In The Word
Read: Isaiah 46, 47
Babylon’s Idols and the True God
46 Bel has bowed down, Nebo stoops over;
Their images are consigned to the beasts and the cattle.
The things that you carry are burdensome,
A load for the weary beast.
2 They stooped over, they have bowed down together;
They could not rescue the burden,
But have themselves gone into captivity.
3 “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
You who have been borne by Me from birth
And have been carried from the womb;
4 Even to your old age I will be the same,
And even to your graying years I will bear you!
I have done it, and I will carry you;
And I will bear you and I will deliver you.
5 “To whom would you liken Me
And make Me equal and compare Me,
That we would be alike?
6 “Those who lavish gold from the purse
And weigh silver on the scale
Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
They bow down, indeed they worship it.
7 “They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it;
They set it in its place and it stands there.
It does not move from its place.
Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer;
It cannot deliver him from his distress.
8 “Remember this, and be assured;
Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.
12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded,
Who are far from righteousness.
13 “I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off;
And My salvation will not delay.
And I will grant salvation in Zion,
And My glory for Israel.
Lament for Babylon
47 “Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
Sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no longer be called tender and delicate.
2 “Take the millstones and grind meal.
Remove your veil, strip off the skirt,
Uncover the leg, cross the rivers.
3 “Your nakedness will be uncovered,
Your shame also will be exposed;
I will take vengeance and will not spare a man.”
4 Our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name,
The Holy One of Israel.
5 “Sit silently, and go into darkness,
O daughter of the Chaldeans,
For you will no longer be called
The queen of kingdoms.
6 “I was angry with My people,
I profaned My heritage
And gave them into your hand.
You did not show mercy to them,
On the aged you made your yoke very heavy.
7 “Yet you said, ‘I will be a queen forever.’
These things you did not consider
Nor remember the outcome of them.
8 “Now, then, hear this, you sensual one,
Who dwells securely,
Who says in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one besides me.
I will not sit as a widow,
Nor know loss of children.’
9 “But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day:
Loss of children and widowhood.
They will come on you in full measure
In spite of your many sorceries,
In spite of the great power of your spells.
10 “You felt secure in your wickedness and said,
‘No one sees me,’
Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you;
For you have said in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’
11 “But evil will come on you
Which you will not know how to charm away;
And disaster will fall on you
For which you cannot atone;
And destruction about which you do not know
Will come on you suddenly.
12 “Stand fast now in your spells
And in your many sorceries
With which you have labored from your youth;
Perhaps you will be able to profit,
Perhaps you may cause trembling.
13 “You are wearied with your many counsels;
Let now the astrologers,
Those who prophesy by the stars,
Those who predict by the new moons,
Stand up and save you from what will come upon you.
14 “Behold, they have become like stubble,
Fire burns them;
They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame;
There will be no coal to warm by
Nor a fire to sit before!
15 “So have those become to you with whom you have labored,
Who have trafficked with you from your youth;
Each has wandered in his own way;
There is none to save you.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
As the LORD continues to declare His uniqueness, one statement stands out. “I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off;” Isaiah 46:13a. In all His magnificence and magnitude, He is also close enough to hear our every thought and prayer. And because of Jesus, His righteousness isn’t simply close to us; it’s living inside our very hearts.
All the surrounding nations at this time worshiped ‘gods’ that could do nothing of the sort. How could they? In today’s reading we are reminded that the people themselves carved and made those gods themselves. How ridiculous to think that one minute their own hands were creating those gods, and the very next, they had set the idols on an altar and began bowing down to them! No wonder there was absolutely no power coming from those graven images. Sure these nations’ gods were close by in proximity, but there was not a bit of blessing or wisdom coming from these man-made statues.
Our God is one who is close and powerful. He will never leave us nor forsake us because He loves us so very dearly. Our God is the One who is close to the hurting, suffering, and oppressed. He is the God who is with us and who understands every problem and situation we face. He is the One on whom we can cast our cares because He cares for us.
Trust in God. Do not be like the foreign nations described in today’s reading that create their own gods and then worship them. Do not trust in your works, your money, your position, or even your own wisdom. Trust fully in God alone.