In The Word
Read: Isaiah 43:14 – 44:23
Babylon to Be Destroyed
14 Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
“For your sake I have sent to Babylon,
And will bring them all down as fugitives,
Even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice.
15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One,
The Creator of Israel, your King.”
16 Thus says the Lord,
Who makes a way through the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
17 Who brings forth the chariot and the horse,
The army and the mighty man
(They will lie down together and not rise again;
They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick):
18 “Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
19 “Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
20 “The beasts of the field will glorify Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.
21 “The people whom I formed for Myself
Will declare My praise.
The Shortcomings of Israel
22 “Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob;
But you have become weary of Me, O Israel.
23 “You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings,
Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
Nor wearied you with incense.
24 “You have bought Me not sweet cane with money,
Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
Rather you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.
25 “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
And I will not remember your sins.
26 “Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together;
State your cause, that you may be proved right.
27 “Your first forefather sinned,
And your spokesmen have transgressed against Me.
28 “So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary,
And I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement.
The Blessings of Israel
44 “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant,
And Israel, whom I have chosen:
2 Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you,
‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant;
And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
3 ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;
4 And they will spring up among the grass
Like poplars by streams of water.’
5 “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’;
And that one will call on the name of Jacob;
And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord,’
And will name Israel’s name with honor.
6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.
7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;
Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,
From the time that I established the ancient nation.
And let them declare to them the things that are coming
And the events that are going to take place.
8 ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.’”
The Folly of Idolatry
9 Those who fashion a graven image are all of them futile, and their precious things are of no profit; even their own witnesses fail to see or know, so that they will be put to shame. 10 Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit? 11 Behold, all his companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men. Let them all assemble themselves, let them stand up, let them tremble, let them together be put to shame.
12 The man shapes iron into a cutting tool and does his work over the coals, fashioning it with hammers and working it with his strong arm. He also gets hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary. 13 Another shapes wood, he extends a measuring line; he outlines it with red chalk. He works it with planes and outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in a house. 14 Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” 17 But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”
18 They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend. 19 No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
God Forgives and Redeems
21 “Remember these things, O Jacob,
And Israel, for you are My servant;
I have formed you, you are My servant,
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.
22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud
And your sins like a heavy mist.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
23 Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it!
Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth;
Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it;
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob
And in Israel He shows forth His glory.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Today we read passages like “Behold I will do something new,” and “I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring.” We love those verses because they give us hope. And they should because these are grace verses. What God is declaring over His people is that even though we sometimes fail to keep His commands, He will not fail to show us His grace.
God has promised to bring a day when He extends grace. The people will refuse to bring the sacrifice, but God will wipe away their transgressions. The people will make idols for themselves, but God will wipe away their transgressions. The ‘new thing’ that God is speaking of in this passage from Isaiah is a grace that is greater than all our sins. He is declaring the day of redemption, the day when our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will come and wipe out our sins. And in that day, He will pour out His Spirit upon us.
Beloved, we live in that day! We live in the age where God’s grace is great and sin is defeated. He has made the roadway in the wilderness and the river in the desert. “Shout for Joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done it!”
Our hope is in the fact that God has extended His grace to our hearts. Let us not take this truth for granted. We should live our lives as a testimony that we are the redeemed. Even more than this, we should live our lives to extend that grace even further to those around us.