44 The Lord says, “People of Jacob, you are my servants. Listen to me! People of Israel, I chose you.” 2 This is what the Lord says, who made you, who formed you in your mother’s body, who will help you: “People of Jacob, my servants, don’t be afraid. Israel, I chose you. 3 I will pour out water for the thirsty land and make streams flow on dry land. I will pour out my Spirit into your children and my blessing on your descendants. 4 Your children will grow like a tree in the grass, like poplar trees growing beside streams of water. 5 One person will say, ‘I belong to the Lord,’ and another will use the name Jacob. Another will sign his name ‘I am the Lord’s,’ and another will use the name Israel.”
6 The Lord, the king of Israel, is the Lord All-Powerful, who saves Israel. This is what he says: “I am the beginning and the end. I am the only God. 7 Who is a god like me? That god should come and prove it. Let him tell and explain all that has happened since I set up my ancient people. He should also tell what will happen in the future. 8 Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! I have always told you what will happen. You are my witnesses. There is no other God but me. I know of no other Rock; I am the only One.”
Idols Are Useless
9 Some people make idols, but they are worth nothing. People treasure them, but they are useless. Those people are witnesses for the statues, but those people cannot see. They know nothing, so they will be ashamed. 10 Who made these gods? Who made these useless idols? 11 The workmen who made them will be ashamed, because they are only human. If they all would come together, they would all be ashamed and afraid.
12 One workman uses tools to heat iron, and he works over hot coals. With his hammer he beats the metal and makes a statue, using his powerful arms. But when he becomes hungry, he loses his power. If he does not drink water, he becomes tired.
13 Another workman uses a line and a compass to draw on the wood. Then he uses his chisels to cut a statue and his calipers to measure the statue. In this way, the workman makes the wood look exactly like a person, and this statue of a person sits in the house. 14 He cuts down cedars or cypress or oak trees. Those trees grew by their own power in the forest. Or he plants a pine tree, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then he burns the tree. He uses some of the wood for a fire to keep himself warm. He also starts a fire to bake his bread. But he uses part of the wood to make a god, and then he worships it! He makes the idol and bows down to it! 16 The man burns half of the wood in the fire. He uses the fire to cook his meat, and he eats the meat until he is full. He also burns the wood to keep himself warm. He says, “Good! Now I am warm. I can see because of the fire’s light.” 17 But he makes a statue from the wood that is left and calls it his god. He bows down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “You are my god. Save me!” 18 Those people don’t know what they are doing. They don’t understand! It is as if their eyes are covered so they can’t see. Their minds don’t understand. 19 They have not thought about these things; they don’t understand. They have never thought to themselves, “I burned half of the wood in the fire and used the hot coals to bake my bread. I cooked and ate my meat. And I used the wood that was left to make this hateful thing. I am worshiping a block of wood!” 20 He doesn’t know what he is doing; his confused mind leads him the wrong way. He cannot save himself or say, “This statue I am holding is a false god.”
The Lord Is the True God
21 “People of Jacob, remember these things! People of Israel, remember you are my servants. I made you, and you are my servants. So Israel, I will not forget you. 22 I have swept away your sins like a big cloud; I have removed your sins like a cloud that disappears into the air. Come back to me because I saved you.”
23 Skies, sing for joy because the Lord did great things! Earth, shout for joy, even in your deepest parts! Sing, you mountains, with thanks to God. Sing, too, you trees in the forest! The Lord saved the people of Jacob! He showed his glory when he saved Israel. 24 This is what the Lord says, who saved you, who formed you in your mother’s body: “I, the Lord, made everything, stretching out the skies by myself and spreading out the earth all alone. 25 I show that the signs of the lying prophets are false; I make fools of those who do magic. I confuse even the wise; they think they know much, but I make them look foolish. 26 I make the messages of my servants come true; I make the advice of my messengers come true. I say to Jerusalem, ‘People will live in you again!’ I say to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be built again!’ I say to Jerusalem’s ruins, ‘I will repair you.’ 27 I tell the deep waters, ‘Become dry! I will make your streams become dry!’ 28 I say of Cyrus,[a] ‘He is my shepherd and will do all that I want him to do. He will say to Jerusalem, “You will be built again!” He will tell the Temple, “Your foundations will be rebuilt.”’”
44:28Cyrus A king of Persia who ruled from about 550–530 b.c.
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