Read Isaiah 44
Israel the Chosen
44 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
Israel, whom I have chosen.
2 This is what the Lord says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
5 Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and will take the name Israel.
The Lord, Not Idols
6 “This is what the Lord says—
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come—
yes, let them foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
9 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.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame;
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.
12 The blacksmith takes a tool
and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
I even baked bread over its coals,
I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
21 “Remember these things, Jacob,
for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.”
23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,
for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
he displays his glory in Israel.
Jerusalem to Be Inhabited
24 “This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord,
the Maker of all things,
who stretches out the heavens,
who spreads out the earth by myself,
25 who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it into nonsense,
26 who carries out the words of his servants
and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’
of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
and I will dry up your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’
How often do we fall in the trap of esteeming the creation around us over the Creator who made us? We devote ourselves to the makings of our own hands instead of resting in the hands of our designer. This is the same trap that Israel was falling into.
Isaiah painstakingly points out the futility of worshiping the creation instead of the Creator. He says that “All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless” (v. 9). He illustrates how idols are made in order to show the meaninglessness of them. As depicted in verse 15, a craftsman will take a tree and harvest its wood. That wood is used to cook meat, but the same wood used to cook the meat is also used to create idols designed to be worshiped. These idols have no inherent power yet are worshiped by the very people who created them. Israel finds themselves devoted to this cycle because they’ve deceived themselves into believing that a block of wood carries any power or value. As a result, they are trapped in a lie of their own creation.
But God in his kindness calls Israel to remember whose they are and what they are called to do. He reminds them that He is their “Redeemer”, the one who handcrafted them in the womb, and the Maker who intricately designed everything (v. 24). He promises He will one day pour out His spirit on the people. God says to Israel, “I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants” (v. 3). This was fulfilled at Pentecost in Acts 2, which was a time where the Holy Spirit was poured out on all people who had trusted in the death and resurrection of Jesus for the payment of their sins. This same spirit is available for us today, and marked the beginning of a New Covenant with God and His people.
We too, can give ourselves to objects of our own creation, and then wonder why we are empty. We can often forsake God and exchange His eternal love and unrelenting care for the immediate and temporary comforts of this world. Everything we have is a gift from God and we are called to steward what He has entrusted to us, not worship it. The good news is that He never stops pursuing us. Just as He did for Israel, His arms are always open to receive a repentant heart that is ready to turn back to him.
- Is there something in your life that you’ve allowed to become an idol?
- How have you seen the consistency of God’s character throughout the book of Isaiah?
- How do you see the Holy Spirit at work in your life today?
By the Way
The pouring out of the Holy Spirit that Isaiah prophesied about in Isaiah 44 ultimately was fulfilled in Acts 2. To read more about this, check out this article from GotQuestions.org.
Leave a Comment Below
Join the Team
Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email email@example.com.
4 thoughts on “Isaiah 44”
What if we turned aside from every idol and lived like the redeemed of the Lord that we are? Anything or anyone we place our trust, truth, security or happiness in becomes our idol. Whatever we seek to empower us apart from Christ is futile and leaves us empty. The next time we reach for that favorite temporary fix, let it sink in that we are his chosen ones who he has engraved on the palm of his hands. He has set his heart on us and cannot forget us! We are always on his mind! We are seen, known and immensely loved by our Redeemer. May this truth empower us to live intentionally.
Clearly defined Ella!
BUT GOD formed and created us from our mothers womb for Himself. WOW mind blowing that the God of the universe wants ME for Himself to love and to be loved. If we could comprehend some minute piece of that truth, only imagine what it could be like here on earth with us placing God on that pedestal that He belongs. What a privilege it is to be His, He formed us, created us and has poured out His Spirit in us so that we can know Him, love Him and Worship Him like ONLY HE deserves!!! So let us be fully clothed in His love and be the light in a dark place by our actions. Those actions can help the world see who GOD is, Col 3 old man vs new man. JP message was a toe stomper for me but oh so good and timely.
God thank You for continually taking my junk and helping me put on Your actions on in my life. Thank You for a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, forgiving each other. Thank You for see others through your Love goggles and not through my worldly eyes. I love the thought and knowledge of Your breath in my lungs so as I speak let it be Your words with Your breath. Help me to be patient with all I encounter today in Jesus name amen
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say…
What’s almost confusing to me reading this passage is Isaiah speaking (pleading) to The Chosen, the servants, the witnesses, about idol worship. He mocks worshippers and speaks of their foolishness and specifically says basically they know not what they do! Yet, he’s trying to persuade Israel to return to God v 22. Isaiah even repeats the phrase, “This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb” at least 4x.
Sometimes I wonder if we pray the wrong prayer, or pray wrongly? Are we blind to our/their blindness thinking it is of self, or of God? How does a blind person know they can’t see what everyone else sees? Painstakingly is a good word. 🧐
This is where we put on the attire that JP spoke of yesterday. For we, may in fact, be blind in areas of our own life that we think we can see clearly in others. Great passage today.