Isaiah 41, God Calls All To Recognize Him As The One True God
1. God Calls All Nations To Give Account (v1-7)
2. God Calls His People To Fear Not (v8-20)
3. God Calls False gods To Do Anything (v21-29)
Isaiah 41, God Calls All To Recognize Him As The One True God
Isaiah 41, God Calls All To Recognize Him As The One True God
Did you enjoy this teaching?
Let others know!
As we look at Isaiah Chapter 41 this evening I've titled the Message God calls all to recognize him as the one true God.
And this evening I pray that you are reminded and refreshed and encouraged in your heart.
That you would recognize the true and living God that there is only one God and and that he calls us to remember that to be encouraged, and refreshed in that and in this chapter.
He's going to be addressing three groups of people or three types of things, and so, in all of those he is calling them and stirring them up that they would recognize who he is, and so it'll be good reminders for us to have the right perspective about God in our hearts and our minds that we would.
Rest in him and trust in him.
As we get into this chapter, though, we are now kind of in a new segment of the Book of Isaiah, and if you're reading along with us, you may have noticed the change of tone that took place.
Isaiah can be broken up in the simplest form into two segments. It's chapters one through 39 and then chapters 40 through 66, and in the earlier chapters chapters one through 39 you see a a real direct.
Call of judgment and call to repentance that is being poured out through the Prophet Isaiah.
And then in Chapters 4366 there is still those calls to repentance, but it's not the predominant theme like it was in the previous chapters.
There is an overarching comfort that is being given to the people through the prophet Isaiah.
In these latter chapters, and so it's often.
Been noted and remarked on how we have in the the Book of Isaiah.
Kind of a.
A little picture of a miniature by.
Where we have in the Old Testament, 39 books of the Bible, Genesis through Malachi. And there is this work of God and Revelation of God that is brought forth there in the Old Testament. In those 39 books. And there is in some ways some correspondence to the 39 chapters.
That begin the Book of Isaiah. Well then, in the New Testament we have 27 books and.
4366 is 27 chapters, and so in the 27 books it is interesting how there is a a bit of a change of tone, not a different God, not a different message or anything like that, but but the overarching theme as you look at the New Testament is the grace of God and the mercy of God and the.
Salvation of God that is being extended to all of the world and so in chapters 4366 of Isaiah we get kind of some parallels that correspond with that. Now you don't want to take it too far and try to make every chapter match every book or anything like that. It's just kind of general, broad, broad.
Broad broad brush.
Strokes something like that.
Anyways, you get the point.
Just kind of general overview.
Looking at these things.
And so it's interesting to consider along with that in Isaiah Chapter 40.
So at the transition at the change the introduction into this new segment of Isaiah begins with.
The word comfort in verse chapter 40 verse one and then it transitions into the message that we hear from John the Baptist in verse three prepare the voice of 1 crying in the wilderness.
Prepare the way of the Lord makes St in the desert a highway for our God, and so you can kind of see again that transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
A little bit of a different tone that's happening and some things that God is addressing now.
There's some practical reasons for this as well, not just the pictures that are painted there for us of the scriptures that we have.
But the prophecies of the first part of the book, chapters one through 39, are primarily focused on the people of Isaiah generation and and they're facing the threat of Assyria.
We've been talking about this over the past few weeks as we've been looking at the the Book of Isaiah that the nation of Assyria has risen up to world power.
And is sweeping through the land and is threatening the nation of Judah.
And the people of Judah are desperate for help, and they're reaching out to all these different nations. And God has been in the 1st 39 chapters, rebuking the people, calling them back to trusting in him.
And so Isaiah.
He foretold a lot of things in those chapters, but he's speaking them to the people that are right in front of him.
He's speaking to his own generation, primarily in chapters one through 39.
But the leader chapters.
Changed the focus, and they're not primarily addressed to that specific generation of ICSD, but looking forward in the future addressing the those who are in captivity, those who are facing the threat of Babylon before the captivity and then on into the captivity, and after the captivity, the much of what I say is.
Sharing in chapter.
41 is a good example of that.
This evening is not for the immediate people, but for those who will read it later on. And it's God's word to them, and so he's prophesying about things that are to come, that people are going to be experiencing in a future generation. Meanwhile, the previous chapters, one through 39 were more focused on.
A generation his own generation.
The people who are right there with him, and so there's a shift in tone as a result of that practically as well as picturing for us the Scriptures and reminding us that we have the word of God, that he intended us to have.
We have the Bibles that he prepared for us and put together for us.
That we might know him and trust in.
Well again looking at Chapter 41 this evening, God calls all to recognize him as the one true God.
He'll address three groups, and so we have three points this evening to consider and to help us recognize God as the one true God point number one in verses one through 7.
Is God calls all nations to give account?
God calls all nations to give account.
Look at verse one, it says keep silence before me.
And let the people renew their strength.
Let them come near, then let them speak.
Let us come nearer together for judgment.
I apologize if my orange drink is distracting, I ran out.
Of water, so I had to.
Use my Costco.
The bubbly waters.
Keep silence before me.
God says oh coastlands, now as he's addressing the coastlands
Looking at this word used throughout the the prophecies of.
Yeah, this is an expression, a way to refer to the far off lands, and so it's a way to refer to all nations or all of the world.
And and what God is doing here is he's calling all of the nations together.
And he's saying, OK guys, you need to show up.
It's kind of like a summons to court.
You need to show up.
And prepare yourself to give account.
As you enter in he says keep silent.
Renew your strength.
And then let them speak and come together for judgment.
You're going to show up, and you're going to be overwhelmed by the presence of God and the person of God.
And so you you will be silent, you will be hushed.
But but then God is going to call each nation.
Each individual to give account.
And in this time of judgments, now, as God is addressing the nations, he is speaking generally, he's not talking about a specific judgment.
He's, you know, just speaking, generally, that he's calling all people all nations to give account for why they don't believe him.
Why they don't receive him?
Why they don't trust in him?
And so now he's going to ask some questions to challenge them, and you can kind of picture nations coming to stand before God and.
They don't have anything to say.
There's no good reason for them to explain away their unbelief.
And so God begins to ask questions in verse two who raised up one from the east.
And he's going to begin to ask them about someone that has been raised up from the east.
Now there's a little bit of discussion about who God might be referring to.
Some would say that this is referring to Abraham and the plan of God in Abraham's life. There are a lot of good Bible teachers that.
Would look at this and see it that way.
But also many look at this and understand that the Lord is referring here to Cyrus the King of the Medo Persian Empire.
And that is because later on in the chapter, he refers to something very similar that relates to Cyrus and then later on in Chapter 44, God.
Calls Cyrus by name and in Chapter 45 he calls Cyrus by name again, so who raised up one from the east?
I would suggest he's referring to Cyrus, King of Persia, who in righteousness called him to his feet, who gave the nations before him and made him rule over kings, who gave them as the dust to his sword as driven stubble to his bow, who pursued them and passed safely by in the way that.
He had not gone with his feet, so here God is describing this conquest.
This sweeping of the land of the world that takes place by Cyrus the King of Persia.
Now again, as I mentioned, the Lord is dealing with future things here in this passage in Isaiah Day, the world power of the day is Assyria, and that's the immediate threat to the nation of Judah and the city of Jerusalem.
But Assyria is going to pass off the scene when Babylon comes and conquers the nation.
And so, when Babylon conquers Assyria, then it's a whole new world power and and so there is a lot associated with that, and we are familiar with King Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel.
And we'll we'll get into those as well.
After the nation.
Of Babylon has ruled the world for a time.
Then comes another world empire, the Medo Persian Empire conquers.
Babylon, so if you.
Can kind of follow along, we're.
Dealing with the nation of Assyria, the world empire of Assyria.
Then we deal with the world Empire of Babylon, and then comes the Medo Persian Empire and the rising to power of the Medo Persian Empire is led by King Cyrus.
Now, again, King Cyrus is mentioned specifically by name in Isaiah Chapter 44, verse 28.
As well as Isaiah Chapter 45 verse one, and so you can see their God specifically calling him out. God specifically saying he is raising Cyrus up and he is giving him the territory he is enabling him to conquer the Babylonian Empire and the world at that time. Now what's so noteworthy about this?
And why it's significant that God is asking this question of the nations is that this takes place.
About 160 years after Isaiah's life and ministry.
So if you're considering the timeline here again Isaiah's ministry is happening at the time where Assyria is rising to power.
Assyria conquers the northern Kingdom, Israel and takes them captive, but the southern Kingdom, Judah, is unable to be conquered by Assyria later on, Babylon comes on the scene rises.
The power conquers the nation of Judah and Jerusalem takes all the inhabitants into captivity.
And they're in captivity for 70 years. It's that group of people. It's during that time that time of captivity that the Lord is talking about here in Isaiah Chapter 41.
It's during that time in captivity, 150 years after Isaiah's life that King Cyrus is raised up to power and begins his March.
Against Babylon and the world around.
The reason why this is significant is because it's so much leader.
After Isaiah life and after these prophecies were recorded, and so that's the point that God is making here, that's what he's calling out.
He's saying look who?
Is the one who called out Cyrus Beinin, who is the one who predicted this and declared what would take place.
Who's the one who gave him his power to accomplish this verse?
Four who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning.
I the Lord and the first.
And with the last I am he.
And so as God calls the nations to give account, he's saying essentially look, you guys, I have told you in advance the things that would take place.
I have laid out the future I have laid out in front of you things that you would be able to see and understand that I am.
The first and the last that I truly am the God who transcends time and space.
Face that, I am the creator of the heavens and the earth, and he's calling the nations to give account, because they have not believed, even though God has revealed himself in this way, prophetically improving himself in this way prophetically, time and time again, and we see throughout the scriptures.
Many similar prophecies where God has laid out in advance the things that are to come and he is in doing so, proven his position.
The fact that he is God, that he knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning because he says I am the first.
And with the last I am here.
Speaks of this as well in Revelation Chapter 22, applying it to himself.
He says in revelation 2212, behold, I am coming quickly. My reward is with me to give everyone according to his work.
I am the alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the 1st and the last, and it's one of the supporting truths about Jesus that helps us to understand.
That he is God and part of the triune nature of God.
He's not the father.
We're not trying to say there.
Jesus is the father, but the father and.
Isaiah 41 four says I am the 1st and with the last time he and the son in Revelation 22 says I am the alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the 1st and the last, that they are one God, triune different but hard for us to understand. But one God 3 distinct.
Persons of the Godhead.
Well, moving on to versus 5 through 7 it says the coastal coastlands saw it and feared the ends of the Earth were afraid they drew nearer and came.
Everyone helped his neighbor and said to his brother be of good courage so the Craftsman encouraged the Goldsmith.
He was smooth with the hammer, inspired him who strikes the anvil, saying it is ready for the soldering.
Then he fastened it with pegs that it might not taught her.
So picture the scene.
It's 150 years later.
Here comes the Middle Persian Empire.
And the nations are freaking out.
They are stressed because this king has risen to power.
He's conquering the territories.
He's conquering the lands.
And they're saying what are we gonna do?
Now got it.
Announce it in advance.
And it's really possible that it wasn't just limited to.
The Jewish people.
To understand this.
Because of course God can speak to all of the nations in a variety of ways.
See that throughout the scripture, but.
Believed tradition tells us we don't have this specifically recorded in the scripture, but when Cyrus finally did conquer the city of Babylon, that Daniel met him there in the streets and showed him.
These passages, in the Book of Isaiah, again naming him in Chapter 44 in Chapter 45 and showing him how God had prophesied of him and called him his servant and.
Also said that Cyrus would be the one who would release the Jewish people to return back to the promised land.
So the scriptures had been recorded. Isaiah's message had been recorded. It was in Babylon with Daniel. Maybe it wasn't the only copy.
You know that the idea here is that God is saying I said in advance, I told you in advance this would take place.
And when you actually saw it start to develop and unfold.
You didn't believe me.
You didn't let that be a testimony that, well, God said it.
We now believe him, you know, because he's proven it through his prophetic word.
They went to scrambling mode.
They were afraid, and they began to team up together, be of good courage.
We gotta fight this.
We gotta hold back and and the way that we're going to do that is, we're going to fashion.
Instead of turning to God.
They help each other and encourage each other to turn from God even further, and to make these idols for themselves.
And the picture there in verse seven is it's a little bit humorous.
The Craftsman encouraged the Goldsmith.
He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes with an anvil, saying it is ready for the soldering.
Then he fastened it with pegs that it might not taught her.
What are we going to do here?
Comes this enemy quick?
We need to make our gods and we need to make some gods to worship so that we can be strong and have protection against this attack.
And and these gods require all this.
Effort and this teamwork, and so there's multiple people involved.
The Craftsman and the Goldsmith.
And the one who works with the hammer and the one who works with the anvil, and then the one who fastens it with pegs there's.
There's these different people involved to fashion this God and try to set it up and make sure that it's not going.
Pastor David Guzik says Isaiah pours on the irony.
It took a lot of work to make a good God.
It took skilled workers.
It took organization and teamwork and if you don't do it right, your God might not even be able to stand up.
That's not the kind of God that you want.
And this is what God is saying as he calls the nations to give account.
Everything that you trusted in you had to put great effort into.
You had to manufacture yourself and try to pull in all these people in to try to make it happen.
Why didn't you recognize that I am the one true God?
Why didn't you realize I gave you prophecies in advance?
Every other option that you had was man made and unreliable and untrustworthy.
And even with the best craft craftsmanship, it would break down into key.
Why didn't you?
Recognize that I am got it and this is applicable of course to the nations of the day as the Babylonian or the the Middle Persian Empire rose to power.
But it's also applicable to every nation.
Every people, throughout all of history.
God will call to account and say why didn't you believe?
For those who did not believe he's gonna call to account, you had every opportunity to believe.
As Paul said in Romans chapter one through creation, God has declared himself and given everyone.
No excuse that we ought to know that he is God, and so he calls us to recognize him as the one true God. Moving on to verses 8 through 20, we get point #2
Let's check out verses 8-9 and 10. It says, but you Israel are my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen the descendants of Abraham my friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and called from its farthest regions.
And said to you, you are my servant.
I have chosen you, and have not cast you away.
Fear not, for I am with you.
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you.
Yes, I will help you.
I will uphold you.
With my righteous right hand.
Here point #2 is that God calls his people.
To fear not.
He started out talking to the nations, but now he addresses his own people, the nation of Israel.
The people of Judah.
And it's an entirely different message.
As he addresses his people, it's not hey, you need to stand up and give account hey be quiet OK now tell me why didn't you believe it's not that kind of address.
It's the kind of address that says hey guys.
You're my friends.
And I'm with you.
And I care for you, and I know things that are happening in the world right now are very scary.
But you don't need to fear.
And three times in these verses.
God tells his people to fear not.
In verse 10, he says, fear not.
For I am with you.
In verse 13, he says, fear not.
I will help you.
In verse 14, he says fear not you worm Jacob.
It's nicer than it sounds.
We'll get to that.
But three times he says, fear not.
Cyrus is coming.
There's another war, another empire is going to crumble.
But you don't need to fear now.
The people of Israel at this time are inside of Babylon.
That is under attack by the Middle Persian Empire, right?
You can imagine.
Being in a nation.
That is under attack there would be great.
That would rise.
Up in the hearts of the people.
And so although God is going to be very strong and stern with those who refuse to believe as he calls them to give account to his own people, he has a different tone.
And he says.
But you Israel in verse eight are my servants.
You guys are not those guys.
Now you can imagine the people of Judah, the people of Israel.
Maybe didn't have a good grasp.
Of that at this time, because there they are in captivity as a result of their rebellion against God.
And it would be very.
Easy for them to think that and feel that.
God has given up on them.
God is done with them.
And they're they're just on their own and get to experience whatever they experience.
But here God is seeking to reassure them and say, you guys, although you're in the midst of Babylon, you're not Babylon, you're not like Babylon.
You Israel are my servants.
You Israel are those who I have chosen.
And you are the descendants of Abraham my friend.
Abraham is called the friend of God.
A few times in the scriptures.
They had a real friendship, a real relationship.
The people of Israel are the descendants of Abraham.
God says you can trust and rest in this special relationship that we have.
You're my servant.
You're my chosen ones.
You're the kids.
Of my really good friend Abraham.
Now as we look at these things and we understand this message was for the people of Israel in the Babylonian captivity.
At the same time, we can't look and understand that God has this same kind of message for us because we are Abraham's children's Galatians, chapter 3, Paul.
Walks through this for us.
Galatians chapter 3 verse seven he says, therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Remember Abraham, God friend, those who are of faith.
Are the children of Abraham.
And that's why we're seeing Father Abraham have many sons, right?
It's those who believe in God, like Abraham did, that are children of Abraham.
Paul goes on to say, the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham.
Saying in you all the nations shall be blessed.
So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
And I think it's really important for us to be reminded.
Is pleased with those who believe like Abraham believed.
Abraham didn't have the whole plan of God in front of him, so he didn't know the gospel and the salvation message through Jesus Christ.
But he did believe.
God at his word, he did believe, and his faith was accounted to him as righteousness, just like we believe in our feet.
That's accounted to us as righteousness.
He he set the model for us in that relationship with God in that friendship with God.
And and maybe you need to be reminded of that this evening that.
The descendant of God friend.
Because you've believed in Jesus that you have this special place that God.
Relates to you like he would have related to Abraham.
He related to Abraham as if Abraham had never sinned because Abraham believed God, and when you and I believe God when we believe in Jesus Christ, it grants us this.
Special position as his people.
And it's important, especially when we're in the midst of a situation where there is reason for great fear.
And even in a situation where we are suffering the consequences for our own sinfulness.
God would remind us.
That doesn't mean that it's over. Check out verse 9 here of Isaiah 41. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and called from its farthest regions.
And said to you, you are my servant.
I have chosen you and have not.
Cast you away.
I mean, I just have to imagine if I was in their shoes, I would have felt castaway.
I would have been convinced easily.
That we were cast away as God people because we're there in captivity because of our own rebellion against God.
Like it only makes sense.
We rebelled against God to the point where he brought a nation against us to destroy us and delete us off into captivity.
God done with us. That's the only logical conclusion or explanation. But God's grace and mercy is not bound by our logic.
And he says, I want you to know I've chosen you, and I have not cast you away.
I'm not done with you.
You haven't reached the end of my patience, or my mercy, or my grace, or the opportunity for forgiveness.
And so he says in verse 10.
For I am with you.
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you.
Yes, I will help you.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
And so here this special message for the people of God.
Yes, there is a new empire rising to power.
Yes, there's going to be battles.
Yes, there's going to be conflict.
Yes, there's going to be defeat.
Yes, there's going to be struggles and turmoil within the nation, and a transition from one nation to another nation.
Yes, all of that is going to happen.
But fear not.
I'm with you.
The the water is going to get very stormy.
But like Jesus with the disciples in the boats, in the midst of the storm on the Sea of Galilee.
He would say I'm with you.
Yeah, it might be stormy.
The boat might rock.
There's going to be.
Wind and waves and reason.
That most should fear.
But listen, my people.
You don't need to fear.
'cause I'm with you.
And you don't need to be dismayed you don't need to be all freaked out and at the end of your rope, you know.
Just like on.
The verge of a.
Nervous breakdown because of this situation, I'm your God.
I'm going to be.
With you in the midst of this and.
The world is going to get crazy.
But you're going to be in my hand.
I will hold you with my righteous right hand.
I will strengthen you.
I'm gonna give you what you need and I'm with you so you don't need to fear anything that happens in the world around you.
I am your God.
Paul kind of picks up on this theme in Romans Chapter 8.
When he says, what shall we say to these things?
If God is for us.
Who can be against us?
If the Middle Persian Empire rises to power.
But God, for you, who cares?
Who can be the middle?
The whole empire can come against you, but if God is for you.
The whole Middle Persian Empire doesn't.
Measure up to God in even the slightest way.
If the whole world comes against you, if God is for you.
Doesn't matter who can be against you.
Paul goes on to say he did not spare his own son, but delivered him up for us all.
How shall he not with him also freely give?
Us all things.
There he's pointing out.
Look, you have practical needs in life.
You have situations that need resolving.
You have things that you've come up against and and think things that you need help in.
And if God.
's already given you the greatest gift and met your biggest need.
If he's shown that he loves you enough to expend that much, then.
Well, how is he not going to give us all those little things that we need?
Of course, that's no expense to God.
He's going to take care of us.
He's going to provide for us what is good.
And what is good for us?
And so there's great reason for us to take this message to heart like the children of Israel in the time of captivity.
As they're instructed by the Lord to fear, not because God is with them, we we also the descendants of Abraham by faith in Jesus Christ.
We have great reason to fear not.
Because God is for us.
And so empires can crumble.
And nations can be conquered.
I think that we've seen.
Many things less than nations be conquered and we have been greatly fearful and much dismayed, right?
Like we, we know what that's like.
But but listen, going back to the title of the message.
God calls all to recognize him as the one true God.
One of the ways.
That we recognize him as the one true God.
Is by fearing not.
When when we fear in opposition to what he has called us too, we have elevated something else to be equal to God or superior to God in our hearts and in our minds.
And and that is not recognizing who he really is.
That's not recognizing his real position.
Recognizing him as the one true God puts him above anything that we might fear.
So that we can say if God is for me who can be against me now when things are out of balance in our hearts, we can say, well, God's.
For me, but.
This situation is against me and and feel like they have the advantage.
This situation is so hard, so dire, so difficult.
And we've not.
Kept God in his rightful place.
We failed to recognize him as the one true God.
To recognize him as the true.
And living God the creator.
Of the heavens and the earth.
Who he really is.
Is to believe him at his word.
And to fear not now, that doesn't mean you never have feelings of fear.
But that you.
Don't live according to those feelings you live according to what God has said.
Moving on verses 11 through 13, he says, behold.
All those who are incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced.
They shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.
You shall seek them and not find them those who contend with you.
Those who war against you shall be as nothing as a non existent thing.
For I the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying to you fear not.
I will help you.
They're already experiencing conflicts.
There were people incensed against them.
But God says.
When I'm done.
They shall be as nothing.
Those who strive.
Against you, they're they're going to be dealt with.
Every enemy that you have, every enemy that has come against you.
There is nothing that comes against you that will stand.
It will all vanish.
It will be as nothing.
He says they shall be as nothing in verse 11 they shall be as nothing in verse 12.
And then to say it one more time, he says a non existent thing.
The greatest threat that you face, God tells us people.
The greatest enemies, the those who have brought the greatest harm that they've come against you fiercely and strongly.
But there is coming a time when I'm done.
Even if you tried to find them, you couldn't.
They're going to just vanish.
Even if you just want to stir up the bad memories and cry over again about how bad things were, those those will be gone.
The enemy will be vanquished in such a way to such a degree.
And God says, because I will hold your right hand.
I will help you.
Notice he is not saying you will never experience striving.
You will never have an enemy you will never be attacked.
He's not saying that he's saying at the end of that attack.
You're the one who's going to be standing.
And all of the enemies will be vanquished.
All of the enemies will perish.
Fear not, I will help you.
I'm gonna help you through it.
You're going to go through it, but you're not going to go through it alone.
I am with you and I will help you through it.
Verse 14 he says, fear not you worm Jacob, you men of Israel, I will help you, says the Lord and your Redeemer, the holy one of Israel.
Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth.
You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small and make the hills like chaff.
And the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them.
You shall rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the holy one of Israel.
The Lord is calling Jacob a worm, not as a.
Opportunity to go out of his way to insult the nation.
Of Israel or the people of Israel.
But it's the picture that got us painting here.
A picture of a worm versus a threshing sledge.
A worm is very hard to deal with with all of the protective armor that it has.
No, no, there's no protective armor, right?
You're walking down the sidewalk and you step on a worm.
You better hope you're wearing shoes so you don't get that squishy stuff between your toes, right?
Like there is just weakness when it comes to worms, but then a threshing sledge.
It's a whole different thing.
That was something that was a tool and instrument.
It was heavy that had sharp edges.
It could have been stone or wood and it was used to thresh the wheat, and so it's a contrast.
I got his painting here.
You feel like a worm, you're just weak and defenceless and you've got no teeth and you're just soft and squishy.
But God says I'm going to make.
You a threshing sledge.
I'm going to transform you.
And and you're not going to be just like the typical threshing sledge, which is just used to thresh wheat.
You're going to thrash mountains.
And beat them.
Small and hills are going to be like chaff.
God is saying.
Look, when I'm through with you, you are going to be radically transformed.
From weak and soft and squishy and vulnerable.
To a ferocious instrument.
For the work of God in Glory of God.
And even if you feel like a worm, even if you feel just weak and defenceless.
Again, God is saying I'm with you and I'm going to transform you.
If you're not.
You're my people, you're my friends.
The descendants of Abraham.
Verse 17, the poor and needy, seek water, but there is none their tongues fail for thirst.
I, the Lord, will hear them.
I the God of Israel.
Will not forsake them.
I will open rivers in desolate heights and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness.
A pool of water.
And the dry land springs of water I will plant in the wilderness, the cedar and Acacia tree, the Myrtle and all the oil tree.
I will set in the desert the Cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together.
He paints another picture for us.
Poor and needy people desperate for water.
They're thirsty, their tongues fail for thirst.
But God says.
I will hear them now.
What does that imply?
They're calling out to the Lord.
'cause they're his people.
And he hasn't cast them off.
And God says I'm going to hear you.
You're in the desert, you're all dried out because of your own sinfulness.
But as you call out to me, guess what I'm gonna hear you.
I haven't given up on you.
I'm not forsaking you.
And So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to open up rivers where there's no rivers.
And fountains where there's no fountains and I'm going to turn that wilderness into.
A pool of water.
All that dryness is going to be changed.
And I'm going to plant trees.
Vegetation provide everything that you need.
I'm going to.
Take care of you.
So again, he's instructing his people to fear not.
You have a need for defence.
I got you.
You have a need for water.
I'm with you.
I'll take care of you.
Verse 20 that they may see and know and consider and understand together.
That the hand of the Lord has done this, and the holy one of Israel has created it.
God's intention through all of this.
So that his people see and know.
That they would consider, meditate on, wrestle with, and think about together.
God has done this.
God wants to work in their lives so miraculously so dramatically.
That his own people are amazed.
At the work that God has done and testify.
God has done this.
Only God could do this.
God calls his people to fear not.
As he promises.
To protect them to be with them, to provide for them.
They can rest and trust in him completely.
The work that he's going to do is going to cause them to marvel.
For generations to come.
Reminds me of.
Ephesians chapter 2.
Where God kind of describes for us or Paul kind of describes for us this picture of us being like trophies of grace, that in the ages to come.
We might see the exceeding riches of God's grace towards us in Christ Jesus.
That we're gonna consider it together.
We're going to walk down the.
Halls of the trophy room in heaven and see.
Ourselves and each other, the trophies of grace and Marvel, and consider and understand.
Wow the work that God has done.
The things that he has done for those who are his children, for those who have believed in Jesus.
God calls his people to fear not.
He's got such an incredible work.
Planned for each one of us.
And for those who have received the Lord, he's not cast us off.
Even in the midst.
Of suffering consequences and penalty for our own rebellion and foolishness.
God did not cast us off.
Recognize him as the one true God.
He's still on the throne.
He's got the reins.
He's driving the vehicle where it needs to go, getting you to the destination where you need to be, which is in his presence in glory, having been transformed, made strong, provided for and taken care of.
All along the way.
Well, the final verses, verses 21 through 29 give us point #3 and that is that God calls false gods to do anything.
God calls false gods to do anything. Now I don't know if it bugs you that the G in God's is lower case.
It kind of bugs me, but then it also bugs me to capitalize false gods, so I lower case it.
But then I get bothered 'cause it's not all capitalized like the rest, but I can't capitalize it 'cause they're false gods so.
Such a dilemma.
But God's got it under control. Verse 21 present. Your case says the Lord bring forth your strong reason, says the King of Jacob.
Let them bring forth and show us what will happen.
Let them show the former things, what they were.
That we may consider them and know the latter end of them, or declare to us.
Things to come.
Show the things that are to come here.
After that, we may know that you are gods.
Yes, do good or do evil.
That we may be dismayed and see it together.
God started the chapter addressing the nations.
Calling them to give account.
Then he addressed his people in the midst of the nations, experiencing all of the turmoil and conflict that happens in the world.
But he encourages them and calls them to fear.
God addresses all of the idols, the false gods.
All of the other things that people look to in worship instead of recognizing him as the one true God.
And so he calls all of these false gods.
To present their case.
The giving of strong reasons let's let's hear the best arguments.
For not recognizing God as the true and living God.
Let's let's hear the best arguments for worshiping these other gods for pursuing these other lifestyles, for you know, chasing down these paths.
That people have set before them.
And what God calls them to do in order to prove the validity of the worship that they're receiving.
Is for them to do something do?
Something do anything.
Tell us the future.
Or tell us the past.
I mean, that's.
A lot easier, perhaps, than telling the future.
Tell us the past.
Let them show the former things, what they.
Were verse $0.22.
Bring forth something substantial, something noteworthy about what has been or or tell us what's going.
To happen in.
The latter end declare to us the things that are to come.
That will be the way that you can prove.
That you are worthy of worship and adoration and attention and focus.
People in humanity.
He's challenging the gods, essentially to a duel.
This is like I'm telling you the future.
I'm telling you about King Cyrus who's gonna come?
And so all of you false gods.
Try to rise up to my level of play.
Can you tell the future?
Can you even tell the past?
Can you do anything in verse 23? He says yes. Do good or do evil, just do something, do anything.
Let there be any kind of action.
Will there any be any kind of?
Evidence or proof?
That we may be dismayed, God says now again.
He is really pouring on the irony here, right?
There's some satire going on.
Like God would ever be dismayed, but.
But that's the picture here is like do something freak people out.
But false gods.
Cannot they're powerless?
God's eyes I'm waiting.
Show me show me something that makes it worthwhile for all of these people to worship you.
Thinking about this, it reminded me of this scene from one of my favorite movies, The Incredibles.
Mr Incredible is getting out of his car and there's that little kid on the tricycle.
Just like watching what are you waiting for?
I don't know something amazing I guess.
That's what God saying.
I'm waiting for something amazing.
Show me something now.
Pulling this back to us.
God could be saying to us show me something.
That justifies your pursuit.
Of that path, show me something that that justifies your attention and focus and devotion on that thing.
Show me something.
Does that provide the future?
Does it declare the future?
Does it bring salvation?
Why are you so devoted to it?
Why are you so consumed by it?
Why are you so immersed in that?
We just like the nation of Israel back in Isaiah.
's day and.
The people that.
He's addressing here we we can be immersed.
In and fall into idolatry.
As we place our hope and trust.
In things apart from God, as we give our attention and devotion to things other than God.
And we can base our whole life and rest our whole life on things and spend 80 years chasing down something that has no value and ends up being worthless.
It's the pursuit of a false God. Verse 24, he says, indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing. He who chooses you is an abomination.
False idols, false gods.
False morals false.
They sound good.
They look good, they're very persuasive and and convincing as we hear the world around around us.
You know, talk about them and promote them and tell all the benefits of them.
But when we buy into those things.
We fail to recognize.
Who is the true and living God?
And we when we give what belongs to God of our hearts, and of our minds, of our focus, of our energy of our time, when we give those that belong to God to those other things, we are failing to recognize him as the one true God.
And we're investing ourselves in things that are nothing.
And it's a choice, he says. In verse 24. He who.
Chooses you as an abomination.
When we choose to grasp hold.
Of these false gods.
Bring judgments upon ourselves.
Those gods cannot help.
They cannot save.
Those philosophies, those ideas, those pursuits they cannot satisfy. We just bring destruction upon ourselves. Now God provides the contrast. In verse 25 he says I have raised up one from the north.
And he shall come from the rising of the sun.
He shall call in my name.
And he shall come against princes, as though mortar.
As the Potter treads Clay.
Who has declared from the beginning that we may know and former times that we may say he is righteous?
Surely there is no one who shows.
Surely there is no one who declares.
Surely there is no one who hears your words.
The first time I said to Zion look there they are and I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings.
Giving these false gods an opportunity to show something to do anything.
The only response is crickets.
God says if you choose that you're an abomination.
But in contrast, listen, I've spoken.
The future I've revealed it.
I've brought forth these things.
I've proven time and time again.
That I am the true and living God.
And there is no other verse 28.
For I looked.
And there was no man.
I looked among them.
But there was no counselor.
Who when I asked of them could answer a word?
Indeed, they are all.
Worthless, their works are nothing.
Their molded images are wind and confusion.
I've looked around, there is no other gods.
There's no person who can give me counsel.
I, I mean, I think the reality is we all try to give God.
Counsel, right, but.
He's never benefited from anybody.
Nobody ever brought to God, an idea, thought that he's never considered or known before.
Nothing new and novel.
Nothing more righteous or good that we have suggested to God.
There is no counselor.
There is none who can answer a word better.
Than what God already has and what God already knows.
There is no other God.
To provide such wisdom to provide such insight.
God says I'm the only one.
And so he challenges.
All of the false gods.
Do something, do anything, prove yourself, but they can't.
And so once again, God says, well, I'll prove it, I am God.
I am the true and living God.
And the reality is, as we consider these things here in Isaiah.
Chapter 41 is that.
We will all stand before God to give account.
And there is 1000 things that we can pursue.
That are false gods.
That are idolatrous. That take us away from God that divert our attention and focus away from God. There's 1000 paths for us to choose in life.
That keep us from where God is calling us to.
But those things result in nothing and end up in abomination.
But the alternative?
Is for us to recognize him as the one true God?
To look to him to believe him, to trust him, to obey him.
And when we do, when we give God that rightful place in our life.
And our lives are submitted to him and our goals, and our dreams are subjected to what he says and what he desires.
When our actions and behavior and thoughts and attitudes are subjected to his word and what he defines for us as right behavior for his people with when we are submitted to God and friends with God, it's kind of interesting thing.
What kind of friend?
Remember, Jesus told his disciples you're my friends.
If you do what I say like that's like, uh, I I'm thinking of like a 2 year old friendship, right?
Like you're only my friend.
If you do everything I say moment you're unpleasant then I'm not your friend anymore like that's not real friendship between us, right?
But we have a friendship and friendship is based on a recognition of who the other person is and the value that they have and their rightful place.
And listen, if I don't esteem Harvey appropriately, I'm not his friend.
If I think little of him and say Harvey, you're a worm, then.
We're not friends.
Right to be friends with God.
We get that opportunity to be friends with God, but it's not a diminishing where God is now equal to us.
We can't be friends with God without recognizing who he is in his place, and that is also I'm your slave God, I'm your friend, but I'm also your slave and you're the master and you call the shots.
And I must do what you do, and I'm living to bring glory and honor to you.
You're the master.
And I'm your friend.
To recognize him as the one true God.
Gives us the opportunity then to fear not.
To be his friend.
To receive all the benefits of what he's promised to us.
And then we get the opportunity.
To not fear, no matter what happens to us, no matter what happens in this life, no matter what nations rise to power, no matter what nations crumble, no matter what tragedies there are or craziness there is.
Or what dismaying thing is causing everybody around us to freak out.
When we recognize him as the one true God.
Then we get the opportunity to fear not.
And when we fear instead of fear not.
It's an opportunity to check out the other two points.
Am I going to have to give account?
'cause God told me he revealed himself and I just refused to believe it and I've held onto and chased down and grasped hold of false gods.
Who profit me nothing and leave me as an abomination?
That's not where I want to be.
I want God.
To be in a rightful place.
In my heart and mind.
I want to fear not.
Let's pray, Lord, we ask that you would help us, but if there's any area of our lives.
Where we especially need to hear and consider and evaluate these things.
Any area Lord where you are not on the throne where we are not submitted to you and surrendered to you.
God, I pray that you would help us to identify that to recognize it.
Lord, that we might repent.
And surrender our lives to you completely and wholly once again.
But would you?
Reveal yourself to us.
You did that through the prophetic word, and the utterance of things that were to come.
Would you also do that in our lives and in our hearts personally?
Would you remind us that you truly are God?
I prayed this week that you would provide some of those reminders.
Some confirmations God that you really are God.
You do know what's going on.
You are on the throne.
You're able to see the end from the beginning, and you know all of the details.
And you promised through the midst of it to be with us, to strengthen us, to help us to transform us.
And so you call us to fear not.
Help us load to do that.
To respond to you.
Your revelations, your confirmations, your declarations, and your promises.
Help us to trust in you completely.
Because we recognize who you truly are.
We pray this in Jesus name.