God’s Saving Word: Encouragement
Isaiah 44:1-20: The LORD God is God alone who is our creator and source of help. Idolatry is ridiculed, and idols made of metal and wood are cited as examples.
The Lord Is the Only God
44 The Lord says,
“Listen now, Israel, my servant,
my chosen people, the descendants of Jacob.
2 I am the Lord who created you;
from the time you were born, I have helped you.
Do not be afraid; you are my servant,
my chosen people whom I love.
3 “I will give water to the thirsty land
and make streams flow on the dry ground.
I will pour out my spirit on your children
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They will thrive like well-watered grass,
like willows by streams of running water.
5 “One by one, people will say, ‘I am the Lord’s.’
They will come to join the people of Israel.
They each will mark the name of the Lord on their arms
and call themselves one of God’s people.”
6 The Lord, who rules and protects Israel,
the Lord Almighty, has this to say:
“I am the first, the last, the only God;
there is no other god but me.
7 Could anyone else have done what I did?
Who could have predicted all that would happen
from the very beginning to the end of time?
8 Do not be afraid, my people!
You know that from ancient times until now
I have predicted all that would happen,
and you are my witnesses.
Is there any other god?
Is there some powerful god I never heard of?”
Idolatry Is Ridiculed
9 All those who make idols are worthless, and the gods they prize so highly are useless. Those who worship these gods are blind and ignorant—and they will be disgraced. 10 It does no good to make a metal image to worship as a god! 11 Everyone who worships it will be humiliated. The people who make idols are human beings and nothing more. Let them come and stand trial—they will be terrified and will suffer disgrace.
12 The metalworker takes a piece of metal and works with it over a fire. His strong arm swings a hammer to pound the metal into shape. As he works, he gets hungry, thirsty, and tired.
13 The carpenter measures the wood. He outlines a figure with chalk, carves it out with his tools, and makes it in the form of a man, a handsome human figure, to be placed in his house. 14 He might cut down cedars to use, or choose oak or cypress wood from the forest. Or he might plant a laurel tree and wait for the rain to make it grow. 15 A person uses part of a tree for fuel and part of it for making an idol. With one part he builds a fire to warm himself and bake bread; with the other part he makes a god and worships it. 16 With some of the wood he makes a fire; he roasts meat, eats it, and is satisfied. He warms himself and says, “How nice and warm! What a beautiful fire!” 17 The rest of the wood he makes into an idol, and then he bows down and worships it. He prays to it and says, “You are my god—save me!”
18 Such people are too stupid to know what they are doing. They close their eyes and their minds to the truth. 19 The maker of idols hasn’t the wit or the sense to say, “Some of the wood I burned up. I baked some bread on the coals, and I roasted meat and ate it. And the rest of the wood I made into an idol. Here I am bowing down to a block of wood!”
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 44:6
The LORD, who rules and protects Israel, the LORD Almighty, has this to say: “I am the first, the last, the only God; there is no other god but me.”
What verses speak of God’s love? What verses speak of the ways God promises to bless the people? Reread verses 9-20. How is God compared to idols made of metal or wood? How is idolatry ridiculed? According to verse 11, what is the fate of those who worship idols? What might be some examples of the ways people practice idol worship today?
Holy God, there is no other God but you, and I worship you alone. You are my creator and source of help and strength. Keep me close to you day by day, and I praise your holy name. Amen.
Isaiah 51:1-16: The prophet Isaiah offers words of comfort to Jerusalem.