Previously, Isaiah warned the Jews of the coming judgment — that they will be attacked and taken in to exile by the Babylonians. As we saw in yesterday’s chapter, Isaiah now starts comforting Israel with God’s promises of deliverance from the Babylonians. See, God warns, He is patient, He judges the unrighteous, delivers judgment, then comforts the people with Good News and solid hope. In these next 2 chapters, we’ll see why we need not be afraid because the Lord is with us. Jesus, is our hope. JESUS, not anyone or anything else. Let’s dig in…
Isaiah 41 – God’s Help for Israel
“Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea.
Bring your strongest arguments.
Come now and speak.
The court is ready for your case.
2 “Who has stirred up this king from the east,
rightly calling him to God’s service?
Who gives this man victory over many nations
and permits him to trample their kings underfoot?
With his sword, he reduces armies to dust.
With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.
3 He chases them away and goes on safely,
though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
4 Who has done such mighty deeds,
summoning each new generation from the beginning of time?
It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last.
I alone am he.”
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear.
Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
6 The idol makers encourage one another,
saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7 The carver encourages the goldsmith,
and the molder helps at the anvil.
“Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.”
Carefully they join the parts together,
then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.
8 “But as for you, Israel my servant,
Jacob my chosen one,
descended from Abraham my friend,
9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth,
saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you
and will not throw you away.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there,
confused and humiliated.
Anyone who opposes you will die
and come to nothing.
12 You will look in vain
for those who tried to conquer you.
Those who attack you
will come to nothing.
13 For I hold you by your right hand—
I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
14 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob,
don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you.
I am the Lord, your Redeemer.
I am the Holy One of Israel.’
15 You will be a new threshing instrument
with many sharp teeth.
You will tear your enemies apart,
making chaff of mountains.
16 You will toss them into the air,
and the wind will blow them all away;
a whirlwind will scatter them.
Then you will rejoice in the Lord.
You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none,
and their tongues are parched from thirst,
then I, the Lord, will answer them.
I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus.
I will give them fountains of water in the valleys.
I will fill the desert with pools of water.
Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
19 I will plant trees in the barren desert—
cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.
20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle
will understand what it means—
that it is the Lord who has done this,
the Holy One of Israel who created it.
21 “Present the case for your idols,”
says the Lord.
“Let them show what they can do,”
says the King of Israel.
22 “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago
so that we may consider the evidence.
Or let them tell us what the future holds,
so we can know what’s going to happen.
23 Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead.
Then we will know you are gods.
In fact, do anything—good or bad!
Do something that will amaze and frighten us.
24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all.
Those who choose you pollute themselves.
25 “But I have stirred up a leader who will approach from the north.
From the east he will call on my name.
I will give him victory over kings and princes.
He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.
26 “Who told you from the beginningIsaiah 41 NLT
that this would happen?
Who predicted this,
making you admit that he was right?
No one said a word!
27 I was the first to tell Zion,
‘Look! Help is on the way!’
I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
28 Not one of your idols told you this.
Not one gave any answer when I asked.
29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things.
All your idols are as empty as the wind.
Isaiah 42 – The Lord’s Chosen Servant
“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout
or raise his voice in public.
3 He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
4 He will not falter or lose heart
until justice prevails throughout the earth.
Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.”
5 God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out.
He created the earth and everything in it.
He gives breath to everyone,
life to everyone who walks the earth.
And it is he who says,
6 “I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
I will take you by the hand and guard you,
and I will give you to my people, Israel,
as a symbol of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide the nations.
7 You will open the eyes of the blind.
You will free the captives from prison,
releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
8 “I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to anyone else,
nor share my praise with carved idols.
9 Everything I prophesied has come true,
and now I will prophesy again.
I will tell you the future before it happens.”
A Song of Praise to the Lord
10 Sing a new song to the Lord!
Sing his praises from the ends of the earth!
Sing, all you who sail the seas,
all you who live in distant coastlands.
11 Join in the chorus, you desert towns;
let the villages of Kedar rejoice!
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
shout praises from the mountaintops!
12 Let the whole world glorify the Lord;
let it sing his praise.
13 The Lord will march forth like a mighty hero;
he will come out like a warrior, full of fury.
He will shout his battle cry
and crush all his enemies.
14 He will say, “I have long been silent;
yes, I have restrained myself.
But now, like a woman in labor,
I will cry and groan and pant.
15 I will level the mountains and hills
and blight all their greenery.
I will turn the rivers into dry land
and will dry up all the pools.
16 I will lead blind Israel down a new path,
guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
I will brighten the darkness before them
and smooth out the road ahead of them.
Yes, I will indeed do these things;
I will not forsake them.
17 But those who trust in idols,
who say, ‘You are our gods,’
will be turned away in shame.
Israel’s Failure to Listen and See
18 “Listen, you who are deaf!
Look and see, you blind!
19 Who is as blind as my own people, my servant?
Who is as deaf as my messenger?
Who is as blind as my chosen people,
the servant of the Lord?
20 You see and recognize what is right
but refuse to act on it.
You hear with your ears,
but you don’t really listen.”
21 Because he is righteous,
the Lord has exalted his glorious law.
22 But his own people have been robbed and plundered,
enslaved, imprisoned, and trapped.
They are fair game for anyone
and have no one to protect them,
no one to take them back home.
23 Who will hear these lessons from the pastIsaiah 42 NLT
and see the ruin that awaits you in the future?
24 Who allowed Israel to be robbed and hurt?
It was the Lord, against whom we sinned,
for the people would not walk in his path,
nor would they obey his law.
25 Therefore, he poured out his fury on them
and destroyed them in battle.
They were enveloped in flames,
but they still refused to understand.
They were consumed by fire,
but they did not learn their lesson.
God is Timeless
He is the first and the last, the alpha and omega! He was and is and is to come. He knows the past and He sees the future. Hence, He likes to warn His people — us. The problem is pride closes our eyes and ears to His Word. Over and over again, we read what we’re supposed to do and not do, yet we disobey. God warns us. Still, He is VERY PATIENT with us.
Peter said it best…
3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.2 Peter 3:3-15 NLT
God is Patient and will Never Leave You
- The first message to the Jews AND us is “FEAR NOT!” Don’t be afraid. Fear is from the devil. If you put your trust in God, you never need to be afraid. Let go and let God. Let God take your hand. Allow Him to guide your life. When you submit yourself to Him, you throw your pride away.
- There is a deliverer coming from the east — that will be King Cyrus of Persia. He’ll conquer the Babylonians and let the Jews go home.
- Then there is a deliverer coming from the north — that’s King Jesus. Jesus will not fail to conquer the devil. We know that because God in His infinite wisdom chose to reveal His victory to us in the Book of Revelation. Just like Jesus conquered sin on the cross and death by rising in 3 days, He’ll conquer the powers of evil and win in the end.
- Again and again, God raises the fact that idols are worthless. He challenges them to do anything to help the people. They can’t! Back then the idols were non-existent gods. Now, it’s dead people. I hate to burst your bubble, but dead people can’t help you, just like the non-existent gods couldn’t help the people back then (or now if you’re Hindu or Buddhist).
- “My Spirit” — Yahweh. When Jesus first came as a baby, it was peaceful. He didn’t come as a warrior. The Jews expected Him to be one and that was the problem. They didn’t get that His Kingdom is not of this earth. They were blind to the Good News that Jesus came to save them from their sins, not the Romans.
- When Jesus comes the 2nd time, however, He’ll come as a warrior against the forces of evil: the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Satan — the UN-holy trinity. He’ll bring justice to the nations.
- Here, too, Isaiah prophesies that Messiah will be a light to the Gentiles. That is, the non-Jewish people. We see that in the Gospels as Jesus heals Gentiles. Then later, we see it in the Book of Acts as Paul becomes the Apostle to the Gentiles and Peter gets a weird vision.
Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
That phrase is repeated 19 times in the New Testament. Jesus says it over and over again. Do you have ears? Then, listen and understand. God wants you to understand. That’s why He sent His Holy Spirit as a helper to us.
Before you read the Bible, pray, “Lord, open my mind, eyes and heart to understand what You are trying to tell me. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.” If you ask, sincerely, He will comply. You’ll be surprised at how much you understand as you read.
Jesus wants to be YOUR FRIEND!
Yes! He told us…
15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.John 15:15 NLT
And in Revelation…