My words will be italicized wherever they appear. Should the Bible be italicized near my words, I’ll do something to differentiate them.
Proud to Be Called Israel
1-5 “But for now, dear servant Jacob, listen—
yes, you, Israel, my personal choice.
God who made you has something to say to you;
the God who formed you in the womb wants to help you.
Don’t be afraid, dear servant Jacob,
Jeshurun, the one I chose.
For I will pour water on the thirsty ground
and send streams coursing through the parched earth.
I will pour my Spirit into your descendants
and my blessing on your children.
They shall sprout like grass on the prairie,
like willows alongside creeks.
This one will say, ‘I am God’s,’
and another will go by the name Jacob;
That one will write on his hand ‘God’s property’—
and be proud to be called Israel.”
Personal choice. He is reminding them of the promise he made Abraham in Genesis 12:2 and repeated throughout Genesis. He is also giving them hope once again despite what os coming to them. This sounds like a prophesy of the Holy Ghost, the comforter talked about in the gospels, and Acts. Especially Acts 2.
6-8 God, King of Israel,
your Redeemer, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says:
“I’m first, I’m last, and everything in between.
I’m the only God there is.
Who compares with me?
Speak up. See if you measure up.
From the beginning, who else has always announced what’s coming?
So what is coming next? Anybody want to venture a try?
Don’t be afraid, and don’t worry:
Haven’t I always kept you informed, told you what was going on?
You’re my eyewitnesses:
Have you ever come across a God, a real God, other than me?
There’s no Rock like me that I know of.”
Flex on em then. Lol.
Lover of Emptiness
9-11 All those who make no-god idols don’t amount to a thing, and what they work so hard at making is nothing. Their little puppet-gods see nothing and know nothing—they’re total embarrassments! Who would bother making gods that can’t do anything, that can’t “god”? Watch all the no-god worshipers hide their faces in shame. Watch the no-god makers slink off humiliated when their idols fail them. Get them out here in the open. Make them face God-reality.
That can’t “god”. Ha.
12 The blacksmith makes his no-god, works it over in his forge, hammering it on his anvil—such hard work! He works away, fatigued with hunger and thirst.
13-17 The woodworker draws up plans for his no-god, traces it on a block of wood. He shapes it with chisels and planes into human shape—a beautiful woman, a handsome man, ready to be placed in a chapel. He first cuts down a cedar, or maybe picks out a pine or oak, and lets it grow strong in the forest, nourished by the rain. Then it can serve a double purpose: Part he uses as firewood for keeping warm and baking bread; from the other part he makes a god that he worships—carves it into a god shape and prays before it. With half he makes a fire to warm himself and barbecue his supper. He eats his fill and sits back satisfied with his stomach full and his feet warmed by the fire: “Ah, this is the life.” And he still has half left for a god, made to his personal design—a handy, convenient no-god to worship whenever so inclined. Whenever the need strikes him he prays to it, “Save me. You’re my god.”
18-19 Pretty stupid, wouldn’t you say? Don’t they have eyes in their heads? Are their brains working at all? Doesn’t it occur to them to say, “Half of this tree I used for firewood: I baked bread, roasted meat, and enjoyed a good meal. And now I’ve used the rest to make a repulsive no-god. Here I am praying to a stick of wood!”
20 This lover of emptiness, of nothing, is so out of touch with reality, so far gone, that he can’t even look at what he’s doing, can’t even look at the no-god stick of wood in his hand and say, “This is crazy.”
I mean. Such are some of us…and we actually think it’s God we are serving and worshipping. We have created a God who isn’t even the God of the Bible.
21-22 “Remember these things, O Jacob.
Take it seriously, Israel, that you’re my servant.
I made you, shaped you: You’re my servant.
O Israel, I’ll never forget you.
I’ve wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings.
There’s nothing left of your sins.
Come back to me, come back.
I’ve redeemed you.”
23 High heavens, sing!
God has done it.
Deep earth, shout!
And you mountains, sing!
A forest choir of oaks and pines and cedars!
God has redeemed Jacob.
God’s glory is on display in Israel.
24 God, your Redeemer,
who shaped your life in your mother’s womb, says:
“I am God. I made all that is.
With no help from you I spread out the skies
and laid out the earth.”
25-28 He makes the magicians look ridiculous
and turns fortunetellers into jokes.
He makes the experts look trivial
and their latest knowledge look silly.
But he backs the word of his servant
and confirms the counsel of his messengers.
He says to Jerusalem, “Be inhabited,”
and to the cities of Judah, “Be rebuilt,”
and to the ruins, “I raise you up.”
He says to Ocean, “Dry up.
I’m drying up your rivers.”
He says to Cyrus, “My shepherd—
everything I want, you’ll do it.”
He says to Jerusalem, “Be built,”
and to the Temple, “Be established.”
The God Who Forms Light and Darkness
1-7 God’s Message to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whom he took by the hand
To give the task of taming the nations,
of terrifying their kings—
He gave him free rein,
“I’ll go ahead of you,
clearing and paving the road.
I’ll break down bronze city gates,
smash padlocks, kick down barred entrances.
I’ll lead you to buried treasures,
secret caches of valuables—
Confirmations that it is, in fact, I, God,
the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
It’s because of my dear servant Jacob,
Israel my chosen,
That I’ve singled you out, called you by name,
and given you this privileged work.
And you don’t even know me!
I am God, the only God there is.
Besides me there are no real gods.
I’m the one who armed you for this work,
though you don’t even know me,
So that everyone, from east to west, will know
that I have no god-rivals.
I am God, the only God there is.
I form light and create darkness,
I make harmonies and create discords.
I, God, do all these things.
The grace, mercy, and love of it all.
8-10 “Open up, heavens, and rain.
Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!
Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation;
sprout right living.
I, God, generate all this.
But doom to you who fight your Maker—
you’re a pot at odds with the potter!
Does clay talk back to the potter:
‘What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!’
Would a sperm say to a father,
‘Who gave you permission to use me to make a baby?’
Or a fetus to a mother,
‘Why have you cooped me up in this belly?’”
Hahahahaha. The last six lines.
11-13 Thus God, The Holy of Israel, Israel’s Maker, says:
“Do you question who or what I’m making?
Are you telling me what I can or cannot do?
I made earth,
and I created man and woman to live on it.
I handcrafted the skies
and direct all the constellations in their turnings.
And now I’ve got Cyrus on the move.
I’ve rolled out the red carpet before him.
He will build my city.
He will bring home my exiles.
I didn’t hire him to do this. I told him.
This guy. Lol.
14 God says:
“The workers of Egypt, the merchants of Ethiopia,
and those statuesque Sabeans
Will all come over to you—all yours.
Docile in chains, they’ll follow you,
Hands folded in reverence, praying before you:
‘Amazing! God is with you!
There is no other God—none.’”
Look at the Evidence
15-17 Clearly, you are a God who works behind the scenes,
God of Israel, Savior God.
Humiliated, all those others
will be ashamed to show their faces in public.
Out of work and at loose ends, the makers of no-god idols
won’t know what to do with themselves.
The people of Israel, though, are saved by you, God,
saved with an eternal salvation.
They won’t be ashamed,
they won’t be at loose ends, ever.
18-24 God, Creator of the heavens—
he is, remember, God.
Maker of earth—
he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch.
He didn’t go to all that trouble
to just leave it empty, nothing in it.
He made it to be lived in.
This God says:
“I am God,
the one and only.
I don’t just talk to myself
or mumble under my breath.
I never told Jacob,
‘Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.’
I am God. I work out in the open,
saying what’s right, setting things right.
So gather around, come on in,
all you refugees and castoffs.
They don’t seem to know much, do they—
those who carry around their no-god blocks of wood,
praying for help to a dead stick?
So tell me what you think. Look at the evidence.
Put your heads together. Make your case.
Who told you, and a long time ago, what’s going on here?
Who made sense of things for you?
Wasn’t I the one? God?
It had to be me. I’m the only God there is—
The only God who does things right
and knows how to help.
So turn to me and be helped—saved!—
everyone, whoever and wherever you are.
I am God,
the only God there is, the one and only.
I promise in my own name:
Every word out of my mouth does what it says.
I never take back what I say.
Everyone is going to end up kneeling before me.
Everyone is going to end up saying of me,
‘Yes! Salvation and strength are in God!’”
24-25 All who have raged against him
will be brought before him,
disgraced by their unbelief.
And all who are connected with Israel
will have a robust, praising, good life in God!
1. Him and this dead stick. 2. He has ro remind them. They don’t get it. They should have been ashamed. All He did. We ought to be ashamed…