Saturday 21 January 2012

Bible Book:

I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save." (v. 4)

Isaiah 46:1-13 Saturday 21 January 2012


The prophet has railed against idolatry (Isaiah44:9-20), named Cyrus as the one to bring liberation to Israel(Isaiah 44:26-28) and emphasised repeatedly theunique incomparable nature of God. There is a suggestion thoughthat his message is not getting through: now for the first time twoof the recipients of idolatrous worship need to be named andexplicitly compared with the Lord.

Bel and Nebo (verse 1) were prominent Babylonian deities, carriedin the New Year's Day celebration and processed from one city toanother with great fanfare. Yet rather than enabling divineintervention to lift burdens, they themselves are a burden to becarried (verse 1). How can a god that you have to carry around withyou ever save you? In comparison God the Eternal One has alwayscarried the House of Israel from birth to death: in youth and inold age, the creator is also the sustainer and the saviour (verses3-4).

The association of Babylon with these impotent gods and of Israelwith almighty God underlines the comparative powerlessness of theBabylonians who hold Israel's remnant captive. The prophetchallenges the exiled community to face truths about God with asummary of divine sovereignty (verses 8-11) recalling both theLord's deeds in the past and foresight for the future. God will befaithful in delivering all that has been promised. The calling ofCyrus, "the man for my purpose from a far country" (v. 11), is partof the divine plan and although it will mean that salvation andfreedom will not come to Israel in a way they were expecting it (iethrough David's line), God is to be trusted because of the natureand the actions now and in the past of the Eternal One. For Israel,says the Lord, the key to living faithfully is to remember both whoI am - "God, and there is no other" (v. 9) - and who they are:"Israel my Glory" (v. 13).

To Ponder

"Remember the former things of old; for I am God,and there is no other" (v. 9). When you are unsure of God'spresence, what "former things" do you find it helpful to recall?Why are these things precious?

What are the things, ideas, or attitudes that youcarry around which are burdensome and could usefully be laiddown?

Previous Page Friday 20 January 2012
Next Page Sunday 08 January 2012