The Lord Is the Only God
1“Jacob, you are my servant. Israel, I chose you. Listen to me! 2I am the Lord, and I made you. I am the one who created you. I have helped you since you were in your mother’s womb. Jacob, my servant, don’t be afraid. Jeshurun,#44:2 Jeshurun Another name for Israel. It means “good” or “honest.” I chose you.
3“I will pour water for thirsty people, and streams will flow through the desert. I will pour my Spirit on your children, and I will bless#44:3 bless This is a wordplay. This Hebrew word sounds like the word meaning “pool.” your family. 4They will sprout like grass in the spring and grow like trees by streams of water.
5“One man will call himself, ‘I am the Lord’S.’ Another will use the name, ‘Jacob.’ Another man will sign his name as ‘The Lord’S Hand.’ And another will use the name, ‘Israel.’”
6The Lord is the king of Israel. The Lord All-Powerful is the one who will set Israel free. And he says, “I am the only God. There are no other gods. I am the Beginning and the End. 7There is no other God like me. If there is, that god should speak now. Let him lay out everything he has done since the time I made these ancient people. Let him show me the signs he gave long ago that prove he knew what would happen in the future.
8“Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry. I am the one who always told you what would happen. You are my proof.#44:8 proof Or “witnesses.” There is no other God; I am the only one. There is no other ‘Rock’; I know I am the only one.”
False Gods Are Useless
9Some people make idols, but they are worthless. They love their statues, which are useless. Those who serve as witnesses for these statues cannot even see. They don’t know enough to be ashamed.
10Who made these false gods? Who covered these useless statues? 11Workers made them, and the workers are only human. If they all would come together before me, we could discuss this. Then they would all be ashamed and afraid.
12One worker uses his tools to heat iron over hot coals. Then he uses his hammer to beat the metal to shape it into a statue. He uses his own powerful arms, but when he gets hungry, he loses his strength. If he does not drink water, he becomes weak.
13Another worker uses his string line#44:13 string line In ancient times, this was a piece of string with wet paint on it. It was used to make straight lines on wood or stone. and compass#44:13 compass A tool used to draw circles and copy measurements. to draw lines on the wood to show where he should cut. Then he uses his chisels#44:13 chisels Sharp tools used to carve wood or stone. and cuts a statue from the wood. He uses his calipers#44:13 calipers A special measuring tool, like a compass. to measure the statue. In this way the worker makes the wood look exactly like a man, and this statue of a man does nothing but sit in the house.
14To split the cedar tree, the worker took some oak or cypress wedges. To make sure he had plenty of wood, he planted some pines. But it was the rain that made them grow.
15When the man wanted a fire, he took some of the wood to keep him warm. He also used some of it to bake his bread. But then he used that same wood to make a statue to worship as a god! That god is only a statue that he made, but he bows down to it! 16He burns half of the wood in the fire. He uses the fire to cook his meat, and he eats the meat until he is full. He burns the wood to keep himself warm. He says, “Good! Now I am warm, and I can see by the light of the fire.” 17There is a little of the wood left, so he makes a statue and calls it his god. He bows down before it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “You are my god, save me!”
18People like that don’t know what they are doing! They don’t understand. It is as if they have mud in their eyes so they cannot see. Their minds cannot understand. 19They don’t realize what they are doing. They aren’t smart enough to think, “I burned half of the wood in the fire. I used the hot coals to bake my bread and cook the meat I ate. And I used the wood that was left to make this terrible thing. I am worshiping a block of wood!”
20Someone like that is deceived. They don’t know what they are doing.#44:20 They … doing Literally, “They eat ashes.” They cannot save themselves, and they will not admit, “This statue I am holding is a lie!”
The Lord, the True God, Helps Israel
21“Jacob, remember these things!
Israel, remember, you are my servant.
I made you, and you are my servant.
So, Israel, don’t forget me.
22Your sins were like a big cloud,
but I wiped them all away.
Your sins are gone,
like a cloud that disappeared into thin air.
I rescued and protected you,
so come back to me.”
23Skies, rejoice for what the Lord has done.
Earth, shout for joy down to your deepest parts!
Start singing, you mountains
and all you trees in the forest!
Yes, the Lord has saved Jacob.
He has shown his glory by rescuing Israel.
24The one who rescued you is the Lord,
the one who formed you in your mother’s womb.
He says, “I, the Lord, made everything.
I put the skies there myself.
I spread out the earth before me.”
25False prophets tell lies, but the Lord shows that their lies are false. He makes fools of those who do magic. He confuses even the wise. They think they know a lot, but he makes them look foolish. 26The Lord sends his servants to tell his messages to the people, and he makes those messages come true. He sends messengers to tell the people what they should do, and he proves that the advice is good.
God Chooses Cyrus to Rebuild Judah
The Lord says to Jerusalem, “People will live in you again.”
He says to the cities of Judah, “You will be rebuilt.”
He says to them, “I will repair your ruins.”
27He tells the deep waters, “Become dry!
I will make your streams dry too.”
28He says to Cyrus, “You are my shepherd.
You will do what I want.
You will say to Jerusalem, ‘You will be rebuilt!’
You will tell the Temple, ‘Your foundations will be put in place!’”