The Lord Is the Eternal Creator
1The Lord says,
“Faraway countries, be quiet and listen to me!
Nations be brave.#41:1 be brave Or “be strong again,” as in Isa. 40:31.
Come to me and speak.
We will meet together
and decide who is right.
2Who woke up the man who is coming from the east?
He called Justice to march with him.
He uses his sword to crush nations.
He uses his bow and conquers kings—
they run away like straw blown by the wind.
3He chases armies and is never hurt.
He goes places he has never been before.
4Who was able to make all this happen?
Who controlled the lives of everyone from the beginning?
I, the Lord, am the one.
I was here at the beginning,
and I will be here when all things are finished.
5People along the coast saw this,
and they were frightened.
Nations at the ends of the earth
shook with fear.
They have come near.
They have arrived.
6“Workers help each other. They encourage each other to be strong. 7One worker cuts wood to make a statue. He encourages the man who works with gold. Another worker uses a hammer and makes the metal smooth. Then he encourages the man at the anvil.#41:7 anvil A heavy metal block. A worker puts hot metal on an anvil and beats the hot metal to change its shape. This last worker says, ‘This work is good; the metal will not come off.’ Then he nails the statue to a base so that it will not fall over. And it never moves!”
Only the Lord Can Save Us
8The Lord says, “You, Israel, are my servant.
Jacob, I chose you.
You are from the family of my friend, Abraham.
9You were in a faraway country,
but I reached out to you.
I called you from that faraway place.
I said, ‘You are my servant.’
I chose you,
and I have not rejected you.
10Don’t worry—I am with you.
Don’t be afraid—I am your God.
I will make you strong and help you.
I will support you with my right hand that brings victory.
11Look, some people are angry with you,
but they will be ashamed and disgraced.
Your enemies will be lost and disappear.
12You will look for the people who were against you,
but you will not be able to find them.
Those who fought against you
will disappear completely.
13I am the Lord your God,
who holds your right hand.
And I tell you, ‘Don’t be afraid!
I will help you.’
14People of Israel, descendants of Jacob, you may be weak and worthless,#41:14 Jacob … worthless Literally, “Worm of Jacob, men of Israel.”
but do not be afraid.
I myself will help you.”
This is what the Lord himself says.
“I am the Holy One of Israel,
the one who saves you.
15Look, I have made you like a new threshing board with many sharp teeth.
You will trample mountains and crush them.
You will make the hills#41:15 mountains … hills Symbols of the power of Israel’s enemies. like chaff.
16You will throw them into the air,
and the wind will blow them away and scatter them.
Then you will be happy in the Lord.
You will be proud of the Holy One of Israel.
17“The poor and needy look for water,
but they cannot find any.
Their tongues are dry with thirst.
I, the Lord, will answer their prayers.
I, the God of Israel, will not leave them to die.
18I will make rivers flow on dry hills.
I will make springs of water flow through the valleys.
I will change the desert into a lake filled with water.
There will be springs of water in that dry land.
19I will make trees grow in the desert.
There will be cedar, acacias, olive trees, cypress, fir trees, and pines.
20I will do this so that people will see it and know who did it.
They will notice what happened.
Then they will understand that the Lord’s hand made it happen,
that the Holy One of Israel created it all.”
The Lord Challenges the False Gods
21The Lord, the king of Jacob, says, “Come, present your arguments. Show me your proof. 22Let your idols come in and tell us what will happen. Idols, tell us what happened in the beginning. We will listen closely so that we can make a decision. Tell us what will happen in the future. 23What signs did you give in the past to prove that you really are gods? Do something! Do anything, good or bad, so that we can see that you are alive. Then we might fear and respect you.
24“Look, you false gods are worthless. You cannot do anything. Only some horrible fool#41:24 fool Literally, “horrible thing.” The Hebrew word usually describes idols and other wicked things that God hates. would want to worship you.”
The Lord Proves He Is the Only God
25“I called someone in the north#41:25 someone in the north This probably means Cyrus, a king of Persia. He ruled about 550–530 B.C. to come.
He is coming from the east where the sun rises,
and he honors my name.
He tramples kings
the way a potter softens clay with his feet.
26“Who told us about this before it happened
so that we could say he was right?
None of your idols told us anything.
They didn’t say a word,
and they cannot hear anything you say.
27I, the Lord, was the first one to tell Zion about these things.
I sent a messenger to Jerusalem to say,
‘Look, your people are coming back!’”
28I looked at those false gods.
Not one of them said anything.
They had no advice to offer.
I asked them questions,
but they didn’t say a word.
29Those gods are all less than nothing.
They cannot do anything.
They are worthless.