Isaiah 44 Commentary

Israel’s God and man-made gods (44:1-28)

Not only is God willing to forgive his people, but he wants to pour out the power of his Spirit upon them so that new spiritual life will spring up within them. This will enable them to evangelize the Gentiles, who will then join the descendants of Jacob in worshipping the God of Israel (44:1-5). Israel’s redeemer is the only God. He knows the end from the beginning and his people can depend on him always (6-8).

In contrast to the one true and living God are the many lifeless gods that workmen make. But how can a man make a god? What he makes must be inferior to himself, not greater. By making idols a person lowers his own status and brings shame upon himself (9-11).

When a craftsman makes an idol of metal, he gets hot and tired from his work, and the idol can do nothing to help him (12). When a craftsman makes an idol of wood, he has to use a tree that the living God has made to grow. After the man has chopped the tree down, he uses part of it to make a fire to cook his meals, and uses another part of it to make an idol that he then worships (13-17). To worship man- made things is clearly absurd, but those who worship them cannot see this, because they are spiritually blind (18-20).

The prophet then returns to consider the one true God and what he has done for his people. He has chosen them to belong to him, forgiven them their sins and saved them from their enemies (21-23). He is their redeemer as well as their creator, and he is now about to prove wrong those who forecast the destruction of Israel (24-25). As the prophet has already announced, God is going to act on behalf of his people. At his direction Cyrus will conquer Babylon and permit the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem (26-28).

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