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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.
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.
They will spring up like grass blanketing a meadow,[e]
    like poplars growing by gushing streams.
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.’”
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.
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.
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.”
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]

Footnotes

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Isaiah 44:3 See Ps. 68:5-6.
  4. Isaiah 44:3 See Acts 2:12-17.
  5. Isaiah 44:4 Or “like a binu-tree” (Dead Sea scroll 1QIsaa).
  6. Isaiah 44:6 See Matt. 27:42; Mark 15:32; John 1:49; 12:13.
  7. Isaiah 44:6 Or “I am the First, and I am the Last.”
  8. 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).
  9. Isaiah 44:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. “from my placing an eternal people and things to come.”
  10. Isaiah 44:11 Or “those who produce them.”
  11. Isaiah 44:13 Or “rounds it with his instruments.”
  12. Isaiah 44:20 Or “the shepherd of ashes.”
  13. 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.
  14. Isaiah 44:22 See Gal. 3:13-14.
  15. Isaiah 44:27 This actually happened at the taking of Babylon by Cyrus. See Jer. 50:38; 51:31-36.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.

Israel the Chosen

44 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant,(A)
    Israel, whom I have chosen.(B)
This is what the Lord says—
    he who made(C) you, who formed you in the womb,(D)
    and who will help(E) you:
Do not be afraid,(F) Jacob, my servant,(G)
    Jeshurun,[a](H) whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water(I) on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground;(J)
I will pour out my Spirit(K) on your offspring,
    and my blessing(L) on your descendants.(M)
They will spring up like grass(N) in a meadow,
    like poplar trees(O) by flowing streams.(P)
Some will say, ‘I belong(Q) to the Lord’;
    others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand,(R) ‘The Lord’s,’(S)
    and will take the name Israel.

The Lord, Not Idols

“This is what the Lord says—
    Israel’s King(T) and Redeemer,(U) the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;(V)
    apart from me there is no God.(W)
Who then is like me?(X) Let him proclaim it.
    Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
    and what is yet to come—
    yes, let them foretell(Y) what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
    Did I not proclaim(Z) this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God(AA) besides me?
    No, there is no other Rock;(AB) I know not one.”

All who make idols(AC) are nothing,
    and the things they treasure are worthless.(AD)
Those who would speak up for them are blind;(AE)
    they are ignorant, to their own shame.(AF)
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,(AG)
    which can profit nothing?(AH)
11 People who do that will be put to shame;(AI)
    such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
    they will be brought down to terror and shame.(AJ)

12 The blacksmith(AK) takes a tool
    and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
    he forges it with the might of his arm.(AL)
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
    he drinks no water and grows faint.(AM)
13 The carpenter(AN) measures with a line
    and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
    and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,(AO)
    human form in all its glory,
    that it may dwell in a shrine.(AP)
14 He cut down cedars,
    or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
    or planted a pine,(AQ) and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel(AR) for burning;
    some of it he takes and warms himself,
    he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships(AS) it;
    he makes an idol and bows(AT) down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
    over it he prepares his meal,
    he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
    “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.(AU)
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
    he bows down to it and worships.(AV)
He prays(AW) to it and says,
    “Save(AX) me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand(AY) nothing;
    their eyes(AZ) are plastered over so they cannot see,
    and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
    no one has the knowledge or understanding(BA) to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;(BB)
    I even baked bread over its coals,
    I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable(BC) thing from what is left?
    Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”(BD)
20 Such a person feeds on ashes;(BE) a deluded(BF) heart misleads him;
    he cannot save himself, or say,
    “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?(BG)

21 “Remember(BH) these things, Jacob,
    for you, Israel, are my servant.(BI)
I have made you, you are my servant;(BJ)
    Israel, I will not forget you.(BK)
22 I have swept away(BL) your offenses like a cloud,
    your sins like the morning mist.
Return(BM) to me,
    for I have redeemed(BN) you.”

23 Sing for joy,(BO) you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
    shout aloud, you earth(BP) beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,(BQ)
    you forests and all your trees,(BR)
for the Lord has redeemed(BS) Jacob,
    he displays his glory(BT) in Israel.

Jerusalem to Be Inhabited

24 “This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer,(BU) who formed(BV) you in the womb:(BW)

I am the Lord,
    the Maker of all things,
    who stretches out the heavens,(BX)
    who spreads out the earth(BY) by myself,
25 who foils(BZ) the signs of false prophets
    and makes fools of diviners,(CA)
who overthrows the learning of the wise(CB)
    and turns it into nonsense,(CC)
26 who carries out the words(CD) of his servants
    and fulfills(CE) the predictions of his messengers,

who says of Jerusalem,(CF) ‘It shall be inhabited,’
    of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
    and of their ruins,(CG) ‘I will restore them,’(CH)
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
    and I will dry up(CI) your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus,(CJ) ‘He is my shepherd
    and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem,(CK) “Let it be rebuilt,”
    and of the temple,(CL) “Let its foundations(CM) be laid.”’

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 44:2 Jeshurun means the upright one, that is, Israel.

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