Is. 44:1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:
Is. 44:2 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.
The message from God through the prophet again emphasizes the fact that Jacob/Israel was chosen (selected, appointed) as God’s special servant. Again, emphasis is given to the fact that God is interested in us from our very beginnings—from the time that He makes us in the womb of our mother. Regarding the nation of Israel, God’s plan from the beginning was to bring about a miraculous birthing of the nation through the reproductively “dead” bodies of Abraham and Sarah through their son Isaac. Isaac’s son Jacob was chosen in God’s sovereignty to be the man through whom the twelve tribes of the nation would be fathered. Jacob was declared as God’s choice while still in his mother’s womb. God doesn’t implement a miraculous plan and then abandon His people to work out the rest. He has promised to help them; the Hebrew includes to “surround, aid, protect.” Again God uses the distinctive names to make a point. Jacob is a reference to the self-reliant people who continually struggle in their relationship to their God. The Hebrew for Jesurun states “upright.” God is again making a comparison regarding His nation as they related to Him through most of their existence and the nation that will experience blessing and fellowship during the reign of the Messiah.
Is. 44:3 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:
Is. 44:4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
Regarding the nation of Israel, I don’t see how anyone can look at their history and think that this is describing any time in their history since the time of Isaiah. This has to be referencing a time yet future; I believe it is the reign of Messiah from the throne of David. The prophet’s message is directly connected to the nation of Israel. This message is concerning spiritual thirst and spiritual insight for the blessed remnant of Israel which will turn to their Messiah in faith and become a very populous nation. This will be the point in time that Abraham will experience the fulfillment of God’s blessing upon him and his seed.
The truth of this principle in reference to a God who never changes also applies to His people of all times. God reiterates this principle in the New Testament. God will always respond to those who truly seek Him, those who desire to know Him, those who realize they have a need and recognize Him as The Source for meeting that need.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
As I read through this section again, I felt the need to reference the scripture that defines the Holy Spirit as “living water.”
John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Those who come to faith in Jesus Christ as part of the “church” experience that provision of the Spirit in their lifetime. In reference to the nation of Israel, that experience will come when they recognize Jesus as their Messiah and He returns as King of kings.
Is. 44:5 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.
At this future time of blessing for the nation of Israel, instead of rebelling against the Lord, His people will be eager to boast about the fact that they belong to the Lord. The names of Jacob and Israel, which are associated with Almighty God, will be honored and desired. Many will choose to subscribe (grave – fix indelibly) their hands with the name of the Lord and will choose to add the name Israel to their name as a last name.
Wow, what a turn around. The land of Israel today is home to many religions; the Jewish population is even divided in their view of Judaism—orthodox Jews, secular Jews, and Jews that are anti-religion or agnostic.
Is. 44:6 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.
Again, the prophet identifies YHWH as the King of Israel. He is the One who reigns in sovereign authority in Israel whether they choose to acknowledge Him or not. Again, He is identified as their Redeemer, their Deliverer, and the One who will ransom them with the blood of His Son. I missed the word and the first time through. This message is from YHWH and His redeemer, Jesus the Son, the Lord of hosts; Jesus is the Commander in Chief of the armies of God. Both can identify themselves as the first and the last; Jesus identifies Himself that way four times in the book of Revelation:
Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last….
Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive….
Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Again, YHWH identifies Himself as the One and Only God; there is no other. There is no room for debate in this statement; it is an absolute.
Is. 44:7 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.
YHWH alone can bring forth witnesses to His unique ability to tell His purposes for the future and bring it to pass in just the way He foretold.
“since I appointed the ancient people” – This seems to be a statement that references the fact that God has declared prophecies to His people from the time that He made His covenant with Abraham. God had often raised up prophets to foretell how He would act in judgment towards Israel (and/or her enemies), and history reflects the complete accuracy of His predictions.
Is. 44:8 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.
“from that time” = the time “since I appointed the ancient people”
“Fear ye not” – Beginning with Abraham, the man singled out by God to father the nation through which would come the Messiah, God has promised to bless His people.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
This promise was unconditional; there were no strings attached. It did not preclude, however, the need for God to chastise or punish His people when they blatantly rebelled against Him. Always the punishment came with a promise to preserve a remnant. There is coming a time in the future that Israel will no longer be rebellious, but will be rejoicing in the blessings that are theirs because Messiah is on the throne. God’s dealings with the nation of Israel have served as a witness to the Gentile nations. His actions on behalf of His nation give proof that He is the One and Only God; there is NO OTHER. God is all-knowing, and He doesn’t know of any other “god”—meaning, there is no other God!
Is. 44:9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.
Is. 44:10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?
Is. 44:11 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.
Simply put—Idols are worthless. Those who make them should be ashamed. It is obvious that they can’t see or think; they are made by men. The day is coming when those who have made them and those who have worshipped them will be gathered together in fear and shame in judgment before Almighty God.
Is. 44:12 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.
Is. 44:13 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.
Is. 44:14 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.
Is. 44:15 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.
Is. 44:16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part 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:
Is. 44:17 And the residue 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.
These verses paint a pretty pathetic picture. They speak of men putting forth great effort to make an idol that is beautiful in the eyes of man, just to stand it up in the home. The men make great preparation to have the best wood available, to the point of planting special trees to provide for a continuing supply to meet their needs. They use the same wood to provide heating, to cook, and to make a “god” to worship. How foolish to think that an image you have created can respond to your worship or to your prayers! The Psalmist states it like it is:
Psalm 115:4-8 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
Is. 44:18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.
Is. 44:19 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?
Is. 44:20 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?
The men who are participating in this idolatry seem to have no ability to understand the absurdity of what they are doing. This reminds me of some verses from my study in the book of Romans.
Romans 1:21-25 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
There comes a point when God decides to give man over to his own desires. That is a very sobering thought.
Is. 44:21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.
Is. 44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.
“Remember” = “to mark, be mindful, think on”
Through the prophet, God is urging His people to think about what He is saying. As a nation they had been chosen by God to be His servant, and nothing they could do will change that. In spite of their rebellion, God will accomplish His purposes in and through them. Just as God forgives us of our sins and cleanses us from our sins when we turn to Him in faith, He will just as surely forgive and cleanse Israel when they turn to their Messiah in faith.
“I have redeemed thee” – This act is spoken of as accomplished even though Jesus would not yet come to die on the cross for hundreds of years and would not come to reign from the throne of David for more than 2000 years after that. When God says it, it is as good as done. The redemption of Israel was accomplished hand in hand with the redemption of the rest of mankind who would turn to God in faith.
Is. 44:23 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.
In Isaiah’s poetic style, he repeats the truth of the previous verse. With the pronouncement of that truth, the rest of creation rejoices. The redemption of Israel is the fulfillment of that first promise to Abraham. It is also the act that will result in the lifting of the curse that was inflicted upon creation when man chose to sin. Through the redeeming work of the Father through His Son, God was glorified. Again, this brings to mind some verses from my study in Romans.
Romans 8:19-22 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Is. 44:24 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;
Is. 44:25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;
Is. 44:26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; 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:
Is. 44:27 That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:
Is. 44:28 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.
Again, although the prophet Isaiah is the messenger, the message is from YHWH. What follows is a list of truths or identifying factors of YHWH. They are meant to underscore just Who is speaking to them.