, ‘You will be reconstructed!’[q]
- Isaiah 44:1 There is no verse in the Bible that speaks of God as our mother, but there are frequent metaphors that imply God gave us birth (and new birth), nurtured us in his love, and even formed us in his womb. The love God has for us is similar to a mother’s love. The Hebrew concept of compassion carries this thought, for compassion (racham) is the same word as “womb.” God has a womb-love for each of us. This thought resurfaces more than once in these later chapters of Isaiah.
- Isaiah 44:1 Or “Jeshurun,” a symbolic name for Israel showing her unique, intimate relationship with God. It is taken from the root word yashar, “to please.” Others translate this endearing term for Israel as “upright one.” God will straighten out the crookedness of Jacob. Jeshurun is found only here and in Deuteronomy (Deut. 32:15; 33:5, 26).
- Isaiah 44:3 See Ps. 68:5-6.
- Isaiah 44:3 See Acts 2:12-17.
- Isaiah 44:4 Or “like a binu-tree” (Dead Sea scroll 1QIsaa).
- Isaiah 44:6 See Matt. 27:42; Mark 15:32; John 1:49; 12:13.
- Isaiah 44:6 Or “I am the First, and I am the Last.”
- Isaiah 44:7 “Everlasting” is olam, and there are nine more everlasting things found in Isaiah: (1) Everlasting God (40:28; 63:12), (2) Everlasting Covenant (55:3; 61:8), (3) Everlasting Kindness (54:8), (4) Everlasting Salvation (45:17), (5) Everlasting Majesty on God’s people (60:15), (6) Everlasting Joy (51:11), (7) Everlasting Name (56:5), (8) Everlasting Light (60:19-20), and (9) Everlasting Sign (55:13).
- Isaiah 44:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. “from my placing an eternal people and things to come.”
- Isaiah 44:11 Or “those who produce them.”
- Isaiah 44:13 Or “rounds it with his instruments.”
- Isaiah 44:20 Or “the shepherd of ashes.”
- Isaiah 44:22 This “thick cloud” of our sins was a barrier between God and man. Grace has swept it away so that we can freely come before him.
- Isaiah 44:22 See Gal. 3:13-14.
- Isaiah 44:27 This actually happened at the taking of Babylon by Cyrus. See Jer. 50:38; 51:31-36.
- Isaiah 44:28 Cyrus, king of Persia, reigned from 559–529 BC. He permitted the Jews to return from captivity to Jerusalem and issued a decree to authorize the temple to be rebuilt (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). Even though Isaiah prophesied 150 years before Cyrus became king, he calls him by name. This is one of the greatest proofs of God’s omniscience and sovereignty as well as the supernatural aspect of prophecy.
- Isaiah 44:28 Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrote that “when Cyrus read this (Isaiah’s prophecy), and admired the Divine Power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written.” These verses in chs. 44–45 convinced Cyrus to issue the decree to rebuild the temple. See Josephus Ant. XI. 1.2 and Ezra 5:13.