Isaiah chapter 41

The LORD God challenges the nations. He sovereignly protects Israel. He knows the future.

 


 

THE LORD CHALLENGES THE NATIONS

 

VERSE 1. “Keep silent before me, islands, and let the peoples renew their strength. Let them come near, then let them speak. Let’s meet together for judgment.

Let’s meet together. The LORD is not inviting them to a negotiation.

 

VERSE 2. Who has raised up one from the east? Who called him to his foot in righteousness? He hands over nations to him and makes him rule over kings. He gives them like the dust to his sword, like the driven stubble to his bow.

the sword. In the Bible, the word “sword” can often be taken as a euphemism for “the Bible.” Here are the verses about this »

 

VERSE 3. He pursues them and passes by safely, even by a way that he had not gone with his feet.

 

VERSE 4. Who has worked and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last, I am he.”

NASB translation. “Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.'”

Exodus 3:14. God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

I AM. This is a title of the Divine:

Isaiah 41:4. “Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.’”

John 8:58. Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM.”

the first, and with the last. Jesus Christ calls himself the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega. Here are the verses about this »

 

I am he. That is, “I alone am he.” This is a very definitive statement.

 

VERSE 5. The islands have seen, and fear. The ends of the earth tremble. They approach, and come.

 

VERSE 6. Everyone helps his neighbor. They say to their brothers, “Be strong!”

They say. That is, the idol-makers. They conspire together to make that a forbidden thing: idols.

 

VERSE 7. So the carpenter encourages the goldsmith. He who smoothes with the hammer encourages him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, “It is good;” and he fastens it with nails, that it might not totter.

that it might not totter. This reads like its meant to be an insult. But in an ironic way, it is also funny! See verse 23 below.

 

THE LORD SOVEREIGNLY PROTECTS ISRAEL

 

VERSE 8. “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham my friend,

Abraham my friend. Abraham was a friend of God. Our relationship with God is meant to be a friendship.

 

VERSE 9. You whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from its corners, and said to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away.’

NLT translation. I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.

called you back from the ends of the earth. God is always regathering his people, like a shepherd diligently searching for the lost sheep.

will not throw you away. To God, we are not “disposable.” We count. We are a part of his family, and he will not toss us out.

However, many Christians feel very insecure in their relationship with God. They feel they must “earn” their place at the table. They feel they will be thrown out at any moment.

 

VERSE 10. Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.

KJV translation. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Isaiah and from the entire Bible.

Don’t you be afraid. Fear is a natural emotion. We can’t turn it off. Most people are held back by fear. But the Bible says “Do not be afraid.” That means to move forward anyway. Read more »

 

VERSE 11. Behold, all those who are incensed against you will be disappointed and confounded. Those who strive with you will be like nothing, and shall perish.

BBE translation. Truly, all those who are angry with you will be made low and put to shame: those desiring to do you wrong will come to nothing and never again be seen.

will come to nothing and never again be seen. Eventually, there will be severe consequences for those who oppose God’s people. God takes care of his people.

 

VERSE 12. You will seek them, and won’t find them, even those who contend with you. Those who war against you will be as nothing, as a non-existent thing.

 

VERSE 13. For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will help you.’

Don’t be afraid. The Bible often says this.

I will help you. The LORD God is willing to help us.

 

VERSE 14. Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel. I will help you,” says the LORD. “Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

Redeemer. The Hebrew word is “goel.” It means one who frees another from slavery and avenges his or her sufferings.

 

VERSE 15. Behold, I have made you into a new sharp threshing instrument with teeth. You will thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and will make the hills like chaff.

NIV 1984 translation. See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Isaiah and from the entire Bible.

sledge. A sledge is an agricultural machine. It scrapes off the high points and fills in the low places. It is not an implement for reaping.

The Bible speaks of a some individuals having a ministry like a sledge. They break things up. They bring down mountains and level the low places. They prepare the way. John the Baptist was a “sledge” for Jesus Christ. John got people ready for Christ.

How might God use you as a “sledge” in the lives of others?

 

VERSE 16. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, and the whirlwind will scatter them. You will rejoice in the LORD. You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.

You. God choses them be the agents of their own deliverance.

the wind. That is, whirlwind.

Hosea 8:7a. For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. (KJV)

 

VERSE 17. The poor and needy seek water, and there is none. Their tongue fails for thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

BBE translation. The poor and crushed are looking for water where no water is, and their tongue is dry for need of it: I the Lord will give ear to their prayer, I the God of Israel will not give them up.

I … will not give them up. God does not give up on us!

 

VERSE 18. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and springs in the middle of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

open rivers … springs. The LORD God miraculously surrounds these desert people with abundant sources of fresh water. He changes the desert into a marshland.

water. In the Bible, the word “water” is often a euphemism for the Holy Spirit.

 

VERSE 19. I will put cedar, acacia, myrtle, and oil trees in the wilderness. I will set cypress trees, pine, and box trees together in the desert;

cedar, acacia, myrtle. A variety of trees are being planted in the desert.

 

VERSE 20. that they may see, know, consider, and understand together, that the LORD’s hand has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

the LORD’s hand has done this. This is not a human achievement. It is clear that the hand of the LORD has brought this about.

 

THE LORD KNOWS THE FUTURE

 

VERSE 21. Produce your cause,” says the LORD. “Bring out your strong reasons!” says the King of Jacob.

 

VERSE 22. “Let them announce and declare to us what will happen! Declare the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or show us things to come.

 

VERSE 23. Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods. Yes, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and see it together.

NLT translation. Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything–good or bad!

do anything–good or bad! Like verse 7 above, this also reads like it is meant to be an insult. But in an ironic way, it is also funny!

 

VERSE 24. Behold, you are nothing, and your work is nothing. He who chooses you is an abomination.

 

VERSE 25. “I have raised up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, one who calls on my name, and he shall come on rulers as on mortar, and as the potter treads clay.

I have raised up one from the north. This probably refers to Cyrus.

 

VERSE 26. Who has declared it from the beginning, that we may know? and before, that we may say, ‘He is right?’ Surely, there is no one who declares. Surely, there is no one who shows. Surely, there is no one who hears your words.

 

VERSE 27. I am the first to say to Zion, ‘Behold, look at them;’ and I will give one who brings good news to Jerusalem.

 

VERSE 28. When I look, there is no man, even among them there is no counselor who, when I ask of them, can answer a word.

 

VERSE 29. Behold, all of their deeds are vanity and nothing. Their molten images are wind and confusion.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.