Isaiah 44

 

 

 

vs. 1-5 - A PROPHECY OF ISRAEL’S SPIRITUAL RECOVERY

AND REGENERATION. This section is closely connected with ch. 43, of

which it ought to form the conclusion. The prophet cannot bear to leave

Israel under a ban — its spiritual guides “profaned,” and itself given over

to “reproaches.” He must end with a brighter prospect. Accordingly, he

holds out, in the present passage, the double hope:

 

  • of the blessing of an abundant outpouring of the Spirit, to take the

      place of the preceding “curse” (Isaiah 43:28); and

 

  • of a pressing of proselytes into the renovated Church, who will hold it

      in honor, instead of making it the object of their “reproaches.”

 

vs. 2-3 – “Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the

womb….Jesurun whom I have chosen” -  The Lord’s people have their proper

names — Jacob, Israel, Jesurun, or rather, Jeshurun. “Jacob” marks them simply

as descendants of the patriarch — the people to whom the promises were

made. “Israel” marks their militant character — that as “God’s soldiers”

they fought his battles and maintained His cause in the midst of a hostile

world. The third name, “Jeshurun,” which is very rarely used (only here

and in Deuteronomy 32:15; 33:5, 26), designates them as “righteous,”

being a derivative from the root yashar (or joshar), equivalent to

“upright,” and points to that standard of moral excellence which it was

their duty to set forth, and which to some extent they did set forth, in a

world that “lay in wickedness. Had they been more worthy of the name, it

would probably have been oftener applied to them.  I will pour water upon

him that is thirsty. “Water” is, in Isaiah, the common metaphor for Divine grace.

(Without moisture seed will not germinate, neither can the embryo be formed.

Without grace no spiritual life can exist, there can be no commencement of life!

We may note here that the “water” is only poured on him who is

athirst for it. Thy seed… thine offspring. Not “Israel after the flesh” only,

but also Israel after the Spirit — the true “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).

 

vs. 6-20 - A FURTHER CONTRAST OF GOD WITH IDOLS. The

captive Jews, dwelling scattered in a land the inhabitants of which were,

one and all, idolaters, and having by hereditary taint an inclination to

idolatry, would be easily tempted, during the long and weary period of the

Captivity, to put away the worship and even the thought of Jehovah, who

had allowed their subjugation, and conform to the religion of their

conquerors. Hence the repeated contrasts in these later chapters —

specially addressed to caprice Israel — between Jehovah and idols, and the

sharp ridicule of the latter (comp. Isaiah 40:18-25; 41:4-7, 21-29).

 

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v. 6 –“Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and His redeemer,

            the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and

            beside me there is no God.”

 

v. 7 - The claim is that, from the first creation of

            mankind, God has not only prearranged the

            events that should happen, but has declared

            them by His prophets

 

v. 8 - the Omniscient God knows no other God – “ye are even my

            witnesses.  Is there a God beside me?  yea, there is no God;

            I know not any”

 

vs 9-10 - a lot of trouble for nothing

 

v. 11 - fear and shame - peer groups

 

v. 13 - To obtain his block, the carpenter must first cut down a

            tree, or have one cut down for him (v. 14); to obtain a tree,

            he (or some one for him) must have planted it; for the tree to

            have grown to a fitting size, the rain must have watered it. So

            the very existence of these wooden idols depends ultimately on

            whether it has rained or not — i.e., whether God has given his rain

            or withheld it.

 

vs. 15-16 - the wood serving both for fuel & divinity -

            for warming himself and cooking his food

 

v. 18 - The cause of all this folly is a blinding of the

            understanding, a Divine punishment for

            having wilfully closed the eyes to the Truth!

 

"For this they willingly are ignorant" - II Peter 3:

 

Human beings and things are allowed to stand

between us and God - to absorb the attention, the

thought, the affections that are to be to God only!

 

Beware of a greater desire to be rich on earth than to be

a saint in heaven.

 

Precious pieces of metal cannot save us from one twinge of

pain in sickness or one pang of remorse in death!

 

Rank and station, like wealth, belong to this world

only and like the clothes we wear have to be left behind when

we step into the grave!

 

v. 19 - "shall I fall down to a stock of a tree"

 

v. 20 - "a deceived heart.....he cannot deliver his

            soul....is there not a lie in my right hand?"

 

An idol is a lie.  It professes to have power, strength, ability

to help and save, whereas it has no power at all.

 

vs. 21-28 - ISRAEL ONCE MORE PROMISED DELIVERANCE,

AND THE DELIVERER MENTIONED BY NAME. Israel, having been

exhorted never to forget the impotency of idols (v. 21), is promised

forgiveness and deliverance (vs. 21, 22). Then, heaven and earth are

called upon to join in rejoicing over the announcement (v. 23). Finally, in

a noble burst of poetry, God is represented as solemnly declaring His

intention of frustrating all the false sayings of the soothsayers concerning

His people, and accomplishing their restoration to their own land, and the

rebuilding of their temple through the instrumentality of Cyrus (vs. 24-

28)

 

vs. 21-23 - notice the "I's" of the Lord's proclamations

 

"I have formed thee" - the duty of unquestioning

obedience to Him that formed it - it may be assumed

that He who has formed a thing will have a constant

care of it and will not forget it !

 

“I have blotted out….thy transgressions…return unto me”

“Return unto me” -  This is an underlying condition, both of

restoration and of forgiveness. Only the penitent can be received back into

favor. The knowledge, however, that God has, in His counsels,

“redeemed” His people generally, may act as a stimulus on individuals to

repent and turn to Him

 

Deut. 32:9-11, 33:27

 

v. 22 - "I have blotted out thy sins....return unto me,

            (underlying condition for forgiveness and

            restoration) for I have redeemed thee"

 

 

v. 23 - "sing O ye heavens for the Lord hath done it..

            ... break forth into singing, ye mountains, O

            forest, and every tree therein for the Lord hath

            redeemed Jacob and glorified Himself in Israel"

 

Compare Isaiah 14:7; 35:2 -  As children and birds sing from the very

gladness of their hearts, thereby venting the .joy that almost oppresses

them, so all nature is called upon, not merely to rejoice, but to give vent to

its joy, now that Israel is redeemed and God glorified.

 

Contrast the joy in heaven over one sinner that

repents - Luke 15:10

 

v. 24 – “Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and He that formed thee

            from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things”

 

"that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE; that spreadeth abroad

the earth BY MYSELF” - God did not delegate this responsibility

to an inferior being

 

v. 25 - "that frustrateth the tokens of the liars…that turneth wise men

            backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish"

 

The Lord taketh men in their "craftiness"

            I Cor. 3:19

 

v. 26 - The Lord backs up His messengers who proclaim

            the Lord's message!