Isaiah 44
The LORD's promise to Israel
1People of Israel,
I have chosen you
as my servant.
2I am your Creator.
You were in my care
even before you were born.
Israel, don't be terrified!
You are my chosen servant,
my very favourite.#44.2 my very favourite: Or “Jeshurun”.
3I will bless the thirsty land
by sending streams of water;
I will bless your descendants
by giving them my Spirit.
4They will spring up like grass#44.4 like grass: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
or like willow trees
near flowing streams.
5They will worship me
and become my people.
They will write my name
on the back of their hands.#44.5 write…hands: To show that they belong to the LORD and to Israel.
6I am the LORD All-Powerful,#Is 48.12; Rev 1.17; 2.8; 22.13.
the first and the last,
the one and only God.
Israel, I have rescued you!
I am your King.
7Can anyone compare with me?
If so, let them speak up
and tell me now.
Let them say what has happened
since I made my nation
long ago,
and let them tell
what is going to happen.#44.7 Let them say…happen: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
8Don't tremble with fear!
Didn't I tell you long ago?
Didn't you hear me?
I alone am God—
no one else is a mighty rock.#44.8 mighty rock: See the note at 17.10.
Idols can't do a thing
The LORD said:
9Those people who make idols
are nothing themselves,
and the idols they treasure
are just as worthless.
Worshippers of idols are blind,
stupid, and foolish.
10Why make an idol or an image
that can't do a thing?
11Everyone who makes idols
and all who worship them
are mere humans,
who will end up
sadly disappointed.
Let them face me in court
and be terrified.
Idols and firewood
12A metalworker shapes an idol
by using a hammer#44.12 by using a hammer: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
and heat from the fire.
In his powerful hand
he holds a hammer,
as he pounds the metal
into the proper shape.
But he gets hungry and thirsty
and loses his strength.
13Some woodcarver measures
a piece of wood,
then draws an outline.
The idol is carefully carved
with each detail exact.
At last it looks like a person
and is placed in a temple.
14Cedar, cypress, oak,
or any tree from the forest
may be chosen.
Or even a pine tree planted
by the woodcarver
and watered by the rain.
15Some of the wood is used
to make a fire for heating
or for cooking.
One piece is made into an idol,
then the woodcarver bows down
and worships it.
16He enjoys the warm fire
and the meat that was roasted
over the burning coals.
17Afterwards, he bows down
to worship the wooden idol.
“Protect me!” he says.
“You are my god.”
18Those who worship idols are stupid and blind! 19They don't have enough sense to say to themselves, “I made a fire with half of the wood and cooked my bread and meat on it. Then I made something worthless with the other half. Why worship a block of wood?”
20How can anyone be stupid enough to trust something that can be burnt to ashes?#44.20 How…ashes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. No one can save themselves like that. Don't they realize that the idols they hold in their hands are not really gods?
The LORD won't forget his people
21People of Israel,
you are my servant,
so remember all of this.
Israel, I created you,
and you are my servant.
I won't forget you.#44.21 I won't forget you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
22Turn back to me!
I have rescued you
and swept away your sins
as though they were clouds.
Sing praises to the LORD
23Tell the heavens and the earth
to start singing!
Tell the mountains
and every tree in the forest
to join in the song!
The LORD has rescued his people;
now they will worship him.
The LORD created everything
24Israel, I am your LORD.
I am your source of life,
and I have rescued you.
I created everything
from the sky above
to the earth below.
25I make liars of false prophets#1 Co 1.20.
and fools of fortune-tellers.
I take human wisdom
and turn it into nonsense.
26I will make the message
of my prophets come true.
They are saying, “Jerusalem
will be filled with people,
and the LORD will rebuild
the towns of Judah.”
27I am the one who commands
the sea and its streams
to run dry.
28I am also the one who says,#2 Ch 36.23; Ezra 1.2.
“Cyrus will lead my people
and obey my orders.
Jerusalem and the temple
will be rebuilt.”