God’s Challenge to The Idols

Consider these famous predictions that underestimated the incredible power of vision: · Ken Olson, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation said in 1977, “There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.” · … More

Prediction

We find a beautiful picture of God’s provision of water to abundantly supply the need of His people (vv 17-20). Because of this supply, He will also plant trees in this desert when normally these varieties will grow only in fertile areas. Having promised to bless His people, Israel, the Lord next challenges the gods of the heathen nations (vv. 21-29).  He challenges them to predict the future and explain the meaning of the past. However, they can do neither, because they are not gods at all.

The end of this chapter is the picture of a courtroom. The inability of these idols to tell the future shows that their gods are ineffective and worthless. In contrast to these idols, which are man-made and unable to help people, God can and does tell the future (vv. 21-24). He predicted that a strong leader would come from the north and from the east (the rising sun), who would destroy many nations (vv. 25-29). Most commentators would agree that this refers to Cyrus, although he is not named here. He was from the east (Persia was east of Israel) and also from the north (many of his conquests extended to the north of Israel). Only God could predict something like this. This is a proof that the Lord is the true God and all idols are false gods. Those who believe in such idols have an empty faith and offer no more help than the wind which confuse peoples’ minds (v. 29).

Application

When I am tempted to put my trust in something other than the living God, such as money, career, or family, I should ask: Will it provide what I am really looking for? Only God can be trusted!

Isaiah 41:17-29 (English Standard Version)

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you. I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay. Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know, and beforehand, that we might say, "He is right"? There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed, none who heard your words. I was the first to say to Zion, "Behold, here they are!" and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news. But when I look, there is no one; among these there is no counselor who, when I ask, gives an answer. Behold, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind.

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