Isaiah 44 – The Lord and Idols
Vs.1-5 This is the second time Isaiah talks about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is the end cap of Isaiah 43. God doesn’t end things with a curse. There is always hope. There is double hope here. The Holy Spirit will be poured out and Israel, and through Israel the world, will have the opportunity to take the name of the Lord as their own.
Vs. 6-23 This is the difference, again, between the Lord and Idols. Israel had a real problem with worshipping idols. This will come up again in a very strong way in Ch. 48. We see the recurrence of this theme many times. Idol worship is a problem for many reasons. God will not share His glory with another. Salvation belongs to God alone. But, also, idol worship is a type of infidelity towards God. It is a way of cheating on Him. It disrupts and even destroys our relationship with God who loves us and made us to be in covenant with Him forever.
Beginning in verse 6 God makes a case based on empirical evidence that He is the one and only God. We see the same proclamation in Revelation. I am the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
In verse 8 God refers to Himself as the Rock. There is no other Rock. The word in Hebrew is Tsur. It is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek Petra. Jesus tells Peter, in Matthew 16:18 “You are Petros, and on this Petra I will build my church.” Peter is a rock in the wall of the church. But it is upon the Tsur, the Petra, Jesus Christ who is God alone, that the church is built.
Vs. 9 Is a very wise and powerful statement about those who make idols. It is worth knowing because idols may not look like silver or gold cows anymore, but there are certainly idol makers today and there are people who support them. We’re probably all guilty of it. Media, entertainment, politics, religion, and ideology are all idol makers. So, this wisdom from God is a good reminder for us to put our faith in what is real, true, trustworthy, and eternal.
All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.
Vs. 12-20 Is the sad irony of the life of idol makers. They can’t see the gifts of God in front of them. They can’t tell that in weakness they made something that they put hope into for strength. Truly, Godlessness is nothingness and hopelessness.
Vs. 21-23 God reiterates His compassion. He repeats His loving desire to be in relationship with Israel. He has redeemed Israel and swept their sins away. This shows the power of God, because only a real and true God could be offended by idolatry, and only a loving and benevolent God has the power to save sinners and sweep our sins away. Only God has the power to forget our sins.
Vs. 24-28 Now God not only proclaims Himself as the redeemer, but more than 150 years before it happens God tells Isaiah who He will use as the shepherd who will gather and rebuild Jerusalem. Cyrus is mentioned by name here as the shepherd that God has chosen to begin to gather Israel together and rebuild Jerusalem.