Verse 1 – “Keep silent before Me, O coast-lands, and let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; let us come near together for judgment.
To all the nations of the world, be quiet as God presents the evidence in support of His case.
Verse 2 – “Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust of his sword, as driven stubble to his bow?
The one to the east is Cyrus, king of Persia, whom God used to defeat Babylon in 539 B.C. This brought Judah’s exile to an end.
Verse 3 – Who pursued them, and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his fleet?
Verse 4 – Who has performed and done it, calling generations from the beginning? ‘I, the Lord, am the first; and with the last I am He.’ ”
Though Cyrus was the human agent behind these predicted events, God took credit because Cyrus succeeded under His sovereign control.
Verse 5 – The coast-lands saw it and feared, the ends of the earth were afraid; they drew near and came.
Verse 6 – Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother, “Be of good courage!”
Verse 7 – So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, saying, “It is ready for the soldering”; then he fastened it with pegs, that it might not totter.
The craftsman and the metal worker were those who created the idols in whom the nations trusted.
Verse 8 – “But you , Israel, are My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend.
Verse 9 – You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
Verse 10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
God chose Israel through Abraham because he wanted to, not because they deserved it (Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 9:4-6). God had chosen them to represent Him to the world. We in turn as Christians, are to represent our heavenly Father also.
Verse 11 – “Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.
Verse 12 – You shall seek them and not find them – those who contend with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a non-existing thing.
Verse 13 – For I , the Lord God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
A spirit of fear does not come from God. God’s Spirit gives us power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
verse 14 – “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you,” says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
You worm – who are weak in thyself, and trodden under foot by the proud enemies. The inability of other nations to contend with Israel was because of divine protection. Israel did not have the strength or ability to protect itself, but God would sustain them.
Verse 15 – “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp truth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills like chaff.
This metaphor emphasizes how thoroughly and violently Israel would defeat the nations.
Verse 16 – You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; you shall rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
Verse 17 – “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues fail for thirst, I, the Lord, will hear them; I the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
Verse 18 – I will open rivers in desolate 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.
Gods people who are like a dry land, He will abundantly water with my blessings.
Verse 19 – I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box-tree together,
Verse 20 – that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel created it.
Turning a desert into an orchard, is an act only God can do.
Verse 21 – “Present your case,” says the Lord. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the king of Jacob.
Verse 22 – “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare to us things to come.
Verse 23 – Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together.
Verse 24 – Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination.
Israel was surrounded by many nations whose gods supposedly has special powers, such as raising crops and providing victories in wars. Our trust cannot be placed in money, our career, or other people, because they will all fail us. When you’re in need, ask God, first. He will make a way when there seems to be no way.
Verse 25 – “I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come; from the rising of the sun he shall call on My name; and he shall come against princes as though mortar, as the potter treads clay.
King Cyrus of Persia is in mind here. Cyrus was born in Persia, in the country scripture calls ‘the east,’ but he came from Media under the direction of his uncle, Cyaxares, when he attacked and subdued Babylon. Media was situated on the north and northeast of Babylon.
Verse 26 – Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? And former times, that we may say, ‘He is righteous’? Surely there is no one who shows, surely there is no one who declares, surely there is no one who hears your words.
Verse 27 – The first time I said to Zion, ‘Look, there they are ! ‘And I will give to Jerusalem one who bring good tidings.
The idols were ignorant because they did not really exist. The coming of Cyrus was good news to Jerusalem because his defeat of Babylon would mean God’s people could go home.
Verse 28 – For I looked, and there was no man; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, who, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
Verse 29 – Indeed they are all worthless; their works are nothing; their molded images are wind and confusion.
God is asking which one of these idols know the future; which one can give counsel? Though these idols were often consulted, none of them could give any certainty about the future.