Scripture reading – Isaiah 44
Our chronological Scripture readings continues in the Book of Isaiah. The prophet has drawn a contrast between the idols of men, and the God of Israel, and continues the same in Isaiah 44. Once again, the LORD affirmed His love for His people, saying:
Isaiah 44:1–2 – 1Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; And Israel, whom I have chosen: 2Thus saith the Lord that made thee, And formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; And thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
Isaiah reminded Israel the LORD had (44:1-6), 1) “Chosen” Jacob (the name he was given at birth), and whose name He changed to Israel when that patriarch acknowledged the LORD was His God (44:1). 2) The LORD affirmed He had “formed” Israel like a mother conceives a child in her womb, and gives birth, so He had created Israel as His people (44:2a). As a mother nourishes her infant, so God promised He would bless His people physically (44:3a), and would pour out His Spirit upon them (44:3b). Isaiah promised the day would come when the people would unashamedly declare of themselves, “I am the LORD’s” (44:5).3) Isaiah proclaimed the LORD was “Redeemer the Lord of hosts” (44:6).
Isaiah Identified the God of Israel with Four Titles (44:6-8)
The LORD is the “King of Israel, and his [Israel’s] Redeemer” (44:6a). He is the “LORD of Hosts,” the Mighty One of Heaven (44:6b). He is “the first, and …the last” (44:6c). In His revelation to John, Christ said of Himself, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:8, 11, 21:6; 22:13). Finally, He is the One and Only God, “and beside [Him] there is no God” (44:6d).
Knowing there was no other God, than Israel’s God, Israel had nothing to fear! (44:8).
The Foolishness and Folly of Worshipping Idols (44:9-20)
Isaiah 44:9-20 draws for Israel a portrait of men who make idols or worship from their own imaginations. In a long diatribe, Isaiah reminded His people that the idols of men were “vanity” (44:9) and “profitable for nothing” (44:10). Idols “see not, nor know,” and those who make them should be ashamed (44:9-11).
The blacksmith, silversmith, and goldsmith, labor to fashion their gods with metals in hot coals, and hammer the metals “with the strength” of their arms, but those who fashion them become hungry, weak, and thirsty (44:12). The carpenter envisions his god with drawings of his imaginations (44:13), and then cuts down a tree (44:13-14). He takes the wood of a tree and saws and chisels out of the wood “a god, and worshippeth it; He maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto” (44:15).
What might be said of a man who worships the labor of his hands, and calls upon it saying, “Deliver me, for thou art my god” (44:17).
Why Do Men Worship Objects of Their Imagination and Labor? (44:18-20)
Sinners are spiritually ignorant, and blind, for they “have not known nor understood: For he [the LORD] hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; And their hearts, that they cannot understand” (44:18).
Those who worship other gods lack sound judgment (44:19a). They consider not the irony that he could burn his god in a fire or bake bread upon it. Such men are self-deceived, for they have placed their trust in that which cannot save (44:20b).
God’s Call for Israel to Remember (44:21-23)
Our study concludes with the LORD urging His people to remember He had formed, and called them to be his servant (44:21). In what way were the children of Israel to serve the LORD? He had revealed Himself to Abraham, and His lineage that they might represent Him before mankind. He had chosen them, and promised He would not forget His covenant with them (44:21c).
Though Israel sinned, the LORD promised He would forgive their sins if they would repent, and “Return unto [Him]”, for it was His desire to redeem them (44:22).
Knowing they were His people, and He their Redeemer, Isaiah exhorted the people to join with creation and sing unto the LORD, for “the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel” (44:23).
The LORD’s Promise to Return His People to Their Land (44:24-28)
The LORD reminded Israel He was the Creator of the heavens and the earth (44:24), and would perform all He had promised. Exposing their false prophets, Isaiah confirmed that the Lord would perform what He had promised by his messengers (44:25-26).
Closing thoughts – Isaiah prophesied the same God that opened the way for Israel to pass through the Red Sea, and divided the Jordan River (44:27), would surely bring Israel out of captivity and to her land. If that promise was not enough, the LORD revealed a king named Cyrus, nearly a century before he would be born, would serve Him as His “shepherd, and [would] perform all [His] pleasure: Even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; And to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid” (44:28; Ezra 1:1-11).
What a great God, Who has revealed Himself in His Creation, His Word, and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith