Isaiah 40-44 Comfort My People

Isaiah 40-44 Comfort My People

Psalm 78:1-39 Loyal Hearts Lacking
Ps 78:1 “ Hear my teaching, my people. Turn your ears to the words of my mouth...4 We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh, his strength, and his wondrous works that he has done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a teaching in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children..6 who should arise and tell their children, 7 that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments, 8 and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that didn’t make their hearts loyal, whose spirit was not steadfast/faithful with God 9...turned back in the day of battle. 10 They didn’t keep God’s covenant, and refused to walk in his law. 11 They forgot his doings, his wondrous works that he had shown them. 12 He did marvellous things in the sight of their fathers 13 He split the sea 14 he also led them with a cloud, and all night with a light of fire. 15 He split rocks and gave them drink abundantly 17 Yet they still went on to sin against him, to rebel against the Most High 18 They tempted God in their heart by asking food according to their desire. 19 Yes, they spoke against God...21 Therefore Yahweh heard, and was angry. A fire was kindled against Jacob, anger also went up against Israel, 22 because they didn’t believe in God, and didn’t trust in his salvation. 23 Yet he opened the doors of heaven. 24 He rained down manna 29 So they ate, and were well filled. He gave them their own desire. 30 They didn’t turn from their cravings 31 the anger of God went up against them...32 For all this they still sinned, and didn’t believe in his wondrous works. 33 Therefore he consumed their days in vanity, and their years in terror. 34 When He killed them, then they inquired after him. They returned and sought God earnestly. 35 They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their redeemer. 36 But they flattered Him with their mouth, and lied to Him with their tongue. 37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they faithful in his covenant. 38 But he, being merciful, forgave iniquity, and didn’t destroy them. Yes, many times He turned his anger away, and didn’t stir up all his wrath. 39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes away, and doesn’t come again...”

Observations: 78:1-6 Asaph recounts the history of the Exodus generation in a long psalm up to the establishment of David as king (72 verses). He exhorts people to obey God in teaching the way He established, so their hope and desires would be in God; then they would obey, and He could bless (the promised consequence for obedience).
78:7-31 Sadly, Israel “did not make their hearts loyal” (the same verb for “establish” in Proverbs 16:9 below), and were faithless to the covenant, forgetting all God's care and promises to bless, and therefore reaped discipline.
78:32-39 When God got more aggressive in killing them, they wised up and sought Him. But, that was a temporary fling because their heart was till set on satisfying their insatiable desires which only God can fill. God graciously forgave (many times), and looked for opportunities to fulfill His promises.
Application: If we set our heart in the right direction (of seeking God's will rather than our own), the feet and blessings will follow.
Prayer: Gracious God, You are incredibly loyal, and generous in dealing with the frailty of Your people; may I be quick to learn that Your way is best, and pass that truth on to others, so You can bless and be glorified. Amen.
Proverbs 19:25-29 Don't Stop Listening or You'll Stray
Pr 19:25 “Flog a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke one who has understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
26 He who robs his father and drives away his mother, is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.
27 If you stop listening to instruction, my son, you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A corrupt witness mocks justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down iniquity.
29 Penalties are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools.“

Observations: 19:25-29 A moderate chiastic exists for this section. Verses 25 and 29 are related, indicating the negative consequences for those who don't wholeheartedly embrace the truth. Verses 26 and 28 indicate the shameful actions which result for those who don't fear God and walk in His ways. Verse 27, in the center, warns us what will happen if you stop listening to instruction (or reading DailyTruthbase).
Application: We tend to follow what is in front of us; if it is the truth, we will walk in it; if it is something else, we will wander from the truth to walk in error, reaping negative consequences.
Prayer: Lord, please help me keep your truth in my sights, so I follow it; don't let anything distract me from learning and obeying Your word. Amen.


Isaiah 40-44 These chapters begin the second major section of Isaiah, the prophecies to the captives in Babylon (who wouldn't be there until about a 150 years after Isaiah died). The first 39 chapters warned them of judgment in hopes of causing repentance (can't win them all). Now that they are experiencing the promised judgment, chapters 40-55 predict their promised restoration to God and return to Israel, in hopes of causing hope, and a corresponding faithfulness to the Lord. The whole point of these chapters is that God knows the future, unlike the dumb idols they might be tempted to serve. Some blind and dumb commentators can't see that God can see and communicate the future so His people can respond to His revelation in faithful obedience. From one perspective, one could argue that the Babylonian gods are superior to the Israelite God, since the Babylonians defeated the Israelites. But being in Babylon is God's doing, as will be their removal from Babylon, by King Cyrus, at God's bidding.
Chapter 40 is absolutely critical for understanding the New Testament. All of the Gospels (including Mark in his super-condensed prologue), quote from it as the preface to the message of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles. To not understand Isaiah 40 in its context (Isa 1-39) is to misinterpret and misapply much of the New Testament, particularly the teaching about the kingdom.

Isaiah 40 Get Ready
40:1 "Comfort, comfort my people," says your God. 2 "Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her hard service is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yahweh’s hand double for all her sins."
3 The voice of one who calls out in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of Yahweh! Make a level highway in the desert for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain. 5 The glory of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it." 6 The voice of one saying, "Cry!" One said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because Yahweh’s breath blows on it. Surely the people are like grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever."
9 You who tell good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who tell good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength. Lift it up. Don’t be afraid. Say to the cities of Judah, "Behold, your God!" 10 Behold, the Lord Yahweh will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom. He will gently lead those who have their young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and marked off the sky with his span, and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? 13 Who has directed the Spirit of Yahweh, or has taught him as his counselor? 14 Who did he take counsel with, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance. Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing. 16 Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its animals sufficient for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are like nothing before him. They are regarded by him as less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to him? 19 A workman has cast an image, and the goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts silver chains for it. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot. He seeks a skillful workman to set up an engraved image for him that will not be moved. 21 Haven’t you known? Haven’t you heard, yet? Haven’t you been told from the beginning? Haven’t you understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing; who makes the judges of the earth like meaningless. 24 They are planted scarcely. They are sown scarcely. Their stock has scarcely taken root in the ground. He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the whirlwind takes them away as stubble. 25 "To whom then will you liken me? Who is my equal?" says the Holy one. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these, who brings out their hosts by number. He calls them all by name. by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, Not one is lacking.
27 Why do you say, Jacob, and speak, Israel, "My way is hidden from Yahweh, and the justice due me is disregarded by my God?" 28 Haven’t you known? Haven’t you heard? The everlasting God, Yahweh, The Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t faint. He isn’t weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. 30 Even the youths faint and get weary, and the young men utterly fall; 31 But those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint.

Observations: 40:1-2 The famous opening words of Handel's Messiah begin the second portion of Isaiah. Comfort is spoken to Judah in anticipation of her return to Jerusalem after reaping the promised consequence for her sin. He had pardoned their iniquity.
40:3-11 The famous opening lines of John the Baptist tell people to clean up their act, because the king is coming to judge. In the Ancient Near East, if a king's chariot or carriage hit a pothole, or he didn't like the garbage dump that greeted him on a visit to a town, he could order his soldiers to destroy the town. So he'd send out heralds to announce his visit. Isaiah is told to remind people that men are like grass, and the rulers (glory) are like flowers that fade and are gone; but God's word and promises (to restore) are forever.
When the Messiah returns to rule, His reward will be with Him to recompense or pay back His servants. Therefore, make sure you have your act together, and you're ready to be rewarded rather than shamed (or worse). This concept precedes the message of John, Jesus, and the apostles, to repent, for the promised kingdom is at hand. (See Biblical Survey of Rewards on Truthbase.net for more, or wait until we get to the NT).
40:12- 26The incomparable Creator God is coming, before whom nations and their leaders are a drop in the bucket. He sits above the circle (who knew) of the earth, and plays “name that star” (showing His control over them and the gods they represent).
40:27-31 God knows what's going on with the nation of Israel, and is not powerless to save, for He is the one who give power, etc. The reason Israel will be in exile is not due to any lack of strength on His part (for He put them there).
Application: Since God's return to judge His people is certain, make sure you'll hear “well done, good and faithful servant,” by doing well, being good and faithful, and a servant of His will.”
Prayer: Incomparable God of all power and might, please give me strength to do Your will, and finish strong. Amen.

Isaiah 41 God Is Our Helper
41:1 "Keep silent before me, islands, and let the peoples renew their strength. Let them come near, then let them speak. Let’s meet together for judgment. 2 Who has raised up one from the east? Who called him to his foot in righteousness? He hands over nations to him, and makes him rule over kings. He gives them like the dust to his sword, like the driven stubble to his bow. 3 He pursues them, and passes by safely, Even by a way that he had not gone with his feet. 4 Who has worked and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, Yahweh, with the first, and with the last, I am he." 5 The islands have seen, and fear. The ends of the earth tremble. They approach, and come. 6 Everyone helps his neighbor. They say to their brothers, "Be strong!" 7 So the carpenter encourages the goldsmith. He who smooths with the hammer encourages him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good"; and he fastens it with nails, that it might not totter.
8 "But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend, 9 You whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from its corners, and said to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you away’; 10 Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all those who are incensed against you will be disappointed and confounded. Those who strive with you will be like nothing, and shall perish. 12 You will seek them, and won’t find them, even those who contend with you. Those who war against you will be as nothing, as a non-existent thing. 13 For I, Yahweh your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will help you.’ 14 Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel. I will help you," says Yahweh, "and your Redeemer is the Holy one of Israel. 15 Behold, I have made you into a new sharp threshing instrument with teeth. You will thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and will make the hills like chaff. 16 You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, and the whirlwind will scatter them. You will rejoice in Yahweh. You will glory in the Holy one of Israel. 17 The poor and needy seek water, and there is none. Their tongue fails for thirst. I, Yahweh, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. 19 I will put cedar, acacia, myrtle, and oil trees in the wilderness. I will set fir trees, pine, and box trees together in the desert; 20 that they may see, know, consider, and understand together, that the hand of Yahweh has done this, and the Holy one of Israel has created it.
21 Produce your cause," says Yahweh. "Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob. 22 "Let them announce, and declare to us what shall happen. Declare the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or show us things to come. 23 Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods. Yes, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and see it together. 24 Behold, you are of nothing, and your work is of nothing. He who chooses you is an abomination. 25 "I have raised up one from the north, and he has come; from the rising of the sun, one who calls on my name; and he shall come on rulers as on mortar, and as the potter treads clay. 26 Who has declared it from the beginning, that we may know? And before, that we may say, ‘He is right?’ Surely, there is no one who declares. Surely, there is no one who shows. Surely, there is no one who hears your words. 27 I am the first to say to Zion, ‘Behold, look at them’; and I will give one who brings good news to Jerusalem. 28 When I look, there is no man; even among them there is no counselor who, when I ask of them, can answer a word. 29 Behold, all of them, their works are vanity and nothing. Their molten images are wind and confusion.

Observations: 41:1-7 God portrays Himself as the ruler over the ruler of kings, and the originator of all generations of mankind. The earth quakes before Him, but the nations build idols.
41:8-20 God comforts Israel by reminding them that He chose them, and will not cast them away. He is their God, their Protector and Helper, who will vanquish their enemies, so they should not be afraid, but trust Him. He will use them to judge the nations, and work on their behalf, so people can look at His work, and figure out or reason, that He is the Holy One of Israel.
41:21-28 God taunts the unbelievers and their gods with a challenge to declare the future, and do deeds, good or evil to show their work, but they can't. A major argument of Isaiah is that God tells what will happen in the future so we can trust Him with it. Those who argue that this second portion of Isaiah couldn't have been written by the same guy who wrote the first half are dumber than the dumb idols. God reveals it to His servants to demonstrate that He is the God beyond time. How else would He be able to reveal what will happen in what is still our future?
Application: Since God is our Helper, look to Him for help. (Memorize Isaiah 41:10 if you haven't already done so.)
Prayer: God, thanks for wanting to help and sustain, and strengthen me, and that I can call upon You anytime. Amen.

Isaiah 42 Profitable Servant and Unprofitable Servants
42:1 "Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights—I have put my Spirit on him. He will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout, nor raise his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street. 3 He won’t break a bruised reed. He won’t quench a dimly burning wick. He will faithfully bring justice. 4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, until he has set justice in the earth, and the islands will wait for his law."
5 Thus says God Yahweh, he who created the heavens and stretched them out, he who spread out the earth and that which comes out of it, he who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk in it. 6 "I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and make you a covenant for the people, as a light for the nations; 7 to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners out of the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison. 8 "I am Yahweh. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to engraved images. 9 Behold, the former things have happened, and I declare new things. I tell you about them before they come up." 10 Sing to Yahweh a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is therein, the islands and their inhabitants. 12 Let them give glory to Yahweh, and declare his praise in the islands.
13 Yahweh will go out like a mighty man. He will stir up zeal like a man of war. He will raise a war cry. Yes, he will shout aloud. He will triumph over his enemies. 14 "I have been silent a long time. I have been quiet and restrained myself.16 I will bring the blind by a way that they don’t know. I will lead them in paths that they don’t know. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. I will do these things, and I will not forsake them. 17 "Those who trust in engraved images, who tell molten images, ‘You are our gods’ will be turned back. They will be utterly disappointed.
18 "Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see. 19 Who is blind, but my servant? Or who is as deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is as blind as he who is at peace, and as blind as Yahweh’s servant? 20 You see many things, but don’t observe. His ears are open, but he doesn’t listen. 21 It pleased Yahweh, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify the law, and make it honorable. 22 But this is a robbed and plundered people. All of them are snared in holes, and they are hidden in prisons. They have become a prey, and no one delivers; and a spoil, and no one says, ‘Restore them!’ 23 Who is there among you who will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob as plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Didn’t Yahweh, he against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in his ways, and they disobeyed his law. 25 Therefore he poured the fierceness of his anger on him, and the strength of battle; and it set him on fire all around, but he didn’t know; and it burned him, but he didn’t take it to heart."

Observations: 42:1-4 In 41:8 God called Israel “my servant.” Now He applies that title to a person, the Messiah, who will have God's Spirit upon Him (11:2-4) and bring justice to the nations, without abandoning the dimly burning wick of bruised and disciplined Israel. The world waits for His law.
42:5-12 God's plan for His people was to have them be a light through the covenant He made with them, but instead of being able to bless them, He had to judge them.
42:13-25 God will act and not forsake Israel even though He has had to discipline them for ther blind and deaf disobedience to His law. He will eventually get them straightened out, even thought they have been very slow to learn.
Application: God wants us to look, listen, and learn, so we can do His will, and be a light to others, instead of stumbling around in the dark ourselves.
Prayer: God, please pour out Your Spirit on me, and make me sensitive to Your will, so You will be glorified through my life. Thanks. Amen.


Isaiah 43 Your Purpose for Being on the Planet
43:1 But now thus says Yahweh who created you, Jacob, and he who formed you, Israel: "Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, and flame will not scorch you. 3 For I am Yahweh your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior. I have given Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Since you have been precious and honored in my sight, and I have loved you; therefore I will give people in your place, and nations instead of your life. 5 Don’t be afraid; for I am with you. I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west. 6 I will tell the north, ‘Give them up!’ and tell the south, ‘Don’t hold them back! Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yes, whom I have made.’"
8 Bring out the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the peoples be assembled. Who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear, and say, "That is true." 10 "You are my witnesses," says Yahweh, "With my servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he. Before me there was no God formed, neither will there be after me. 11 I myself am Yahweh; and besides me there is no savior. 12 I have declared, I have saved, and I have shown; and there was no strange god among you. Therefore you are my witnesses," says Yahweh, "and I am God. 13 Yes, since the day was I am he; and there is no one who can deliver out of my hand. I will work, and who can hinder it?"
14 Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel: "For your sake, I have sent to Babylon, and I will bring all of them down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, in the ships of their rejoicing. 15 I am Yahweh, your Holy one, the Creator of Israel, your King." 16 Thus says Yahweh, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; 17 who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the mighty man (they lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinct, they are quenched like a wick): 18 "Don’t remember the former things, and don’t consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing. It springs forth now. Don’t you know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The animals of the field shall honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; because I give water in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people which I formed for myself, that they might set forth my praise.
22 Yet you have not called on me, Jacob; but you have been weary of me, Israel. 23 You have not brought me of your sheep for burnt offerings; neither have you honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, nor wearied you with frankincense. 24 You have bought me no sweet cane with money, nor have you filled me with the fat of your sacrifices; but you have burdened me with your sins. You have wearied me with your iniquities. 25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins. 26 Put me in remembrance. Let us plead together. Set forth your case, that you may be justified. 27 Your first father sinned, and your teachers have transgressed against me. 28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; and I will make Jacob a curse, and Israel an insult."

Observations: 43:1-7 God created Israel for His glory (to magnify His name/reputation). When they encounter the inevitable difficulties of life (waters/fire) He will help them.
43:8-21 God demonstrates that He is the unique, eternal, and only God of history, who saves His people so they can declare His praise (for deliverance, so His reputation/glory can be seen).
43:22-28 Despite all He's done for His people from creating to sustaining and saving them, they don't call home (a perennial parental problem) nor honor him, but rather burden Him with their sins. However, in His grace, God blots out/destroys their transgressions so they can have a relationship with Him. It's not that the omniscient God can't remember their sins (He will judge them when He comes to judge and reward - 40:10), but He won't let their pardoned sins stand in the way of a reconciled relationship with Him. But because they wouldn't respond to Him, and their religious leaders and teachers didn't teach them correctly, the leaders would be treated as common (profaned, ie, deposed) and the nation cursed.
Application: We're made for God's glory, and are commanded to do all things for the glory of God (1Cor 10:31). You should be able to link everything you do to God's glory. If you can't, see the first hour of the TOYL Seminar on Truthbase.net, and the How to Glorify God sheet.
Prayer: Great and Gracious God, I am made for Your glory; may all I do contribute to it. Thanks for Your pardon; may I give you pleasure with my praise and not pain with my sin. Amen.

Isaiah 44 Making Gods and Servants
44:1 Yet listen now, Jacob my servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen. 2 This is what Yahweh who made you, and formed you from the womb, who will help you says: "Don’t be afraid, Jacob my servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and streams on the dry ground. I will pour my Spirit on your seed, and my blessing on your offspring: 4 and they will spring up among the grass, as willows by the watercourses. 5 One will say, ‘I am Yahweh’s’; and another will be called by the name of Jacob; and another will write with his hand ‘to Yahweh,’ and honor the name of Israel." 6 This is what Yahweh, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Hosts, says: "I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. 7 Who is like me? Who will call, and will declare it, and set it in order for me, since I established the ancient people? Let them declare the things that are coming, and that will happen. 8 Don’t fear, neither be afraid. Haven’t I declared it to you long ago, and shown it? You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? Indeed, there is not. I don’t know any other Rock."
9 Everyone who makes an engraved image is vain. The things that they delight in will not profit. Their own witnesses don’t see, nor know, that they may be disappointed. 10 Who has fashioned a god, or molds an image that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his fellows will be disappointed; and the workmen are mere men. Let them all be gathered together. Let them stand up. They will fear. They will be put to shame together. 12 The blacksmith takes an axe, works in the coals, fashions it with hammers, and works it with his strong arm. He is hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water, and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches out a line. He marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes. He marks it out with compasses, and shapes it like the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to reside in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak, and strengthens for himself one among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir tree, and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it will be for a man to burn; and he takes some of it, and warms himself. Yes, he burns it, and bakes bread. Yes, he makes a god, and worships it; he makes it an engraved image, and falls down to it. 16 He burns part of it in the fire. With part of it, he eats meat. He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. Yes, he warms himself, and says, "Aha! I am warm. I have seen the fire." 17 The rest of it he makes into a god, even his engraved image. He bows down to it and worships, and prays to it, and says, "Deliver me; for you are my god!" 18 They don’t know, neither do they consider: for he has shut their eyes, that they can’t see; and their hearts, that they can’t understand. 19 No one thinks, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, "I have burned part of it in the fire. Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals. I have roasted meat and eaten it. Shall I make the rest of it into an abomination? Shall I bow down to a tree trunk?" 20 He feeds on ashes. A deceived heart has turned him aside; and he can’t deliver his soul, nor say, "Isn’t there a lie in my right hand?"
21 Remember these things, Jacob and Israel; for you are my servant. I have formed you. You are my servant. Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. 23 Sing, you heavens, for Yahweh has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth! Break out into singing, you mountains, O forest, all of your trees, for Yahweh has redeemed Jacob, and will glorify himself in Israel. 24 Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, and he who formed you from the womb: "I am Yahweh, who makes all things; who alone stretches out the heavens; who spreads out the earth by myself; 25 who frustrates the signs of the liars, and makes diviners mad; who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish; 26 who confirms the word of his servant, and performs the counsel of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, ‘She will be inhabited’; and of the cities of Judah, ‘They will be built,’ and ‘I will raise up its waste places’; 27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry,’ and ‘I will dry up your rivers’; 28 Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure,’ even saying of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built’; and of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’"

Observations: 44:1-8 God reassures the nation that He has chosen them and will help them, therefore they shouldn't be afraid. He will reverse their fortunes and bless them, and they will honor Him. There is no other God besides Him. He is the first, last, and everything in between, who know and declares the future.
44:9-21 The gods are just pieces of wood, made by the people. But their deceived (guess who does the deceiving) hearts, and unthinking brains fail to see that the idol they worship and pray to is just a piece of wood, the other half of which baked their bread.
44:21-27 Israel is a people made or formed by God, who has redeemed them to be His servants, and blotted out/destroyed their sins. He calls for them to return to Him, for He has redeemed them. God has decreed that they will return to Jerusalem, and has raised up Cyrus, the Persian king to order Jerusalem to be rebuilt and the temple foundation to be laid. This was written over a hundred years before Cyrus was born, and demonstrates that God does indeed know the future, and has it under control. Well see more on Cyrus in the next post.
Application: God redeems people so they can serve Him, and He can bless them.
Prayer: God, You are my all in all. Thanks for redeeming me, and pouring out Your spirit upon me, empowering me to serve You. May I do what is pleasing in Your sight, and accomplish Your purposes for my life. Thanks. Amen.


Digging Deeper:

God in a nutshell: God is the incomparable, eternal Creator who has created Israel for His glory. He disciplines them to destroy their sin, and returns them back to the land for His glory's sake. He works in the lives of His people and communicates the future so it will be seen that He is God, and there is no other. He will be served by His people, His Servant Messiah, and even pagan kings. He disciplines His people when they disobey. He blesses His obedient people so they can be a light to draw others to Him. He redeems, restores, and strengthens His servants who return to Him.

Us in a nutshell: We are created as God's servants, for the purpose of glorifying God by declaring His praises and works in our lives. If we fail to obey His word, we will be disciplined until we repent. We can be deceived into thinking that the works of our hands can save us. If we repent and return to Him, He will bless us and restore us to a proper relationship as His servants, for whom He provides.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net
Isaiah complete text

Isaiah 40
40:1 "Comfort, comfort my people," says your God. 2 "Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yahweh’s hand double for all her sins."
3 The voice of one who calls out, "Prepare the way of Yahweh in the wilderness! Make a level highway in the desert for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain. 5 The glory of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it." 6 The voice of one saying, "Cry!" One said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because Yahweh’s breath blows on it. Surely the people are like grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever."
9 You who tell good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who tell good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength. Lift it up. Don’t be afraid. Say to the cities of Judah, "Behold, your God!" 10 Behold, the Lord Yahweh will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom. He will gently lead those who have their young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and marked off the sky with his span, and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? 13 Who has directed the Spirit of Yahweh, or has taught him as his counsellor? 14 Who did he take counsel with, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance. Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing. 16 Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its animals sufficient for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are like nothing before him. They are regarded by him as less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to him? 19 A workman has cast an image, and the goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts silver chains for it. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot. He seeks a skilful workman to set up an engraved image for him that will not be moved. 21 Haven’t you known? Haven’t you heard, yet? Haven’t you been told from the beginning? Haven’t you understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing; who makes the judges of the earth like meaningless. 24 They are planted scarcely. They are sown scarcely. Their stock has scarcely taken root in the ground. He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the whirlwind takes them away as stubble. 25 "To whom then will you liken me? Who is my equal?" says the Holy one. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these, who brings out their army by number. He calls them all by name. by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, Not one is lacking.
27 Why do you say, Jacob, and speak, Israel, "My way is hidden from Yahweh, and the justice due me is disregarded by my God?" 28 Haven’t you known? Haven’t you heard? The everlasting God, Yahweh, The Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t faint. He isn’t weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. 30 Even the youths faint and get weary, and the young men utterly fall; 31 But those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 41
41:1 "Keep silent before me, islands, and let the peoples renew their strength. Let them come near, then let them speak. Let’s meet together for judgment. 2 Who has raised up one from the east? Who called him to his foot in righteousness? He hands over nations to him, and makes him rule over kings. He gives them like the dust to his sword, like the driven stubble to his bow. 3 He pursues them, and passes by safely, Even by a way that he had not gone with his feet. 4 Who has worked and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, Yahweh, the first, and with the last, I am he." 5 The islands have seen, and fear. The ends of the earth tremble. They approach, and come. 6 Everyone helps his neighbour. They say to their brothers, "Be strong!" 7 So the carpenter encourages the goldsmith. He who smoothes with the hammer encourages him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good"; and he fastens it with nails, that it might not totter. 8 "But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend, 9 You whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from its corners, and said to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you away’;
10 Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all those who are incensed against you will be disappointed and confounded. Those who strive with you will be like nothing, and shall perish. 12 You will seek them, and won’t find them, even those who contend with you. Those who war against you will be as nothing, as a non-existent thing. 13 For I, Yahweh your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will help you.’ 14 Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel. I will help you," says Yahweh, "and your Redeemer is the Holy one of Israel. 15 Behold, I have made you into a new sharp threshing instrument with teeth. You will thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and will make the hills like chaff. 16 You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, and the whirlwind will scatter them. You will rejoice in Yahweh. You will glory in the Holy one of Israel. 17 The poor and needy seek water, and there is none. Their tongue fails for thirst. I, Yahweh, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. 19 I will put cedar, acacia, myrtle, and oil trees in the wilderness. I will set fir trees, pine, and box trees together in the desert; 20 that they may see, know, consider, and understand together, that the hand of Yahweh has done this, and the Holy one of Israel has created it.
21 Produce your cause," says Yahweh. "Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob. 22 "Let them announce, and declare to us what shall happen. Declare the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or show us things to come. 23 Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods. Yes, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and see it together. 24 Behold, you are of nothing, and your work is of nothing. He who chooses you is an abomination. 25 "I have raised up one from the north, and he has come; from the rising of the sun, one who calls on my name; and he shall come on rulers as on mortar, and as the potter treads clay. 26 Who has declared it from the beginning, that we may know? And before, that we may say, ‘He is right?’ Surely, there is no one who declares. Surely, there is no one who shows. Surely, there is no one who hears your words. 27 I am the first to say to Zion, ‘Behold, look at them’; and I will give one who brings good news to Jerusalem. 28 When I look, there is no man; even among them there is no counsellor who, when I ask of them, can answer a word. 29 Behold, all of them, their works are vanity and nothing. Their molten images are wind and confusion.

Isaiah 42
42:1 "Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights—I have put my Spirit on him. He will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout, nor raise his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street. 3 He won’t break a bruised reed. He won’t quench a dimly burning wick. He will faithfully bring justice. 4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, until he has set justice in the earth, and the islands will wait for his law."
5 Thus says God Yahweh, he who created the heavens and stretched them out, he who spread out the earth and that which comes out of it, he who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk in it. 6 "I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and make you a covenant for the people, as a light for the nations; 7 to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners out of the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison. 8 "I am Yahweh. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to engraved images. 9 Behold, the former things have happened, and I declare new things. I tell you about them before they come up." 10 Sing to Yahweh a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is therein, the islands and their inhabitants. 11 Let the wilderness and its cities raise their voices, with the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing. Let them shout from the top of the mountains! 12 Let them give glory to Yahweh, and declare his praise in the islands.
13 Yahweh will go out like a mighty man. He will stir up zeal like a man of war. He will raise a war cry. Yes, he will shout aloud. He will triumph over his enemies. 14 "I have been silent a long time. I have been quiet and restrained myself. Now I will cry out like a travailing woman. I will both gasp and pant. 15 I will destroy mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs. I will make the rivers islands, and will dry up the pools. 16 I will bring the blind by a way that they don’t know. I will lead them in paths that they don’t know. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. I will do these things, and I will not forsake them. 17 "Those who trust in engraved images, who tell molten images, ‘You are our gods’ will be turned back. They will be utterly disappointed.
18 "Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see. 19 Who is blind, but my servant? Or who is as deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is as blind as he who is at peace, and as blind as Yahweh’s servant? 20 You see many things, but don’t observe. His ears are open, but he doesn’t listen. 21 It pleased Yahweh, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify the law, and make it honourable. 22 But this is a robbed and plundered people. All of them are snared in holes, and they are hidden in prisons. They have become a prey, and no one delivers; and a spoil, and no one says, ‘Restore them!’ 23 Who is there among you who will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob as plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Didn’t Yahweh, he against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in his ways, and they disobeyed his law. 25 Therefore he poured the fierceness of his anger on him, and the strength of battle; and it set him on fire all around, but he didn’t know; and it burned him, but he didn’t take it to heart."

Isaiah 43
43:1 But now thus says Yahweh who created you, Jacob, and he who formed you, Israel: "Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, and flame will not scorch you. 3 For I am Yahweh your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Saviour. I have given Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Since you have been precious and honoured in my sight, and I have loved you; therefore I will give people in your place, and nations instead of your life. 5 Don’t be afraid; for I am with you. I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west. 6 I will tell the north, ‘Give them up!’ and tell the south, ‘Don’t hold them back! Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yes, whom I have made.’"
8 Bring out the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the peoples be assembled. Who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear, and say, "That is true." 10 "You are my witnesses," says Yahweh, "With my servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he. Before me there was no God formed, neither will there be after me. 11 I myself am Yahweh; and besides me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, I have saved, and I have shown; and there was no strange god among you. Therefore you are my witnesses," says Yahweh, "and I am God. 13 Yes, since the day was I am he; and there is no one who can deliver out of my hand. I will work, and who can hinder it?"
14 Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel: "For your sake, I have sent to Babylon, and I will bring all of them down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, in the ships of their rejoicing. 15 I am Yahweh, your Holy one, the Creator of Israel, your King." 16 Thus says Yahweh, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; 17 who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the mighty man (they lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinct, they are quenched like a wick): 18 "Don’t remember the former things, and don’t consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing. It springs forth now. Don’t you know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The animals of the field shall honour me, the jackals and the ostriches; because I give water in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people which I formed for myself, that they might set forth my praise.
22 Yet you have not called on me, Jacob; but you have been weary of me, Israel. 23 You have not brought me of your sheep for burnt offerings; neither have you honoured me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, nor wearied you with frankincense. 24 You have bought me no sweet cane with money, nor have you filled me with the fat of your sacrifices; but you have burdened me with your sins. You have wearied me with your iniquities. 25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins. 26 Put me in remembrance. Let us plead together. Set forth your case, that you may be justified. 27 Your first father sinned, and your teachers have transgressed against me. 28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; and I will make Jacob a curse, and Israel an insult."

Isaiah 44
44:1 Yet listen now, Jacob my servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen. 2 This is what Yahweh who made you, and formed you from the womb, who will help you says: "Don’t be afraid, Jacob my servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and streams on the dry ground. I will pour my Spirit on your seed, and my blessing on your offspring: 4 and they will spring up among the grass, as willows by the watercourses. 5 One will say, ‘I am Yahweh’s’; and another will be called by the name of Jacob; and another will write with his hand ‘to Yahweh,’ and honour the name of Israel." 6 This is what Yahweh, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Armies, says: "I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. 7 Who is like me? Who will call, and will declare it, and set it in order for me, since I established the ancient people? Let them declare the things that are coming, and that will happen. 8 Don’t fear, neither be afraid. Haven’t I declared it to you long ago, and shown it? You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? Indeed, there is not. I don’t know any other Rock."
9 Everyone who makes an engraved image is vain. The things that they delight in will not profit. Their own witnesses don’t see, nor know, that they may be disappointed. 10 Who has fashioned a god, or moulds an image that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his fellows will be disappointed; and the workmen are mere men. Let them all be gathered together. Let them stand up. They will fear. They will be put to shame together. 12 The blacksmith takes an axe, works in the coals, fashions it with hammers, and works it with his strong arm. He is hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water, and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches out a line. He marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes. He marks it out with compasses, and shapes it like the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to reside in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak, and strengthens for himself one among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir tree, and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it will be for a man to burn; and he takes some of it, and warms himself. Yes, he burns it, and bakes bread. Yes, he makes a god, and worships it; he makes it an engraved image, and falls down to it. 16 He burns part of it in the fire. With part of it, he eats meat. He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. Yes, he warms himself, and says, "Aha! I am warm. I have seen the fire." 17 The rest of it he makes into a god, even his engraved image. He bows down to it and worships, and prays to it, and says, "Deliver me; for you are my god!" 18 They don’t know, neither do they consider: for he has shut their eyes, that they can’t see; and their hearts, that they can’t understand. 19 No one thinks, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, "I have burned part of it in the fire. Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals. I have roasted meat and eaten it. Shall I make the rest of it into an abomination? Shall I bow down to a tree trunk?" 20 He feeds on ashes. A deceived heart has turned him aside; and he can’t deliver his soul, nor say, "Isn’t there a lie in my right hand?"
21 Remember these things, Jacob and Israel; for you are my servant. I have formed you. You are my servant. Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. 23 Sing, you heavens, for Yahweh has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth! Break out into singing, you mountains, O forest, all of your trees, for Yahweh has redeemed Jacob, and will glorify himself in Israel. 24 Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, and he who formed you from the womb: "I am Yahweh, who makes all things; who alone stretches out the heavens; who spreads out the earth by myself; 25 who frustrates the signs of the liars, and makes diviners mad; who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish; 26 who confirms the word of his servant, and performs the counsel of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, ‘She will be inhabited’; and of the cities of Judah, ‘They will be built,’ and ‘I will raise up its waste places’; 27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry,’ and ‘I will dry up your rivers’; 28 Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure,’ even saying of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built’; and of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’"