Isaiah 44:1-20 God Build Israel; Deluded Fools Build Idols
Can you share a time when you or someone was so blind to their cause that they didn’t even stop to realize the mistakes they were making? This section contains a revelation that God will expand Israel’s numbers by pouring out his Spirit. In contrast the foolish try to build idols without pausing to realize their foolishness and blindness.
- One example to get people thinking about blindness as you work for a cause: A recent video clip shows protestors surrounding a truck transporting oil. When one of the protestors was interviewed, they said they wanted to do everything they could to hinder the oil companies from doing business. Another person, possibly the driver of the truck himself, is interviewed next. He is laughing when he comes to realize that the protestors stopped the truck in order to hinder the big oil companies. As he laughs, he tells the new reporter, “But that truck is transporting cooking oil.”
44:1-2 God wants to comfort Israel and remove her fears. Note the absence of relying on any of their own works to remove their fears. Identify what things God wants them to know in order to calm their fears.
- He chose them, he calls them his own, his is their maker who formed them even from the womb of their mothers, he promises to help, he gives them the undeserved privilege of bearing the title “my servant.”
44:3-5 Describe what God promises to do here for Israel. Compare it with the fate of all mankind described in 40:6-7.
- He surprisingly will extend Israel and cause it to grow by sending his Spirit to create faith in the hearts of many people.
44:3-5 Read Acts 2:16-21 to see one way this promise was fulfilled.
- Acts 2:18 18 I will even pour out my Spirit on my servants in those days, both men and women and they will prophesy.
- Acts 2:33 33 Therefore, since he has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you both see and hear.
44:3-5 Read Acts 10:35 to find another way the fulfillment of these words surprised Israel.
- This was fulfilled at Pentecost, and also as the gospel went out to the Gentiles,
- Acts 10:45 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
44:3-5 Compare with Titus 3:4-7 and Romans 5:5 to discuss how this same promise continues to be fulfilled today.
- God is still pouring out his Spirit in baptism and whenever someone comes to faith.
- 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, 5 he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life. (CSB) Tt 3:4–7.
- Romans 5:5 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
44:6-8 Divine inspiration and monotheism go hand-in-hand. God reaffirms that he alone can foretell what is to come. This truth also affirms that he alone is the true God. Select at least two other doctrines that go hand-in-hand and need repeating, especially in your culture.
Creation goes hand-in-hand with what we teach about marriage and sexuality. Many despise God’s institution of marriage. They probably also despise the idea of creation.
- Baptism and the Spirit’s role in conversion go hand-in-hand. Not everyone recognizes the need for rebirth. They probably also don’t credit the Spirit as working in baptism.
- Our spiritual blindness and the need for the Spirit’s work in conversion go hand-in-hand. Those doctrines also tie in with this section of Isaiah. Here we read about the Spirit creating believers vs. blind fools creating idols. Not many give God the full credit today for conversion. They probably also don’t see how we are totally dead and blind by nature.
44:9-20 List some key points made as God mocks the idol craftsman and idol worshippers:
- The irony of it all! He uses wood that God made grow to defy God. He warms himself with the same wood burned in the fire. The creator of the idol gets tired and hungry. The idol not only can’t answer prayer, it knows nothing! Then he uses the same wood to burn in the fire to cook his food!
- Main point: they are blind and foolish and don’t even realize it!
Contrast the working and creation of God to the working of the craft smith who makes an idol
- A craftsman has to take an existing object and work hard to make it stand in a temporary position. He has to be skilled and work hard at making more. He can’t do anything more to help the idol nor can the idol help him.
- God formed us in the womb, he chose us, he makes more believers join his church as he pours out the Holy Spirit.
Compare verses 44:5 with Psalm 87. How is this played out in the history of the Church?
- More and more people will take on the name “Israel” as God calls the nations to his Church. Believers will spring up in unexpected places as he sends out his church with the power of the Spirit.
Discuss how 44:3 ought to influence our interpretation of the “new thing” promised in the previous chapter (43:18-21). Why is it so important to let Scripture interpret Scripture?
- The new thing promises is far more than just water in the desert. It means new spiritual life as he pours out the Holy Spirit.
- Compare also with 40:3 “A voice of one calling, ‘in the wilderness…”
List some ways that people live in delusion because of their stubborn idolatry today.
- Sin causes us to be blind to the foolish attempts we make at fashioning our own source of goodness apart from God. Various things could be listed that people chase after for secret idolatry.
Find at least six descriptions or titles of God and explain how they apply to the three persons of the Triune God.
- Maker, he who formed you
- “I will pour out my Spirit” he pours out the Spirit (the Spirit proceeds from the Fathe and the Son Acts 2:33, Jn 14:26, Jn 15:26)
- King, Redeemer, Rock, First and the Last
- Poured out by the Father and the Son, Jn 14:26, Jn 15:26
- Gives people “the name Israel” as he converts hearts.
- Makes new born “offspring, descendants” as he brings people to faith.
- Did I not proclaim it long ago? (Prophets spoke as carried along by the Spirit)
- Trinity: “no God besides me.” “Almighty” “Lord”