Today: [Isaiah 44] He Chooses You Regardless. In chapter 44 Isaiah laments the idolatry of the people all the while declaring the grace and mercy of God. He declares that though the people might forget God that God will never forget them. God will never forget you. He cannot be distracted from your welfare for one split second. He is incapable of being convinced to harm you in any way. Though consequences result when we stray from our God – He never chooses destruction for us because He came in the person of Jesus that we might have life and life more abundantly. In declaration of the constancy of the heart of God Isaiah makes comparison here of the coming of Cyrus to deliver Jerusalem to Jesus who comes to save all mankind from their sins.
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[Isa 44:1-28 KJV] 1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4 And they shall spring up [as] among the grass, as willows by the water courses. 5 One shall say, I [am] the LORD’S; and another shall call [himself] by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe [with] his hand unto the LORD, and surname [himself] by the name of Israel. 6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God. 7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. 8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared [it]? ye [are] even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, [there is] no God; I know not [any]. 9 They that make a graven image [are] all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they [are] their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.
In the previous chapter we see the Father allowing Jacob his people to experience the consequences of a culture of idolatry and disobedience. In verse one of ch. 44 nonetheless the election of God is sure. Though the people are disobedient, He calls them “Jacob My servant; and Israel whom I have chosen…” We can see hear that even when we are unfaithful and disobedient, the election of God is unchanged. God does not change His mind about us even though we often fall short and struggle with lukewarmness in service to Him. Because of His sovereignty and His love He said “fear not I will help you…” why? Because He has chosen us. In one perspective, this is true of all humanity. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He gave … Even if not one single person accepted Jesus as savior, the gift of God stands. The grace of God is extended to us even if we do not comprehend it or take advantage of the provisions of Calvary to make our lives different than they are.
In verse 3 we find the promise that God will pour water upon us when we are thirsty. Not everyone thirsts for God. Here is an insight into God’s posture toward those who reject Him. Today theologians and writers are insisting that God saves everyone whether they accept Him or not. That is untrue – if you choose to believe the clear implication of verse 3 of our chapter. The waters of life are freely available but only poured out upon those who are thirsty. If we thirst not – if we choose to fill our lives with other things then the waters of His Spirit are held in the heavens until such time that we like the prodigal weary ourselves eating the swine husks or worldly things and return to Him as our Father.
10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image [that] is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they [are] of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; [yet] they shall fear, [and] they shall be ashamed together. 12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretcheth out [his] rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house. 14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish [it]. 15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth [it], and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth [it]; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. 16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth [himself], and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: 17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, [even] his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth [it], and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou [art] my god.
Verse 10 speaks of the vanity of idolatry. Idolatry is alive and well even in modern times. In 1 John 5:21 the writer warns the elect “little children keep yourselves from idols…” Now do you think that the church John was addressing was filled with people tempted to stop in at the altar of Zeus or Minerva to sacrifice a goat or a sheep to a statue? Idolatry is much more subtle than this. What is the spirit of idolatry? Idolatry proposes the dwelling place of God to be somewhere other than the human heart. Idolatry is that sin by which we substitute outward dependence and security in place of inward reliance upon Christ. The summation of Paul’s gospel is found in Col. 1:26 when he says Christ IN YOU is the hope of Glory. The hope of glory is not found in any system of belief, religious culture, or any outward dependency. Even Christianity itself can become a system of idolatry when it marginalizes who Jesus is on the inside of you and points you instead to the infrastructure of outward religion. In this and in this truth only do we understand that life in Christ is more than religious expression, but in the living, dynamic reality of who Jesus is, resident and power wielding in our own hearts by faith.
18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; [and] their hearts, that they cannot understand. 19 And none considereth in his heart, neither [is there] knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten [it]: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? 20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, [Is there] not a lie in my right hand? 21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou [art] my servant: I have formed thee; thou [art] my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. 23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done [it]: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. 24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things]; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; 25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise [men] backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: 27 That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: 28 That saith of Cyrus, [He is] my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Verse 18 laments the stubbornness of man to relinquish his idols. The passage describes the effort and investment men make in their objects of false security that makes them reticent to abandon the lie to embrace God’s truth. How many times have men been convicted in their hearts but turned away saying “this is not how I was raised – this is not what my parents believed….” We sacrifice our own experience of the mercies of God because we long for the familiar and are unwilling to move out in the yet uncharted waters of intimacy with God. In verse 21 God calls the people to remember Him for He will never forget us. Even though we are distracted by many things in our walk with Him, remember this that God is never distracted for one moment from His love for us. He keeps us as the apple of His eye.
The chapter concludes with a comparison of Cyrus as a coming deliverer to a captive nation to Jesus Himself who comes as the Shepherd Savior to perform the pleasure of the Lord in our behalf. What is the pleasure of the Lord? Psalm 35:27 says that the Lord takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants. How will we experience this? By living out of the mentality of servant-sons before the Father seeking His will daily and yielding to His Spirit.
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