Isaiah 44 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
1. Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:
2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee;
Fear not, O Jacob, my servant;
and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground:
I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
4 And they shall spring up [as] among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
5 One shall say, I [am] the LORD'S; and another shall call [himself] by the name of Jacob;
and another shall subscribe [with] his hand unto the LORD, and surname [himself] by the name of Israel.
Yet now...- These verses conclude a section focused upon Israel's Redeemer and Savior (ch. 43:1-44:1-5)
Here we glimpse the ultimate fulfillment of the LORD's plan and purpose for His blind and deaf servant, Israel.
  • thou, Jesurun {'Upright One'}...-
    Israel will be clothed in the righteousness of their Lord and Savior (Isa 43:11,15,25).
    This has been His desire for them from the beginning (Deu 32:15; 33:5,26).
  • I will pour water...-
    The LORD will pour out His Holy Spirit upon Israel 'when the times of refreshing shall come...' cp. Acts 2:38,39; 3:19
    This refreshing is only for those who are thirsty (v.3; Mat 5:6; Rev 22:17). The water of life is available, today, for whosoever will 'Come' to Christ. But in that day, Israel will see their need and turn to Him, as a nation.
  • as willows by the water courses...- Israel, as a group, the nation, will be re-established and thrive
    in the place of blessing, that the LORD intended for them before they wandered from Him. cp. Isa 61:3,4; cf. Psa 137:1-6
  • one shall say, I am the LORD's...-
    In that day, every Israelite will gladly identify himself with the LORD, to serve Him with the whole heart.
    cf. Isa 43:22; cp. Deu 26:17-19; 1Pet 2:9
III. Salvation (poetry), ch. 40-66
A. Peace assured through knowing the LORD God... (The God of Peace), ch. 40-48
5. Who calls Cyrus to free captive Israel, 44:6-45:25
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.
7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me,
since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come,
let them shew unto them.
8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid:
have not I told thee from that time, and have declared [it]? ye [are] even my witnesses.
Is there a God beside me? yea, [there is] no God; I know not [any].
whom, as I, shall call {HB=qara, proclaim, commission} and declare {HB=nagad, announce, make known} and set in order {HB=arak, prepare, arrange}, since I appointed {HB=suwm, ordained, established} the ancient people {ie., Israel}...-
The LORD continues and amplifies His challenge against false gods, showing that He alone is the true God.
Previously, He demonstrated that He has declared the end from the beginning, explaining the history of Israel and foretelling their future (cp. Isa 41:21-24 and context). Now He shows that the things of which He speaks (and has spoken) are determined, caused, and brought to pass, because He has spoken.
Fear ye not... have not I told thee from that time... ye are my witnesses...-
The history and continued existence of Israel, bear witness that the things concerning them have been foreordained by the LORD, ever since the time that He chose Israel for this very purpose.
This testimony convicts the unbeliever of the Truth, and comforts the believer with the certainty of God's Word. Believing Israel need not fear, for: "I have redeemed thee" (43:1); "I have chosen thee" (44:2); "ye are my witnesses" (44:8).
9. They that make a graven image [are] all of them vanity;
and their delectable things
{ie., precious things (their idols)} shall not profit;
and they [are] their own witnesses;
they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed
{ie., put to shame}.
10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image [that] is profitable for nothing?
11 Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they [are] of men:
let them all be gathered together, let them stand up;
[yet] they shall fear, [and] they shall be ashamed together.
12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers,
and worketh it with the strength of his arms:
yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth:
he drinketh no water, and is faint.
13 The carpenter stretcheth out [his] rule; he marketh it out with a line;
he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass,
and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man;
that it may remain in the house.
14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak,
which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest:
he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish [it].
15 Then shall it be for a man to burn:
for he will take thereof, and warm himself;
yea, he kindleth [it], and baketh bread;
yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth [it];
he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
16 He burneth part
{ie., half} thereof in the fire;
with part
{ie., half} thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied:
yea, he warmeth [himself], and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:
17 And the residue
{ie., the left over portion} thereof he maketh a god, [even] his graven image:
he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth [it], and prayeth unto it,
and saith, Deliver me; for thou [art] my god.
they that make a graven image... are their own witnesses...-
In contrast to Israel's witness to the true God, those who worship idols give ample testimony to their worthlessness.
they see not, nor know...- Like their idols, the idol worshippers are without understanding (41:23,24).
all his fellows shall be ashamed... let them stand... they shall fear... be ashamed...-
There is no strength in numbers when prosecuting the case for error, before the LORD.
The case for false gods fails, for...
  • they are made by men.- Made in the weakness of human strength (v.12), and according to man's design (v.13), of trees cultivated by men who depend on rain from heaven for their growth (v.14), such gods are devoid of power, initiative and life.
  • they shall not profit {ie., be beneficial}...- The profitable half, of the harvested log, is the portion burned for warmth and cooking.
  • the residue (that which is left over after this profitable use), obviously can do nothing but decorate the corner of a house. It cannot deliver {snatch away or rescue} anyone, no matter how foolishly men behave before it.
18 They have not known nor understood:
for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see;
[and] their hearts, that they cannot understand.
19 And none considereth in his heart,
neither [is there] knowledge nor understanding to say,
I have burned part of it in the fire;
yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof;
I have roasted flesh, and eaten [it]:
and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination?
shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?
20 He feedeth on ashes:
a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul,
nor say, [Is there] not a lie in my right hand?
for he hath shut {HB=tuwach, daubed, plastered} their eyes, that they cannot see...-
This line illuminates the reason for Jesus' action in Joh 9:5-7. Israel, like those who worship idols, was spiritually blind, and unaware that they needed Him to open their eyes. Still, the LORD, in His grace, comforts His blind servant...
21. Remember these {ie., these following things}, O Jacob and Israel; for thou [art] my servant:
[A] I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.
[B] I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins:
return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.
23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done [it]:
shout, ye lower parts of the earth:
break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein:
for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.
These assurances are directed to "the ancient people" who have been called and appointed by the LORD {the everliving One} who is the First and the Last (vs.6,7). Israel is the 'ancient' {HB=olam, everlasting} people, unforgotten by their everlasting God (40:28), who gives them His everlasting covenant (55:3), everlasting salvation (45:17), everlasting name (56:5), everlasting joy (51:11), everlasting light (60:19), and everlasting excellency (60:15), and who loves them with an everlasting love (54:8), and who will establish them as an everlasting sign of His grace (55:13). [adapted from GWms]
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
{ie., without the help of any other god};
The LORD describes Himself, in sharp contrast to the false gods.
Several of the words, in v.24, were used previously in this chapter, regarding the construction of idols.
  • thy redeemer {ga'al, cp. Isa 43:1} - He is Israel's kinsman redeemer,
    whereas the lifeless idols are kin to none and can deliver no one (v.17).
  • that formed {HB=yatsar} thee in the womb, vs.2,21 - He 'ordered' them in life,
    whereas the idols were 'made, formed, and fashioned' of dead logs with axe and hammers (vs.9,10,12).
  • that maketh {HB='asah} all things, vs.2,24 - He designed Israel, for Himself,
    whereas the craftsman 'fits, and makes' his idol (vs.13,15,17).
  • that stretcheth forth {HB=natah} the heavens - His creation is beyond measure and all encompassing,
    whereas the craftsman 'stretches out' his rule and 'turns aside' after his idol (vs.13,20).
  • The contrast is heightened by the tenses of these words.
    • The craftsmen worked on their idols until they were done.
      The LORD worked in behalf of Israel in the past, He works continually in the present, and will continue unceasingly into the future.
    • The idolater made a god to serve. But the LORD prepared and is preparing Israel to serve Him.
25 That frustrateth {ie., breaks, shatters} the tokens {ie., signs, omens} of the liars,
and maketh diviners mad;
that turneth wise [men] backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;
26 That confirmeth
{ie., makes stand, establishes} the word of his servant,
and performeth the counsel of his messengers
{ie., Isaiah and other true prophets};
that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited;
and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof:
The liars are those who serve false gods. The diviners are their false prophets,
who act and speak, like madmen, in conflict with the LORD's purposes. Their wisdom is 'turned back' (ie., turned into foolishness) so that none 'considers' (none 'turns back' from it, v.19). The impressive signs, produced by occult practitioners, cannot stand against the simple Word of God. Though the knowledge of 'learned men' disregards God's Word as unreasonable and beyond belief, He will do what He has said. cp. 1Cor 1:19,20
that saith of Jerusalem...- Here, the restoration of Jerusalem is predicted, before her destruction and captivity.
Many of the cities of Judah had been ruined by the Assyrian invasion. The situation would get much worse. Yet, the LORD promised to make them whole again.
27 That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: {cf. the idols' dependence upon rain, v.14}
28 That saith of Cyrus, [He is] my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure:
even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built;
and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
...that saith to the deep, Be dry...- The deep may refer to the Euphrates River
which would be dried in preparation for the fall of Babylon.
...that saith of Cyrus... - Here, Cyrus, king of Persia is named, about 150 years before his birth,
as the one who would restore Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity.
...he... shall perform all my pleasure...-
The decree of Cyrus would accomplish the LORD's desire for His people.
  • Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar had acted according to God's will to execute judgment upon sin. But the LORD took no pleasure in that judgment. It was His strange {ie., loathesome} work (Isa 28:21).
  • There is no God like the LORD! While men delight in images of their vain imaginations (v.9), the LORD orders the history of men and nations to accomplish His pleasure.
...saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.-
These points were specifically fulfilled by Cyrus' decree which enabled a remnant to return and to rebuild under the leading of Ezra and Nehemiah (vs.26, 28b; cp. 2Chr 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-7; 3:7; 5:13; 6:3).
     That fulfillment would confirm the word of God's servant, Isaiah (v.26), about 200 years after it was spoken, and demonstrate the certainty of God's Word through Isaiah on other matters, especially regarding Christ's first coming (about 700 years after Isaiah) and His second coming (which is yet future).
...he is my shepherd...- Cyrus, as shepherd and restorer of Jerusalem,
provides a type (picture) of Christ at His second coming. The type is further intensified, in the next verse, where Cyrus is called the LORD's "anointed {HB=mashiach}... whose right hand I have holden" (Isa 45:1; cp. 42:1,6 re: the Servant Messiah).
[This section continues to the end of the next chapter.]

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