Isaiah 41

God is the Judge of the World

1 ‘You islands, be quiet when you come to me. And everybody must become strong again. They must move towards the front (of the court) and they must speak. We must meet together so that I, the LORD can be your judge.

2 The LORD will wake a man in the east as from sleep. The good God will ask the man to follow the LORD.

· The LORD will give many countries to him.

· The LORD will cause kings to go down on their knees in front of him.

· The LORD will make people into dead bodies with that man's sword.

· The LORD will make them like dry dead bits of plants. That man's bow will be like a wind that will blow them away.

3 The man will run after them, but he himself will move on safely. He will go on a path very quickly. His feet will almost not touch the ground while he travels.

4 I am the God who will do those things. And I will cause them to happen’, says the LORD. ‘I am the God who told you about everything from the beginning. I, the LORD, am the first person. But I am he who will be with people at the end.’

5 The people on the islands heard that and they were afraid. It frightened the people at the far places of the earth very much. They came near to each other. They met together.

6 Each country helped another country. Each person said to his brother, ‘Be strong!’

7 The careful worker said good things to the worker who makes things out of gold. The man with a hammer said to another worker, ‘What you have put together is good.’ Then he made the idol safe with bits of iron so that it could not fall over.

8 ‘But you, Israel, are my servant. Jacob, I have chosen you. You are the descendants of my friend Abraham.’

41:8Verse 8 ‘Jacob’ means the people in Israel and Judah, who were descendants of Jacob.

9 ‘I brought you from the ends of the earth. I brought you from its far corners. I have said, “You are my servant. I have chosen you. I have not refused to let you be my servant.

10 So do not be afraid, because I am with you. Do not be sad, because I am your God. I will make you strong and I will help you. Really, I will hold you with my right hand. It is strong and it wins wars.”

11 Everybody who is angry with you will certainly be ashamed. They will lose their good name. Those who fight you will become like nothing. And they will die.

12 Even if you look for your enemies, you will not find them. The people who fight against you will disappear.

13 That will happen because I am the LORD. I am your God. I will hold on to your right hand. And I will say to you, “Do not be afraid. I will help you.”

14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, you people in little Israel. I myself will help you.’ That is what the LORD says. He is your Redeemer. He is the Holy God of Israel.

41:14Jacob here means the Jews, who were descendants of Jacob.

15 ‘Watch this happen! I will cause you to become like a machine that threshes. It will be new and sharp, with many sharp metal points that are like teeth. You will thresh the mountains and you will break the hills. They will become like chaff.

16 You will make them into separate small pieces. Then the wind will pick them up and a strong wind will blow them away. But you will be happy with the LORD. You will be very happy that the Holy God of Israel is your God.

17 Poor people and people who need water look for water. But there is none. Their mouths are dry because they need a drink. I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will not leave them behind and alone.

18 I will make rivers on hills where nothing grows. And I will make wells of water in the valleys. I will make pools of water in the sandy places. And I will make wells where the ground is dry.

19 I will put these kinds of trees into the sandy places: cedar, acacia, myrtle and olive. And I will put together into the Arabah these kinds of trees: pine, fir and cypress.

20 Then people will see that. They will know that the hand of the LORD has done it. They will think about it. And they will understand that the Holy God of Israel has created it.’

41:20Verse 19 Those trees are not usually together in the same place.

21 The LORD says, ‘Tell me the reasons for your ideas.’ Jacob's king (who is God) says, ‘Say what you believe.

22 Bring your idols into court. Cause them to tell us what will happen in future years. Tell us about past events. Then we can think about them. And we will know what happened. Or tell us about events that will happen.

23 Tell us what will happen in future years. Then we will know that your idols are gods. Do something good or bad that will make us sad and afraid at the same time.

24 But your idols are less than nothing. And the things that you have made are really worth nothing. Anybody who chooses you is really very bad!’

25 ‘I will wake somebody from the north. And he will come from the direction of the sun when it rises. He will tell my name to people (by what he does). He will walk on the rulers of the people like they were mortar. He will be like a person who makes pots. That person uses his feet to make shapes with the clay.

26 Tell me who told that to you from the beginning. Then we would know what would happen. Or tell me who told that to you. They should tell it to you before it happens. Then we could say, “He was right.”

27 Remember, I, God was the first person to tell it to Zion. “Look, they are here!” I gave to Jerusalem somebody who brought good news.

28 I looked, but there is nobody among the people. They do not have any advisors. Nobody can answer the questions that I ask them.

29 Look! All the idols are false. What they do comes to nothing. Their idols are only like wind and they confuse people.’

41:29Note: Here is the shape of chapter 41.
41:29Verse 1: God, as the judge, speaks to the people in all the countries in the world. He tells them that they must come to his court.
41:29Verses 2-4: God, as an important person in the court, asks the question, ‘Who decides what happens in the world?’
41:29Verses 5-7: The countries of the world say that they will believe in their false gods.
41:29Verses 8-20: God, both as master and as redeemer, promises to help his people.
41:29Verses 21-24: God, as an important person in the court, says that the idols cannot explain anything.
41:29Verses 25-29: God, as judge, will send someone from the north to rule many countries.