God’s Word of Joy
Isaiah 44:1-28: Israel is reminded that there is no other god but God alone. Idolatry is ridiculed. The LORD alone is Creator and Savior. Today’s reading concludes by referencing the Persian leader Cyrus who defeated the Babylonians in 539 B.C. and allowed the Israelites to return home from exile and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (see Ezra 1:1-4).
The Lord Is the Only God
1The Lord says,
“Listen now, Israel, my servant,
my chosen people, the descendants of Jacob.
2I am the Lord who created you;
from the time you were born, I have helped you.
Do not be afraid; you are my servant,
my chosen people whom I love.
3“I will give water to the thirsty land
and make streams flow on the dry ground.
I will pour out my spirit on your children
and my blessing on your descendants.
4They will thrive like well-watered grass,
like willows by streams of running water.
5“One by one, people will say, ‘I am the Lord‘s.’
They will come to join the people of Israel.
They each will mark the name of the Lord on their arms
and call themselves one of God’s people.”
6 The Lord, who rules and protects Israel,
the Lord Almighty, has this to say:
“I am the first, the last, the only God;
there is no other god but me.
7Could anyone else have done what I did?
Who could have predicted all that would happen
from the very beginning to the end of time?
8Do not be afraid, my people!
You know that from ancient times until now
I have predicted all that would happen,
and you are my witnesses.
Is there any other god?
Is there some powerful god I never heard of?”
Idolatry Is Ridiculed
9All those who make idols are worthless, and the gods they prize so highly are useless. Those who worship these gods are blind and ignorant—and they will be disgraced. 10It does no good to make a metal image to worship as a god! 11Everyone who worships it will be humiliated. The people who make idols are human beings and nothing more. Let them come and stand trial—they will be terrified and will suffer disgrace.
12The metalworker takes a piece of metal and works with it over a fire. His strong arm swings a hammer to pound the metal into shape. As he works, he gets hungry, thirsty, and tired.
13The carpenter measures the wood. He outlines a figure with chalk, carves it out with his tools, and makes it in the form of a man, a handsome human figure, to be placed in his house. 14He might cut down cedars to use, or choose oak or cypress wood from the forest. Or he might plant a laurel tree and wait for the rain to make it grow. 15 A person uses part of a tree for fuel and part of it for making an idol. With one part he builds a fire to warm himself and bake bread; with the other part he makes a god and worships it. 16With some of the wood he makes a fire; he roasts meat, eats it, and is satisfied. He warms himself and says, “How nice and warm! What a beautiful fire!” 17The rest of the wood he makes into an idol, and then he bows down and worships it. He prays to it and says, “You are my god—save me!”
18Such people are too stupid to know what they are doing. They close their eyes and their minds to the truth. 19The maker of idols hasn’t the wit or the sense to say, “Some of the wood I burned up. I baked some bread on the coals, and I roasted meat and ate it. And the rest of the wood I made into an idol. Here I am bowing down to a block of wood!”
20It makes as much sense as eating ashes. His foolish ideas have so misled him that he is beyond help. He won’t admit to himself that the idol he holds in his hand is not a god at all.
The Lord, the Creator and Savior
21The Lord says,
“Israel, remember this;
remember that you are my servant.
I created you to be my servant,
and I will never forget you.
22I have swept your sins away like a cloud.
Come back to me; I am the one who saves you.”
23Shout for joy, you heavens!
Shout, deep places of the earth!
Shout for joy, mountains, and every tree of the forest!
The Lord has shown his greatness
by saving his people Israel.
24“I am the Lord, your savior;
I am the one who created you.
I am the Lord, the Creator of all things.
I alone stretched out the heavens;
when I made the earth, no one helped me.
25 I make fools of fortunetellers
and frustrate the predictions of astrologers.
The words of the wise I refute
and show that their wisdom is foolishness.
26But when my servant makes a prediction,
when I send a messenger to reveal my plans,
I make those plans and predictions come true.
I tell Jerusalem that people will live there again,
and the cities of Judah that they will be rebuilt.
Those cities will rise from the ruins.
27With a word of command I dry up the ocean.
28 I say to Cyrus, ‘You are the one who will rule for me;
you will do what I want you to do:
you will order that Jerusalem be rebuilt
and that the foundations of the Temple be laid.’”
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 44:6b
“I am the first, the last, the only God; there is no other god but me.”
What does today’s reading teach you about God? What verses speak of God’s power? What does today’s reading say about idols made of metal and wood? Do people worship other types of false gods today? Explain.
Lord God, you alone are God. You are my Creator and Savior, and you are all-powerful. Great are you, O Lord! I shout for joy and sing your praises! Amen.
Isaiah 45:1-25: The Persian leader Cyrus is chosen to help Israel.