Isaiah

Isaiah 44 The Covenant LORD Or Idolatry.

Once again there is a promise of help from the LORD, water for the thirsty and floods on the dry ground. He formed His chosen in the womb (vv. 1-3a). What is new is the promise that the LORD would pour out His Spirit on their offspring (v. 3b), and they will thus bear fruit (v. 4). This would fulfill the promise given earlier to the remnant (28:5-6; 32:15; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:38-39). Thus, the giving of the Spirit is both a promise, and the one who confirms the LORD’s promises. At the advent of Christ there was also this connection between water and the Spirit given (Cf. Mk. 1:8-10). They will testify that they are ‘The LORD’s’ (v. 5). “Many will participate in the new age of restoration, as Gentiles and Jews together will confess the name of the Lord (sic) (cf. Ps. 87:4-6)” (NGSB p.1101).

The LORD will be their King, Redeemer, and the LORD of hosts-the first and the last-God alone (v. 6 Cf. 41:4; Rev. 1:8, 17; 22:13). The LORD alone can declare the end from the beginning, and his people are witnesses (vv. 7-8 Cf. 41:4, 22, 26; 43:10, 12; 45:5; Dt. 4:35; 32:39). Idolaters will only have their idols to bear witness-being ashamed that they neither see or know, or are of any profit (vv. 9-11 Cf. 1:29; 41:24, 29; 42:17; Ps. 97:7; Jer. 10:5; Hab. 2:18; Acts 19:26). Even the craftsmen who form the idol get tired and thirsty (v. 12). The idol is fashioned after the likeness of the owner who will look to it for deliverance, yet it will be burned in the fire to cook a meal or to keep people warm (vv. 13-17 Cf. Dt. 4:16). They “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man” (Rom. 1:23).

It is the LORD who has shut the eyes of many so that they would not see or understand (v. 18 Cf. 6:9-10; 45:20; Jer. 10:14). These idolaters don’t take to heart and reflect on the futility of the above activity, instead they deceive themselves so that they cannot understand the truth (vv. 19-20 Cf. 57:11; 59:3). “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened: (Rom. 1:21). God gave them a strong delusion to believe a lie (II Th. 2:11). Prophets and Seers would be taken from them (29:10). Such was the reality of those of apostate Israel when Jesus engaged in his personal earthly ministry (Cf. Mt. 13:14; Mk. 4:12; 6:1-6; Lk. 8:10; Jn. 12:40), and Paul (Cf. Acts 28:28:26; Rom. 10:1-4; 11:8). They resisted the Spirit (Acts 7:51).

The faithful remnant, on the other hand, are formed by the LORD as his living witnesses-to Him and His word and acts in history. He had not forgotten them (v. 21 Cf. 49:15). The only reason that they occupy such a blessed condition and have such a purpose, is that He had blotted out their transgressions and sins – “like a thick cloud” (v. 22). As a result, they were His own possession in the covenant (Cf. 43:1; I Cor. 6:20; I Pet. 1:18-19). This He did for His own sake (Cf. 43:25). The whole of creation would also bear witness with singing, to this redemption of His people in this covenant relationship, all to His glory (v. 23 Cf. 42:10; 49:3, 13; 60:21). Their Redeemer is the Creator (v. 24), frustrating the signs of the babblers and diviners, making their ‘knowledge’ foolishness (v. 25 Cf. 47:13; Job 5:12-14; Jer. 50:36).

There is a great contrast here between pagan approaches to knowledge, revelation, and signs, and the messengers of the LORD (v. 26 Cf. Ps. 33:10-11). This was like Ahithophel’s opposition to David, and his prayer to have his words frustrated (II Sam. 15:31). The prophets die, but the word of the LORD delivered through them lived on to fulfillment (Zech. 1:5-6; Mt. 5:17-18). The LORD alone rules all creation in His providence for His own glory and the benefit of His people, drying up the source of the idolaters water (v. 27 Cf. Jer. 50:38; 51:36). Not only creation, but also history and the players in history, such as Cyrus working as the LORD’s servant, under His sovereign control (v. 28a). Through Cyrus’ edict, the people would return and be given help to rebuild the temple and the city (v. 28b Cf. 45:13; Ezra 1:1).

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