"Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case."
"Who has stirred up this king from the east, who meets victory at every step? Who, indeed, but the LORD? He gives him victory over many nations and permits him to trample their kings underfoot. He puts entire armies to the sword. He scatters them in the wind with his bow.
He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
Who has done such mighty deeds, directing the affairs of the human race as each new generation marches by? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he."
The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
They encourage one another with the words, "Be strong!"
The craftsmen rush to make new idols. The carver hurries the goldsmith, and the molder helps at the anvil. "Good," they say. "It's coming along fine." Carefully they join the parts together, then fasten the thing in place so it won't fall over.
"But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from my friend Abraham,
I have called you back from the ends of the earth so you can serve me. For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.
Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."
"See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and ashamed. Anyone who opposes you will die.
You will look for them in vain. They will all be gone!
I am holding you by your right hand -- I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, 'Do not be afraid. I am here to help you.
Despised though you are, O Israel, don't be afraid, for I will help you. I am the LORD, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.'
You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear all your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
You will toss them in the air, and the wind will blow them all away; a whirlwind will scatter them. And the joy of the LORD will fill you to overflowing. You will glory in the Holy One of Israel."
"When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never forsake them.
I will open up rivers for them on high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. In the deserts they will find pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the dry, parched ground.
I will plant trees -- cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine -- on barren land.
Everyone will see this miracle and understand that it is the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, who did it."
"Can your idols make such claims as these? Let them come and show what they can do!" says the LORD, the King of Israel. a22
"Let them try to tell us what happened long ago or what the future holds.
Yes, that's it! If you are gods, tell what will occur in the days ahead. Or perform a mighty miracle that will fill us with amazement and fear. Do something, whether good or bad!
But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Anyone who chooses you becomes filthy, just like you!"
"But I have stirred up a leader from the north and east. He will come against the nations and call on my name, and I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will trample them as a potter treads on clay."
"Who but I have told you this would happen? Who else predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one else said a word!
I was the first to tell Jerusalem, 'Look! Help is on the way!'
Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
See, they are all foolish, worthless things. Your idols are all as empty as the wind."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)