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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah

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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 44 : Reassurances

 

v.1-5 Israel as God's Chosen

v.6-8 The Uniqueness of the Lord

v.9-20 The Work & Folly of Idol Makers

v.21-23 The Work of Israel's Redemption

v.24-28 The Redeemer & what He does

 

[In these ‘Frameworks' we add subheadings and summary notes for each verse so the everyday reader, can sense what the verses are saying and catch the direction of the prophecy]

     

[Preliminary notes: Again and again Israel's problem had been idolatry and turning away from God, and that had resulted in them being severely disciplined by God. This is a chapter of amazing reassurances of restoration, even thought they had been disciplined for their idolatry.]

 

v.1-5 Israel as God's Chosen

     

v.1 (Call to Israel to listen) “But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
     Israel, whom I have chosen.

   
v.2 (Don't be afraid my chosen one) This is what the Lord says — he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
     and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
     Jeshurun,
[means the upright one] whom I have chosen.

    
v.3 (I'm going to pour out my transforming Spirit) For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
     and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
     and my blessing on your descendants.
v.4  They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
     like poplar trees by flowing streams.
v.5  Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord';
     others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord's,'
     and will take the name Israel.

 

[Note: This prophecy is one of reassurance and hope. The Lord will pour out His Spirit on the future generations of Israel to reinstate His relationship with them.]

 

v.6-8 The Uniqueness of the Lord

 

v.6 (The Lord's uniqueness) This is what the Lord says
     Israel's King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
     apart from me there is no God.
v.7  Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
     Let him declare and lay out before me
(Unique in that He knows what is to come)

what has happened since I established my ancient people,
     and what is yet to come—
     yes, let them foretell what will come.

    
v.8 (Therefore they don't need to fear)

Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
     Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
     No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

 

[Note: Their security resides in who He is, His eternal existence, their Lord and redeemer who knows both past and future, His uniqueness.]

     

v.9-20 The Work & Folly of Idol Makers

 

v.9 (Those who make idols are human nobodies) All who make idols are nothing,
     and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
     they are ignorant, to their own shame.
v.10  Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
     which can profit nothing?
v.11  People who do that will be put to shame;
     such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
     they will be brought down to terror and shame.

    

v.12  (Idols are only the work of craftsmen)

The blacksmith 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.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
     he drinks no water and grows faint.
v.13  The carpenter 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,
     human form in all its glory,
     that it may dwell in a shrine.

   
v.14 (Idols originate in the woods)

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, and the rain made it grow.

    
v.15 (It's just wood like you burn) It is used as fuel 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 it;
     he makes an idol and bows down to it.
v.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.”
v.17  From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
     he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
     “Save me! You are my god!”

    
v.18 (Idols know nothing & say nothing) They know nothing, they understand nothing;
     their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
     and their minds closed so they cannot understand.

   
v.19 (Those who make or use them are shortsighted) No one stops to think,
     no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
     I even baked bread over its coals,
     I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
     Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
v.20  Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
     he cannot save himself, or say,
     “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”

 

[Note: Idols were Israel's biggest downfall and here Isaiah shows how foolish using idols is. They are made by human beings who are only craftsmen, they come from trees and are no more than the wood used on fires.]

 

v.21-23 The Work of Israel's Redemption

     

v.21 (Israel are God-created) “Remember these things, Jacob,
     for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
     Israel, I will not forget you.

    
v.22 (Israel are God-redeemed) I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
     your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
     for I have redeemed you.”

   

v.23(They are a cause for universal celebration) Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
     shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
     you forests and all your trees,
for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
     he displays his glory in Israel.

Jerusalem to Be Inhabited

  

[Note: Contrasting Himself with these idols, He is the Living God who brought Israel into being and who has redeemed them and made them a praise in the earth]

    

v.24-28 The Redeemer & what He does

  

v.24 (Their maker is the Creator) This is what the Lord says your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

I am the Lord,
     the Maker of all things,
     who stretches out the heavens,
     who spreads out the earth by myself,

   
v.25 (Their maker is all-wise & all-knowing) who foils the signs of false prophets
     and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
     and turns it into nonsense,

    
v.26 (Their maker fulfils the prophecies He gives) who carries out the words of his servants
     and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,

who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,'
     of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,'
     and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,'
v.27  who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
     and I will dry up your streams,'

   
v.28 (Their maker will raise up Cyrus to restore them) who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
     and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”

     and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”'

   

[Note: Again, their reassurance is that God who is the all-powerful, all-wise and all-knowing Creator of all things, is the One who chose them and created them and, yes, disciplines them, but restores them and will yet provide a saviour for them to restore them after future exile and destruction.]

 

 

[Concluding comments: This chapter is a remarkable chapter of encouragement and reassurance. It is a word that perhaps hung in history to be remembered after times of discipline, for within it there is talk of future generations being restored to Him [v.1-5], and of a time of future restoration [v.24-28]. They can be reassured in this sort of language because the Lord is the all-powerful Creator of all things [who – implied – can do anything] as He did in the past [v.6-8] and will do again [v.21-23]. Their greatest danger is the folly of idolatry which rears up again and again and again throughout Israel's history, so He seeks to point out to them of the shear folly of trusting in bits of wood [v.9-20]. A very clear-cut chapter.

 

Understanding Prophecy: The unknowing question Isaiah speaking about a coming saviour for Israel in the form of Cyrus – see 2 Chron 36:22,23. What is often forgotten is that Moses prophesied about this, first by reference to a curse for disobedience – Deut 28:36 and following chapters – with frequent warnings about future destruction and exile. The Lord knew exactly what would happen and that He would eventually intervene at the time of Cyrus king of Persia.]

    

 

Continue to Chapter 45