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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 44

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-28

Chapter 44

Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 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, Jeshurun ( Isaiah 44:1-2 ),

Now Jeshurun means upright.

whom I have chosen. 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: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. 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 ( Isaiah 44:2-5 ).

God speaks of a real revival among the young Israelis, among the young people. As they begin to claim, "I am the Lord's and my name is Jacob." And another will say, "My name is Israel."

Thus saith Yahweh the King of Israel, and his Redeemer Yahweh of hosts ( Isaiah 44:6 );

The Father and the Son.

I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. 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 show unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have I not 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. Now they that make graven images it's all such emptiness; and their delectable things, they shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all of 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. The smith with his tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, he works on it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength fails: he drinks no water, and is faint. The carpenter stretches out his ruler; he marks it out with a line; he fits it with planes, and he marks it out with the compass, and then he makes it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house ( Isaiah 44:6-13 ).

And so he's talking about these people making their gods, making their gods in the form of men. Some of them making them of molten gods out of the metals and others making gods with wood, carving them to look like a man so that they can set it up in their houses.

In recent archaeological diggings, on the hill of Ophel, which was the city of David which is above the springs of Gihon there in Jerusalem, they have recently uncovered houses that were destroyed by the Babylonian army under Nebuchadnezzar. And as they have uncovered these houses there on the hill of Ophel, they have found multitudes of graven images that the children of Israel had made. Some of them of iron, some of them of other types of metal, some of them, of course, of wood. And they have found multitudes of these graven images in the homes of the people. Which, of course, just brings to life this prophecy of Isaiah as he is speaking out against these very things. Talking about how the carpenter will take his ruler, measure the thing out, take his compass and make a circle. And then the plane and carve the thing out and make it look like a man. But here's the inconsistency. Here's the stupidity of the whole thing.

He cuts down the cedars, he takes the cypress and the oak, which he strengthens for himself among the trees of the forest: he plants an ash, and the rain nourishes it. Then it shall be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and bake bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burns part of the tree in the fire; with part of it he heats his oven to bake his bread; and with part of it he makes his god ( Isaiah 44:14-17 ).

All of the same piece of wood. They take a tree. You cut it down. And you take part of the tree and you carve your little god out of it. But you take the rest of the tree and you burn it in your fire and you warm yourself. You say, "Aha, I've seen the light, you know." And part of it you break your bread and part of it you bow down and worship and you say, "Oh, you're my god." How totally illogical and inconsistent. And God points this up how foolish man is when he seeks to create his own god, when he makes his own god like himself. So he burns part of it in the fire, verses Isaiah 44:16 . With part he eats his flesh, he roasts his meat and he's satisfied. He warms himself and he says, "Aha, I'm warm. I've seen the fire."

And the rest of it he makes a god out of it, even a little graven image: they fall down unto it, and he worships it, and prays unto it, and says, Deliver me; for you are my god ( Isaiah 44:17 ).

Oh, how foolish!

They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; their hearts, that they cannot understand ( Isaiah 44:18 ).

Tragic when a person has gone so far in his rebellion against God that God just allows him the blindness of his own folly. Shuts his eyes that he cannot see. Therefore, Jesus said, as Isaiah the prophet spake of them declaring, "Therefore they could not believe." It is possible for a person to reject the Lord so much that he'll come to a place in his life where he cannot believe. In John's gospel John 12:38 ,it doesn't say, "Therefore, they would not believe." It says, "Therefore they could not believe, as Isaiah the prophet said, 'Having eyes to see they cannot see; ears to hear, they cannot hear.' Therefore they could not believe" ( John 12:39-40 ).

There is a time, we know not when, a line, we know not where, that marks the destiny of man twixt sorrow and despair. There is a line, though by men unseen, once it has been crossed even God himself and all of His love has sworn that all is lost. It's possible for a man to go over that point of no return. Where God gives him up to his own blindness and his own folly. Turns him over to his own folly and allows him to go. And they cannot believe. Very tragic condition indeed. That they cannot understand. Not, it's no longer will not, they cannot.

And none considers in his heart, neither is there any knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of this in the fire; and I have also baked my bread on the coals; and I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the rest of it an abomination? and fall down to the stock of a tree? ( Isaiah 44:19 )

Now nature does reveal God to man. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the earth shows His handiwork. And day unto day they utter their speech, night unto night their voice goes forth. And there is not a speech nor a language, where their voice is not heard" ( Psalms 19:1-3 ). But there is an illogical way of observing nature and there is a logical way of observing nature. There is a logical way of looking at a tree. Admiring the blossoms, enjoying the beauty. Admiring the capacities of reproduction that are there in the tree. The seed that develops. It falls into the ground; the new tree that forms. The way the seeds are propagated by little fins of propellers or by hooks or whatever, as a tree is capable of propagating itself. And to look at all of these processes and say, "Oh my, that's God." No, no, that isn't God. That tree isn't God. That's stupid.

The logical way to look at the tree is to see it, to admire it, to enjoy its beauty, and to say, "That is a part of God's handiwork. That's a creation of God." And to worship the God who created the tree rather than to worship the tree. But many people get hung up at the tree. And they never get beyond the tree. And so Paul says, "Who worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever more" ( Romans 1:25 ). And this is a common mistake that men often make. They get bound up in the creation and they worship the creation rather than the Creator. But the creation was always intended to point us to the Creator. But men get hung up here on the material level and they worship and serve the creature more than the Creator. And yet God says, "They don't have any understanding." Part of this tree I've warmed myself with in the fireplace. Part of it I roasted my meat. Part of it I baked my bread. And the rest I'm falling down and worshipping saying, "You're my God, deliver me." "Shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?"

He feeds on the 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? 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. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. 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. 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 spreads abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and makes diviners mad; that turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish ( Isaiah 44:20-25 );

All you have to do is read the scientific textbooks of the first of this, scientific textbooks of 1890. And the knowledge of men in those days and you read it today. Did you know that when bathtubs were first introduced in the United States that they were outlawed by many of the cities? And doctors were predicting all kinds of dire consequences if a person bathed every day. And because of the tremendous danger, the health hazard the bathtubs posed, many cities and all outlawed bathtubs in the beginning. Because the doctors were warning of the dangers of taking baths too often. Oh, yes. As Paul said, "Professing themselves to be wise, they've become fools" ( Romans 1:22 ). Any time a man leaves God out of his life or out of his consideration, that man has become a fool. The Bible says, "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God'" ( Psalms 14:1 ). "I am the God who turns wise men backward and makes their knowledge foolish." The knowledge of man.

That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performs the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, You shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus ( Isaiah 44:26-28 ),

"Now I'm the Lord, I'm the One." And now He is naming a man a hundred and fifty years before this man is born. So now God gets really specific. He said,

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 ( Isaiah 44:28 ) "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 44". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/isaiah-44.html. 2014.
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