Isaiah 41
God Protects the Gathered Israel

.1 ¶ Keep silence before me, O islands [or "costlands"]; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.
.2  Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.
 3  He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.
.4  Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
   Listen in silence The previous chapter began with the words, Comfort ye my people. The denunciations of the earlier chapters are over and we look forward to the redemption of God's people a new Israel. Here the wicked are told to listen. It is time for people of God to speak. It is a time of judgment.
   Righteous man from the east Cyrus as a type of Christ is4328-4401.
 5  The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.
 6  They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
 7  So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
   Collaboration A picture of secular cooperation to be compared to Israel in verse 8. We see an effort to find security against the judgments of God.
   Not be moved This fastening and soldering and hammering may represent efforts to prepare a rationale for false worship. The warning is for all of us. We must be careful that we "rightly divide the word of truth." as Paul admonished Timothy 2ti0215.
   Of course our we must secure our own salvation in Christ "that it should not be moved."
.8  But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
.9  Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
.10 ¶ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
 11  Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.
 12  Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
.13  For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
.14  Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
   8 - Servant Often but not always refers to Israel in this part of Isaiah. For example is4219, is4401f, is6317. At some points the servant is Christ is4201, is4906, is5311. The two meanings may be seen in the Hebrew word. See other commentaries. We may see the dual meaning by recognizing that Israel was to reveal the divine covenant to the world as Christ did on earth. He acted as servant both servant and master in washing the disciples feet jn1314. He was servant of the Father jn0434, jn1431. The Lord implies in je0214 that Israel is not a servant. The meaning of the term depends on the context.
   8 - Chosen This prophecy was not fulfilled to literal Israel. They were also gathered as we see in verse 9.
   " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together . . . and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (Matt. 23:37 - 24:1) mt2337ff
   9 - From ... the earth The new Israel, Christ's New Testament people, are gathered from among those who live on the earth, in contrast to calling ancient Israel from Egypt.
   10 - Fear not ... I will help you Beautiful promise for spiritual Israel during the time of trouble. This will be the gathering time for the righteous.
.15  Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.
 16  Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
   Threshing The Lord gives Israel a new tool to use on the mountains. Here the new Israel is involved in separating chaff from wheat. This work is also said to belong to Christ lu0317. This seems to be a conflict until we remember that the righteous live and reign with Christ a thousand years as judges re2004. Thus the wicked will be judged and finally destroyed leaving neither root nor branch mal0401.
   The threshing metaphor is also in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar used to describe this work da0231.
.18  I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
 19  I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:
 20  That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.
 21 ¶ Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.
.22  Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.
  18 - Wilderness becomes a pool Life on this earth as we know it ends with the time of trouble. The righteous are protected and the wicked see it. In the present context, however, I believe this relates to the time just after the thousand-year judgment seen above when the New Jerusalem descends and the wicked are unable to capture it. They will finally acknowledge that God is fair re0513a. Isaiah 35 shows the same thing is35.
  21 - Produce your cause This challenge is for the wicked who are judged. The pronoun, "them" in verse 22 confirms this.
.23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
 24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.
.23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
 24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.
  23 - Shew ... gods "give any proof at all of your power, either to reward your friends or punish your enemies" (Ps 115:2-8). (JFB).
  23 - That we may be dismayed "Give us word of what will be after this, so that we may be certain that you are gods: yes, do good or do evil, so that we may all see it and be surprised." (BBE).
.25  I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.
 26  Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.
 27  The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings.
 28  For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
  29  Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
   25 - One from the north Cyrus may be pictured here. He is a type of Christ in that Christ will deliver His people from spiritual Babylon. The divine meeting place is "in the sides of the north" is1413. Christ will be seen coming as lightning from the east mt2427. Christ is seen in Malachi as the rising sun (from the east) mal0402.
   25 - Potter treadeth clay See Christ in ps00209 and the Lord in je1911.

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