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Read Isaiah 48

Stubborn Israel

48 “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob,
    you who are called by the name of Israel
    and come from the line of Judah,
you who take oaths in the name of the Lord
    and invoke the God of Israel—
    but not in truth or righteousness—
you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city
    and claim to rely on the God of Israel—
    the Lord Almighty is his name:
I foretold the former things long ago,
    my mouth announced them and I made them known;
    then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
For I knew how stubborn you were;
    your neck muscles were iron,
    your forehead was bronze.
Therefore I told you these things long ago;
    before they happened I announced them to you
so that you could not say,
    ‘My images brought them about;
    my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’
You have heard these things; look at them all.
    Will you not admit them?

“From now on I will tell you of new things,
    of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
    you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
    ‘Yes, I knew of them.’
You have neither heard nor understood;
    from of old your ears have not been open.
Well do I know how treacherous you are;
    you were called a rebel from birth.
For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath;
    for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,
    so as not to destroy you completely.
10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
    How can I let myself be defamed?
    I will not yield my glory to another.

Israel Freed

12 “Listen to me, Jacob,
    Israel, whom I have called:
I am he;
    I am the first and I am the last.
13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth,
    and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summon them,
    they all stand up together.

14 “Come together, all of you, and listen:
    Which of the idols has foretold these things?
The Lord’s chosen ally
    will carry out his purpose against Babylon;
    his arm will be against the Babylonians.
15 I, even I, have spoken;
    yes, I have called him.
I will bring him,
    and he will succeed in his mission.

16 “Come near me and listen to this:

“From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret;
    at the time it happens, I am there.”

And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me,
    endowed with his Spirit.

17 This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you what is best for you,
    who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
    your peace would have been like a river,
    your well-being like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,
    your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be blotted out
    nor destroyed from before me.”

20 Leave Babylon,
    flee from the Babylonians!
Announce this with shouts of joy
    and proclaim it.
Send it out to the ends of the earth;
    say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.”
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
    he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock
    and water gushed out.

22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

Go Deeper

This chapter further highlights the sins of Israel, including their hypocrisy, idolatry, and disregard for God’s commands. We see this from the first few verses in which the Lord ultimately says that they are Israel by name only, not by character. The Israelites had a special call on their lives to be set apart from the world, yet they allowed their hearts to wander and pursued worldly pleasures. As children of God, we bear His name and the responsibility to reflect His character to the world.

The Lord goes on to say that they are without excuse for continuing to choose false gods, as He has given them substantial proof that He is God alone. He gave them irrefutable evidence about how He foretold things and then they happened, yet Israel remained hard hearted. When the Lord said, “You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them?” (v. 6), it is as if He was amazed that the people had seen His power and glory yet still stood in rebellion. Arguably, we have more evidence of the kind of God we serve now than the Israelites had, as we have God’s complete Word in print. We can read how Isaiah ends and see the abundance of fulfilled prophecies. Why is it that we still struggle to believe God and take Him at His word?

The good news is that we serve a merciful God. Despite their sinfulness and rebellion, God is still merciful to them and delivers them from the Babylonians. The end of the chapter declares that they are free from Babylonian captivity, but not without the Lord lamenting over the unfulfilled potential of His people due to their disobedience. These verses truly show the heart of God. He doesn’t want His people to follow His commands because He craves attention or power, but rather He wants His people to obey His commands so that their “peace could be like a river” and their “well-being would be like waves of the sea” (v. 18). We serve a God who is truly for us and for our good. Let us not grieve His heart by walking in disobedience.


  1. Knowing that you carry the name of the Lord, how should that affect your daily activities?
  2. In what ways has the Lord shown you mercy?
  3. Is there an area in your life that you are avoiding in which the Lord is calling you to be obedient? 

Keep Digging

Isaiah 48 reveals to us aspects of God’s character, such as His mercy and His steadfast love. If you are wanting to study the heart of God further, check out this article from that provides more defining characteristics to help us know and love Him even more.

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3 thoughts on “Isaiah 48”

  1. Stubborn, obstinate, unbending, hardheaded, traitors, rebels, and rotten—what compelled God to love and save these people? By their actions they chose captivity and destruction. V9 states “Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out.” Nothing these rebels did deserved saving, yet God showed his tender mercy and saved them anyway. I’m reminded that God will not share his glory. This Sovereign Lord, the Redeemer, longs to lead us in paths of righteousness where peace dwells. Will we listen to his commands and follow or will we stubbornly blunder into captivity? Could we just be done with hardheaded, stubborn ways, because we know how the story ends for the wicked!

  2. I am here Mat 7:3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? I can see (in particular my people) the problem, have suggested a fix, but it is back to freedom of choice. Just like these guys in Isaiah they choose wrongly, with a long path and much sufferings, BUT GOD still came and gave them a way out, albeit not peaceful. I can see for my people what would be a logical, happy choice but that is not the choice being made so it is breaking my heart. I am praying for a BUT GOD moment for this people.

    God thank You for Your guidance in my people life. God if You need my help to be a mentor to this people, help me or whomever that mentor might be guide with Your wisdom from Your word through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for peace in my heart knowing that he is Yours. Knowing that I can be loving, kind and patient to my people but it is not my choice. Thank You for giving me continued peace about this and that I can let it go for my sanity. Thank You as others read this that they are also believing with me and standing in that gap in Jesus name amen

  3. This is from one of my favorite songs right now…”He’s not sittin’ there shakin’ His head
    Writin’ you off, leavin’ you lost
    He’s not sittin’ there shakin’ His head
    He went to that cross, He went to that cross…’Cause He loves you so much” —Heart Of God by Smith/Williams/Hulse
    I’m in a season of Thanksgiving. God has been gracious to allow me to really see His heart towards me for the first time. Maybe it’s just me waking up each day and directing my mind towards Him and His goodness… that it’s always been there, but I focused on the worries of life, and not the goodness. My perspective changed when my mind changed, I guess you can say.
    One thing I’m so thankful for, is that I don’t have a heart of a Jonah. That when God sheds His mercy and grace on an undeserving Ninevite, I can rejoice and be glad, not criticize God’s graciousness. Nothing is more sad to see Christians who are jealous, envy, and untrustworthy of people that God has redeemed by His mercy and grace.
    It’s human to sympathize with Isaiah and his frustration, but we must not lose site of the goodness of God that He shows to stubborn people…we all need that compassion, grace, and mercy at some point. -Zach Williams

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