1 Hear this, O house of Jacob (cheater), who are called by the name of Israel (prince), and have come out of the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth or in righteousness. 2 For they call themselves of the holy city, and rely on the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is his name. 3 I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went out of my mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.
- The Lord charges His people with neglecting His truth.
- This verse speaks today to Christians not living by trusting His word but by their own devices and ways of the world…not in truth or in righteousness.
- God will judge us according to His truth.
- John 17:17 Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
- Psalm 96:13 …he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
The Lord knows we are obstinate and deal treacherously
4 Because I knew that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew, and your brow brass; 5 from the beginning I have declared it to you; before it came to pass I showed it to you: so you could not say, My idol has done it, and my carved image, and my molten image, has commanded these things. 6 You have heard and seen all this; will you not declare it? I have shown you new things from this time, hidden things, and you did not know them. 7 They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when you did not hear them; lest you should say, Behold, I knew them. 8 Yes, you did not hear; you did not know; from that time your ear was not opened: for I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the womb. 9 For my name’s sake I will put off my anger, and for my praise I will restrain myself for you and not cut you off.
- Is there a person on earth who can say he has wholly followed the Lord and all of His word?
- The Lord defers His anger for His sake.
- Today we do not give God credit for creation. We say, ‘Mother nature,’ or ‘nature,’ ‘fate,’ or ‘chance,’ or ‘lady luck,’ anything but God—He alone is worthy.
He refines us in the furnace of affliction
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, even for my own sake, I will do it: should my name be polluted/defiled? And I will not give my glory to another. 12 Listen to me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
- It often takes suffering to subdue our pride, our self-centeredness.
- The book of Job illustrates this.
- God said Job was the most righteous man on earth, that He revered God and shunned evil.
- Yet when God allowed suffering, Job focused on himself.
- When it was all over he could see himself in right relation to his Maker.
- He could see God (Job 42:5).
- Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
13 My hand also has laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand has spanned the heavens: when I call to them, they stand up together. 14 All of you, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them has declared these things? The LORD has loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm will be on the Chaldeans. 15 I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him: I have brought him, and he will make his way prosperous. 16 Come near to me, hear this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I am there: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit has sent me. 17 This is what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says; I am the LORD your God who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way that you should go. 18 O that you had listened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.
- God is holy and unchangeable.
- He gives us to reap the results of our own choices so that we will learn what is best.
- He wishes that we would just listen rather than being taught the hard way.
- If we listen and obey, our peace will be like a river and our righteousness as the waves of the sea…towering, constantly spilling over the shores of life.
- He teaches us to profit
- He leads us by the way we should go.
- Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you are to go: I will guide you with my eye.
He preserves the offspring of the obedient
19 Your seed would have been as the sand, and the offspring of your bowels like its gravel; his name would not have been cut off or destroyed from before me. 20 Go forth out of Babylon, flee from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare, tell this, utter it to the end of the earth; say, The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob. 21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he split the rock and the waters gushed out. 22 There is no peace, says the LORD, to the wicked.
- God provided during the hard times.
- He provides perfect peace.
- The wicked are those beings who refuse to acknowledge and be grateful to their Creator.
- They follow the voice of evil.
- Their lifestyle and practices may appear to be good.
- But good that leaves out God is evil.
- If you have no peace, confess your sins and get your mind back on God.
- Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.
- 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 Listen to me, O isles; listen, you people, from far away; The LORD has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother he has mentioned my name. 2 And he has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand has he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver has he hid me; 3 And said to me, You are my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
- Prophets spoke the word of God, Creator and Master of the universe.
- His words are alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12).
Our judgment and work is with our Faithful Lord
4 Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing, and in vain: yet certainly my judgment is with the LORD, and my reward with my God. 5 And now, says the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him again, Though Israel is not gathered, yet I will be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God will be my strength. 6 And he said, It is a small thing for you to be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the desolations of Israel: I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth. 7 The Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One says this to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers, kings will see and arise, princes also will worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he will choose you.
- Israel has been the most hated nation on earth.
- ‘Him whom the nation abhors,’ is Jesus.
- His nation hated and crucified Him after He had walked among them healing multitudes.
8 This is what the LORD says, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That you may say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They will feed in the ways, and their pastures will be in all high places.
- When Jesus Christ returns to earth He will free the people of earth from the unjust and greedy rulers that have led them to worship false things.
- He will free the whole planet from the rule of evil that began with the whisper of the serpent in the garden.
- Truth will go forth and set all the people free from the false things of evil.
- People will be fed the bread of life.
- The One who made them in His image will then be their King.
- John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; and he that believes on me will never thirst.
10 They will not hunger or thirst; the heat will not strike them: for he that has mercy on them will lead them; by the springs of water he will guide them. 11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways will be exalted. 12 Behold, these will come from far: and, look, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. 13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; break out into singing, O mountains: for the LORD has comforted his people, and will have mercy on his afflicted. 14 But Zion said, The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.
He will never forget us; He has carved us on the palms of His hands
15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, but I will not forget you. 16 Behold, I have carved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.
- John 20:25 Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails
17 Your children will hurry; your destroyers and those that waste you will go out of you. 18 Lift up your eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to you. As I live, says the LORD, you will surely clothe yourself with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on you, as a bride does.
- The land of Israel will cherish each one.
The Lord contends with those who contend with us
19 For your waste and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction, will be too narrow because of so many inhabitants, and they that swallowed you up will be far away. 20 The children that you will have, after you have lost the other, will say again in your ears, The place is too small for me: give me space to live. 21 Then you will say in your heart, Who has begotten me these, since I lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and moving here and there? And who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where have they been? 22 This is what the Lord God says, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they will bring your sons in their bosoms and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. 23 And kings will be your nourishing fathers, and their princesses your nursing mothers: they will bow down to you with their face toward the earth, and lick the dust of your feet; and you will know that I am the LORD: for they will not be ashamed that wait for me. 24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? 25 But this is what the Lord says, Even the captives of the mighty will be taken away, and the prey of the terrible will be delivered: for I will contend with him that contends with you, and I will save your children. 26 And I will feed them that oppress you with their own flesh; and they will be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
- Our God is so strong that He spoke creation into being (Psalm 33:6, 9).
1 This is what the LORD says, Where is your mother’s bill of divorce, whom I have put away? Or to which of my creditors have I sold you? Behold, for your iniquities you have sold yourselves, and for your transgressions your mother is put away.
- The mother that God speaks of is the nation Israel.
- God has not abandoned or sold any of us.
- We have done it to ourselves by disobedience and trusting others or things.
- Hebrews 13:5 Let your way of life be without covetousness; and be content with what you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, or forsake you.
- Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
God calls to earth all day long
2 Why, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink because there is no water, and die for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.
- Psalm 50:1 The mighty God, even the LORD, has spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down.
- Hebrews 7:25 he is able also to save them to the uttermost those that come to God by him, since he ever lives to make intercession for them.
4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakens morning by morning, he wakens my ear to hear as the learned. 5 The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 6 I gave my back to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.
- The Lord teaches us how to encourage others.
- Verse 6 is one of the many prophecies of Christ that was fulfilled.
- He did it for you.
He helps us and keeps us from becoming confused
7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore I will not be confounded: therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. 8 He is near that justifies me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together: who is my adversary? Let him come near me. 9 Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that will condemn me? Look, they all will grow old as a garment; the moth will eat them up.
- He is near; He justifies us
- Romans 3:26 that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.
- Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whoever believes on him will not be ashamed.
- Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?
10 Who is there among you fears the LORD, and obeys the voice of his servant that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and rely on his God. 11 Behold, all you that kindle a fire, that surround yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled. This you will have of my hand; you will lie down in sorrow.
- These fires were heathen worship ceremonies.
- The sorrow is what we do to ourselves by choosing false things.
- We are to walk in the light of the Lord—Psalm 119:105, 1 John 1:5
- Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.
God is the rock who comforts and makes the wilderness like Eden
1 Listen to me, you that follow after righteousness, you that seek the LORD: look to the rock from where you were carved, and to the hole of the pit where you were digged. 2 Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah that bore you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. 3 For the LORD will comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found there, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 4 Listen to me, my people; and give ear to me, O my nation: for a law will proceed from me, and I will make my judgment rest for a light of the people.
- God’s way is light. How much better to walk through light than in the darkness.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
5 My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone out, and my arms will judge the people; the isles will wait on me, and on my arm they will trust. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath: for the heavens will vanish away like smoke, and the earth will grow old like a garment, and those that dwell in it will die the same way: but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will not be abolished.
- 2Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwells righteousness.
The Lord is going to end all sorrow for His people
7 Listen to me, you that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; do not fear the reproach of men or be afraid of their revilings. 8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool: but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation. 9 Awake, awake, put on strength; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Was it not you that cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? 10 Is it not you that has dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that has made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over. 11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD will return, and come with singing to Zion; and everlasting joy will be on their head: they will obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning will flee away.
- 1Peter 1:18 you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
- Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne will feed them, and will lead them to living fountains of waters: and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.
12 I, even I, am he that comforts you: who are you, that you should be afraid of a man that will die, and of the son of man who will be made as grass; 13 And forget the LORD your maker, that has stretched out the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile hurries that he may be loosed, and that he not die in the pit or that his food not fail; 15 But I am the LORD our God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name.
- Lord of hosts is God’s title as ruler of the universe.
- All the angels are under His supreme command.
- 2Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.
16 And I have put my words in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, you are my people. 17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, who has drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; you have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out. 18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she has brought forth; neither is there any that takes her by the hand of all the sons that she has brought up. 19 These two things have come to you; who will be sorry for you? Desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword: by whom will I comfort you?
- Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
The Lord pleads the cause of His people; He chastens those He loves
20 Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of your God. 21 So hear now this, you afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: 22 This is what the LORD, your Lord, says, and your God, that pleads the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; you will not drink it again: 23 But I will put it into the hand of those that afflict you; who have said to your soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and you have laid your body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.
- The Lord takes the cup of judgment out of our hand.
- He puts the cup of judgment in the hands of those that afflict us.
- All suffering that God allows in the lives of His children is for a high purpose (Job 23:10).
- Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take: when he has tried me, I will come forth as gold.
- Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
SUMMARY: Isaiah 48-51
- The Lord knows we are obstinate and deal treacherously
- He refines us in the furnace of affliction
- He preserves the offspring of the obedient
- Our judgment and work is with our Faithful Lord
- He will never forget us; He has carved us on the palms of His hands
- The Lord contends with those who contend with us
- God calls to earth all day long
- He helps us and keeps us from becoming confused
- God is the rock who comforts and makes the wilderness like Eden
- The Lord is going to end all sorrow for His people
- The Lord pleads the cause of His people; He chastens those He loves