Isaiah 41

Listen to Isaiah 41

Fear Not, For I Am with You

1 1Listen to me in silence, 2O coastlands; let the peoples renew their strength; let them approach, then let them speak; let us together draw near for judgment.
2 3Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every 4step?[a] 5He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, 6like driven stubble with his bow.
3 He pursues them and passes on safely, by paths his feet have not trod.
4 7Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? 8I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
5 9The coastlands have seen and are afraid; the ends of the earth tremble; they have drawn near and come.
6 Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, "Be strong!"
7 10The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good"; and they strengthen it with nails 11so that it cannot be moved.
8 But you, Israel, 12my servant, Jacob, 13whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, 14my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called 15from its farthest corners, saying to you, "You are 16my servant, 17I have chosen you and not cast you off";
10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with 18my righteous right hand.
11 19Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 20You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; 21those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.
13 For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you."
14 Fear not, you 22worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your 23Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 24Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh 25the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 26you shall winnow them, and 27the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. 28And you shall rejoice in the LORD; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
17 29When 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.
18 30I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. 31I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
19 32I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert 33the cypress, the plane and the pine together,
20 that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that 34the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.

The Futility of Idols

21 Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them, and 35tell 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.
23 36Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; 37do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified.[b]
24 Behold, 38you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.
25 39I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, 40from the rising of the sun, 41and he shall call upon my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay.
26 42Who 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.
27 43I was the first to say[c] to Zion, "Behold, here they are!" and 44I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
28 45But when I look, there is no one; among these there is no counselor who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 46Behold, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind.

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Isaiah 41 Commentary

Chapter 41

God's care of his people. (1-9) they are encouraged not to fear. (10-20) The vanity and folly of idolatry. (21-29)

Verses 1-9 Can any heathen god raise up one in righteousness, make what use of him he pleases, and make him victorious over the nations? The Lord did so with Abraham, or rather, he would do so with Cyrus. Sinners encourage one another in the ways of sin; shall not the servants of the living God stir up one another in his service? God's people are the seed of Abraham his friend. This is certainly the highest title ever given to a mortal. It means that Abraham, by Divine grace, was made like to God, and that he was admitted to communion with Him. Happy are the servants of the Lord, whom he has called to be his friends, and to walk with him in faith and holy obedience. Let not such as have thus been favoured yield to fear; for the contest may be sharp, but the victory shall be sure.

Verses 10-20 God speaks with tenderness; Fear thou not, for I am with thee: not only within call, but present with thee. Art thou weak? I will strengthen thee. Art thou in want of friends? I will help thee in the time of need. Art thou ready to fall? I will uphold thee with that right hand which is full of righteousness, dealing forth rewards and punishments. There are those that strive with God's people, that seek their ruin. Let not God's people render evil for evil, but wait God's time. It is the worm Jacob; so little, so weak, so despised and trampled on by every body. God's people are as worms, in humble thoughts of themselves, and in their enemies' haughty thoughts of them; worms, but not vipers, not of the serpent's seed. Every part of God's word is calculated to humble man's pride, and to make him appear little in his own eyes. The Lord will help them, for he is their Redeemer. The Lord will make Jacob to become a threshing instrument. God will make him fit for use, new, and having sharp spikes. This has fulfilment in the triumphs of the gospel of Christ, and of all faithful followers of Christ, over the power of darkness. God has provided comforts to supply all their wants, and to answer all their prayers. Our way to heaven lies through the wilderness of this world. The soul of man is in want, and seeks for satisfaction; but becomes weary of seeking that in the world, which is not to be had in it. Yet they shall have a constant supply, where one would least expect it. I will open rivers of grace, rivers of living water, which Christ spake of the Spirit, ( john 7:38 john 7:39 ) . When God sets up his church in the Gentile wilderness, there shall be a great change, as if thorns and briers were turned into cedars, and fir-trees, and myrtles. These blessings are kept for the poor in spirit, who long for Divine enlightening, pardon, and holiness. And God will render their barren souls fruitful in the grace of his Spirit, that all who behold may consider it.

Verses 21-29 There needs no more to show the folly of sin, than to bring to notice the reasons given in defence of it. There is nothing in idols worthy of regard. They are less than nothing, and worse than nothing. Let the advocates of other doctrines than that of salvation through Christ, bring their arguments. Can they tell of a cure for human depravity? Jehovah has power which cannot be withstood; this he will make appear. But the certain knowledge of the future must be only with Jehovah, who fulfils his own plans. All prophecies, except those of the Bible, have been uncertain. In the work of redemption the Lord showed himself much more than in the release of the Jews from Babylon. The good tidings the Lord will send in the gospel, is a mystery hid from ages and generations. A Deliverer is raised up for us, of nobler name and greater power than the deliverer of the captive Jews. May we be numbered among his obedient servants and faithful friends.

Cross References 46

  • 1. [Habakkuk 2:20; Zechariah 2:13]
  • 2. See Isaiah 11:11
  • 3. Isaiah 46:11; [Isaiah 45:1]
  • 4. [Judges 4:10]
  • 5. 2 Chronicles 36:23
  • 6. Isaiah 40:24
  • 7. [ver. 26]
  • 8. Isaiah 43:10, 11; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12; Revelation 1:8, 17; Revelation 22:13
  • 9. See Isaiah 11:11
  • 10. Isaiah 40:19
  • 11. [Isaiah 40:20]
  • 12. Isaiah 44:1, 2
  • 13. Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 10:15; Deuteronomy 14:2; Psalms 135:4; [1 Peter 2:9]
  • 14. 2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23
  • 15. Isaiah 43:5, 6
  • 16. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 17. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 18. Psalms 48:10
  • 19. [Isaiah 45:24]
  • 20. Psalms 37:10
  • 21. Isaiah 40:17
  • 22. [Psalms 22:6]
  • 23. Isaiah 54:5; [Psalms 78:35]; See Isaiah 43:14
  • 24. Micah 4:13
  • 25. [Isaiah 2:14]
  • 26. [Jeremiah 51:2]
  • 27. [ver. 2]
  • 28. Isaiah 45:25
  • 29. [Isaiah 44:3]
  • 30. Isaiah 35:6, 7
  • 31. Psalms 107:35
  • 32. Isaiah 35:1, 2; Isaiah 55:12, 13
  • 33. Isaiah 60:13
  • 34. Job 12:9
  • 35. [ver. 26; Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 45:21; Isaiah 46:10]
  • 36. [See ver. 22 above]
  • 37. [Isaiah 45:7]
  • 38. ver. 29; [Psalms 115:8; 1 Corinthians 8:4]
  • 39. Jeremiah 50:3
  • 40. ver. 2
  • 41. [Psalms 44:5]
  • 42. [ver. 22]
  • 43. Isaiah 51:12
  • 44. Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 52:7
  • 45. See ver. 21-24
  • 46. [ver. 12]

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or whom righteousness calls to follow?
  • [b]. Or that we may both be dismayed and see
  • [c]. Or Formerly I said

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 41

This chapter contains a summons to the enemies of Christ to come and try the cause between God and them before him; words of comfort to true believers, promising them help, protection, and provision; full conviction of idolaters, and their practices; and is closed with a promise of some great person, and what he will do unto them, and for the people of God. The summons is in Isa 41:1, expressed according to the forms used in courts of judicature. The issue of the controversy is put upon this foot, the raising up a certain person from the east, who it was that did it, which appearing to be the work of the Lord, proves the point contended about, Isa 41:2-4, the obstinate persistence of idolaters in their idolatry, notwithstanding this is observed, Isa 41:5-7, the people of God, under the names of Jacob and Israel, the objects of God's choice and affection, Isa 41:8,9 are encouraged against the fear of men, with promises of help and strength from the Lord, Isa 41:10,13,14 of confusion to their enemies, and victory over them, Isa 41:11,12,15,16, and of spiritual provisions, and great prosperity in their wilderness state, in which they should manifestly see the hand of the Lord, Isa 41:17-20 when the idolatrous nations are challenged to produce their strong reasons for their idolatry, and are put upon proving that their idols can foretell things to come, or do good or evil to men, or own they are nothing but an abomination, Isa 41:21-24,26 and then one is spoken of that should come as a mighty warrior, and tread down the Pagan princes, and a set of Gospel ministers should be sent, bringing good tidings to Zion, to the silencing of idolaters, and the cessation of idolatrous worship, Isa 41:25,27,28.

Isaiah 41 Commentaries