RECOVERY OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD FROM THEIR

                        SIN, AND FROM THEIR BONDAGE IN BABYLON

                                                            (CH. 41-48.).

 

 

                                                               Isaiah 41

 

 

vs. 1-7 - ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DELIVERER, AND THE

EFFECT ON THE SURROUNDING NATIONS. Isaiah returns to the

standpoint of Isaiah 40:9-11. A deliverer of Israel is about to appear.

The nations are therefore summoned to attend, and consider the facts (v. 1).

He will carry all before him (vs 2, 3), being raised up by God (v. 4).

The nations will tremble, and seek the protection of their idol-deities (vs.

5-7).

 

v. 1 – “Keep silence before me…..let us come near together to judgment”

 

            God is the speaker.

 

v. 2 – This seems to be Cyrus, who is further referred to in v. 25, in Isaiah 44:28;          

            45:1-4, 13; and 46:11. Cyrus, whether we regard him as King of Persia,

            or as King of Elam (Susiana), would come from a land lying east of

            Babylon. “Righteousness called him to his foot” when God, the Righteous         

            One, made him His minister, and gave him a certain task to perform

            (Isaiah 44:28).

 

and made him rule over kings – He gave them as the dust to his sword, and

as driven stubble to his bow” – This prophecy tells of the ease and complete-

ness with which Cyrus vanquished his enemies.

 

v. 4 – “Who hath wrought and done it, calling generations from the beginning?

            I the Lord, the first, and the last; I am He”

 

By whom has this mighty conqueror been raised up?” Can any of the

idol-gods claim him as their protege? Assuredly not. He is my work; I, Jehovah,

that have called (into being) the generations (of man) from the beginning (of the

world) - I, Jehovah, the First, and with the last, am he that he has done this thing.

By “the First, and with the last” — a favourite phrase in these later

chapters (see Isaiah 45:6 and 48:12) — seems to be meant simply “the

Eternal” (comp. Revelation 1:8, 11, 17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13).

 

 

 

 

 

vs. 8-20 - A PROMISE TO ISRAEL OF GOD’S PROTECTION AND

SUPPORT THROUGH THE TROUBLOUS PERIOD THAT IS

APPROACHING. Israel is assured:

 

  • of God’s faithfulness (vs. 8, 9);
  • of special divinely infused strength (v. 10);
  • of the infusion of weakness into their enemies (vs. 11, 12);
  • of external Divine aid (vs. 13, 14);
  • of an aggressive vigor that shall enable them to scatter their foes (vs.

      15, 16); and

  • of spiritual refreshment even amidst their worst sufferings (vs. 17-

            19). The eye of the prophet travels perhaps, in part, beyond the

            period of the Captivity; but he is mainly bent on giving the people

            grounds of comfort and trust during that trying time

 

 

vs. 8-10 – “Abraham, my friend’ - or, Abraham that loved me. It was the special

            privilege of Abraham to be known as God’s friend (2 Chronicles 20:7;

                        James 2:23) among the Hebrews, even as he is among the Arabs to this

            day. The “friendship” intended comprised, no doubt, both an active

            and a passive element, but it is the active element which the word

            principally enforces. Abraham loved God, and showed his love by his      

            obedience.

 

These verses are closely connected and is full of tenderness – Israel, my

servant…Jacob, whom I have chosen….Abraham, my friend…thou whom

I have taken….not cast thee away…Fear thou not…I will strengthen thee,

I will help thee…I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness”

 

vs. 11-12 - As Israel would grow strong through God’s help, so her

enemies would grow weak through God’s disfavour. That enemies of all

kinds may be seen to be included, the designation is four times varied —

they that are angry with thee;” “that are at strife with thee;” “that are in

conflict with thee;” “that are at war with thee.” The order is one of climax.

Similarly, with each augmentation of the hostility there is an augmentation

of the sentence of punishment — “shall be covered with shame;” “shall

perish;” “shall not be found;” “shall become as nothingness.”

 

v. 13 –“I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand-  God Himself

will be their Strength, will personally interfere on their behalf, taking them

as it were by their right hand.

 

 

v. 14 - "thy Redeemer" - The word goel, here used for the first time by Isaiah,

is frequent throughout the later chapters (Isaiah 43:14; 44:6, 24; 47:4; 48:17;

49:7, 26; 54:5, 8; 59:20; 60:16; 63:16). It is used for the “nearest of kin,” and

avenger of blood,” in the Levitical Law, but has a sense similar to that of

the present passage in Job 19:25; Psalm 19:14: 78:35: 103:4; Proverbs 23. 11;

and Jeremiah 50:34. The sense “redeem” belongs to the verb of which goel is

the participle, in Exodus 6:6; 15:13; Leviticus 25:25, 33, 48, 49; 27:13, 19, 21,

 

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vs. 17-20 -The crowning promise is that of spiritual support and

refreshment through’ the dull and dreary time of the Captivity, during

which Israel dwells as it were in a desert, without water, or shade, or the

relief to the eye which is furnished by the greenery of trees and shrubs.

God was able to make of this “wilderness a standing water, and water-

springs of the dry ground” (Psalm 107:35), and He promises to do so

(v. 18). The soul that longs for Him, that thirsts after Him, feeling that it

dwells “in a barren and dry land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1), shall

be relieved and satisfied by a revelation of God’s presence, and an

outpouring of His grace unusually copious and abundant. God’s grace is

shadowed out under the two similitudes of water and verdure, as in

Isaiah 35:7, and, to some extent, in Isaiah 30:23-25.

           

v. 20 – “That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand,

            together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the

            Holy One of Israel hath created it”

 

vs. 21-29 -JEHOVAH’S CONTROVERSY WITH THE NATIONS

AND THEIR IDOL-GODS. The argument is now taken up from vs. 1-4.

Jehovah and His worshippers are on the one side; the idol-gods and their

votaries on the other. The direct challenge, however, is given by Jehovah

Himself to the idols:

 

  • What predictions of their own can they bring forward as proofs of

      supernatural knowledge?

 

  • What indications can they give of power either to do good or to do evil

            (vs. 22, 23)? If they can do neither, they are vanity (v. 24). Jehovah

            has both reared up Cyrus He and He only - and has announced the good

            tidings to His people (vs. 25-27). No such announcement has been made

            by the idol-gods; they are therefore mere “wind and confusion (vs. 28,

            29).

 

 

 

                                   

 

 

                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES

 

 

God only can predict the future – it is His own inalienable prerogative!

 

The force of prejudice is in most men’s minds stronger than the force

of reason!

 

 

                        FALSE SYSTEMS AND THEIR HOLD ON MEN

 

I.  IDOLATRY

 

II. THE MODERN THEORY OF EVOLUTION. The spontaneous

origin of life from inorganic matter, the development of protoplasm from

molecules, of vegetable life from protoplasm, of animal life from vegetable

life, and of humanity from advanced animals, which, though a pure

hypothesis, has been accepted almost universally by physicists in the

present day, is intrinsically as absurd and unthinkable a theory as either

Epicureanism or Hindoo pantheism. But its absurdity is not seen by those

who have been taught it from the time that they first turned their attention

to physical science, who find it accepted by all their teachers, and assumed

as a basis by every book that is put into their hands, who live as it were in

an atmosphere saturated with evolutionism, and absorb it with every breath

that they inhale. The time will probably come, perhaps after no great delay,

when a reaction will set in, and the ability of unintelligent matter to

improve itself and advance to perfection will be seen to be as absurd and as

self-contradictory as the ability of images carved out of wood and stone to

affect the course of events — to “do good or to do evil.” Meanwhile,

however, the existing false system is almost as impervious to argument and

criticism as was the system of heathen idolatry. It has possession of the

field (the so-called scientific field), as that had of the general field of human

society; it supports itself by a number of interconnected propositions, no

one of which rests upon any sure basis; and it does not even perceive the

force of the arguments which are brought against it. Thus it may keep its

hold upon men for some considerable time, before it takes its final place as

a chapter in the history of human error.”

 

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