Isaiah 41
The Lord Controls Human Events
1Be silent and listen,
every island in the sea.
Have courage and come near,
every one of you nations.
Let's settle this matter!
2Who appointed this ruler
from the east?#41.2 ruler from the east: Probably Cyrus (see 44.28; 45.1; 48.14).
Who puts nations and kings
in his power?#41.2 Who puts … power: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
His sword and his arrows
turn them to dust
blown by the wind.
3He goes after them so quickly
that his feet
barely touch the ground—
he doesn't even get hurt.
4Who makes these things happen?
Who controls human events?
I do! I am the Lord.
I was there at the beginning;
I will be there at the end.
5Islands and foreign nations
saw what I did and trembled
as they came near.
What Can Idols Do?
6Worshipers of idols
comfort each other,
saying, “Don't worry!”
7Woodcarvers, goldsmiths,
and other workers#41.7 and other workers: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
encourage one another and say,
“We've done a great job!”
Then they nail the idol down,
so it won't fall over.
The Lord's Chosen Servant
8 # 2 Ch 20.7; Jas 2.23. Israel, you are my servant.
I chose you, the family
of my friend Abraham.
9From far across the earth
I brought you here and said,
“You are my chosen servant.
I haven't forgotten you.”
10Don't be afraid. I am with you.
Don't tremble with fear.
I am your God.
I will make you strong,
as I protect you with my arm
and give you victories.
11Everyone who hates you
will be terribly disgraced;
those who attack
will vanish into thin air.
12You will look around
for those brutal enemies,
but you won't find them—
they will be gone.
13I am the Lord your God.
I am holding your hand,
so don't be afraid.
I am here to help you.
14People of Israel, don't worry,
though others may say,
“Israel is only a worm!”
I am the holy God of Israel,
who saves and protects you.
15I will let you be like a log
covered with sharp spikes.#41.15 I will let … sharp spikes: In ancient times a heavy object was sometimes dragged over wheat or barley to separate the grain from the husk. This was called threshing.
You will grind and crush
every mountain and hill#41.15 mountain and hill: These stand for the power and pride of Israel's enemies.
until they turn to dust.
16A strong wind will scatter them
in all directions.
Then you will celebrate
and praise me, your Lord,
the holy God of Israel.
The Lord Helps the Poor
17When the poor and needy
are dying of thirst
and cannot find water,
I, the Lord God of Israel,
will come to their rescue.
I won't forget them.
18I will make rivers flow
on mountain peaks.
I will send streams
to fill the valleys.
Dry and barren land
will flow with springs
and become a lake.
19I will fill the desert
with all kinds of trees—
cedars, acacias, and myrtles;
olive and cypress trees;
fir trees and pines.
20Everyone will see this
and know that I,
the holy Lord God of Israel,
created it all.
Idols Are Useless
21I am the Lord,
the King of Israel!
Come argue your case with me.
Present your evidence.
22Come near me, you idols.#41.22 Come near … idols: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Tell us about the past,
and we will think about it.
Tell us about the future,
so we will know
what is going to happen.
23Prove that you are gods
by making your predictions
come true.
Do something good or evil,
so we can be amazed
and terrified.#41.23 and terrified: Or “when we see it.”
24You idols are nothing,
and you are powerless.#41.24 powerless: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
To worship you
would be disgusting.
25I, the Lord, appointed a ruler
in the north;
now he comes from the east
to honor my name.
He tramples#41.25 tramples: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. kings like mud,
as potters trample clay.#41.25 trample clay: This was done to soften the clay and make it easier to shape.
26Did any of you idols predict
what would happen?
Did any of you get it right?
None of you told about this
or even spoke a word.
27I was the first to tell
the people of Jerusalem,
“Look, it's happening!”#41.27 Look … happening: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
I was the one who announced
this good news to Zion.
28None of these idols
are able to give advice
or answer questions.
29They are nothing,#41.29 nothing: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
and they can do nothing—
they are merely
a passing breeze.

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