The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 48 Part 1

Isaiah

Our next reading is Isaiah 48:1-11

There is one G-d, but He has revealed Himself as G-d the Father, G-d the Son and G-d the Holy Spirit. Three persons, One G-d. G-d is perfect. What He has said in the past needs no amending. What He has told us, in the past, about the future is going to happen. Those who are wise rely on G-d’s Word and they apply it to their lives, thereby manifesting righteousness (righteous living). Unfortunately, this has not yet happened, on a National scale, with the house of Israel. G-d has been displeased with His people. G-d is faithful, however, and so is going to do a new thing. New things relate to Kingdom things. This ‘new thing’ is going to usher in change. 

v1: Hear this: When this word stands by itself it speaks about something of great importance.

  • Jacob: In Hebrew this is a word that means: one who will follow after or take hold of, one who will pursue (Gen 25:26 – Jacob was called Jacob because he was holding on to Esau’s heel – even from birth jostling for the desired position of firstborn). 
  • Jacob…Israel: One of the primary characteristics of Hebrew poetry is parallelism. This is another example of it. Israel is a Kingdom word. It is a word that relates to prevailing, overcoming, taking hold of victory (Gen 32:26-28). Jacob pursued the things of G-d and because of this he experienced victory. Throughout history, the Jewish people (Jacob’s seed) have struggled with G-d, but G-d is going to allow them (the remnant) to ultimately overcome. It is at this time that the Kingdom will be established. 
  • Wellsprings: Waters. Related to blessing. 
  • Judah: This is a word for praising G-d. The ‘wellsprings of Judah’ refer to the blessings that come from praising G-d.       
  • Swear: They take an oath saying that G-d is dependable, that they trust fully in Him.
  • Swear…make mention: These are good things to do, but there is a problem. Although they are proclaiming the right things, in reality they are not connected to it, their lives are not reflecting the right that they are proclaiming. 
  • Not in truth or in righteousness: There is a link between truth and righteousness. If we want to live righteously, we have to live according to the (whole) truth of the Word of G-d. Israel was not doing this. 

v2: They talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. They say that they rely on the L-rd etc… but this truth is not evident in their lives. 

  • The L-rd of hosts: This is a name that speaks about the mightiness of G-d. He is Sovereign and has the authority to back up and bring about what He has said. 

v3: The former things: The things which have already happened. 

Note: All of this is revealing to us that G-d is trustworthy. What He has said He will do. We can rely on Him. He is always right. 

v4: Obstinate: Hard or difficult. Stubborn.

  • Your neck was an iron sinew: Stiff-necked. They do not bow, they do not submit, they are not humble, but they walk in pride. None of this surprised G-d. 
  • Your brow (forehead) bronze: Hard-headed. They keep going, no matter what. 

v5: I have declared it to you: G-d is all-knowing. He declared things before they were. 

  • My idol has done them: People who practice idolatry do not pay attention to G-d. They credit their idols with things they should be crediting G-d with. 

v6: Hear new things: They credit the former things that had been done to their idols so now G-d is going to declare new, different, things to them so they will see that it is in fact G-d who is the One who brings the things about. The word ‘new’ relates to those things that have implications to the Kingdom of G-d.

  • Hidden things: This is not the Hebrew word for ‘hidden’. It is a word for keeping or for guarding. If something is kept or guarded it means that they are valuable things, important things. G-d wants to reveal new things to the people. He has not been hiding these things, but He has been keeping watch over them, guarding them. 
  • You did not know them: Because these things have been guarded by G-d the (old covenant) people did not know about them. 

v7: They are created now: G-d did not create these new things in the past but had created them ‘recently’ – literally: ‘just a day ago’ (from G-d’s perspective). 

  • Of course I knew them: If G-d had told them these plans earlier, they would have stubbornly taken credit for them, or would say that they had received the revelation from their idols. G-d is showing that there is a gap, a separation, between Him and His people. He is not pleased with this. 

v8: From long ago your ear was not open: Their ears were not open in the past and their ears are not open today. They are not yet pursuing the things of G-d in the same way that Jacob went after them. 

  • Treacherously: This is a word for committing treason. It is a strong word for expressing infidelity to a covenantal relationship. G-d did not choose Israel because they were the best, or the most faithful, or the most reliable. They were not those things. G-d chose them because of His choice.  
  • Transgressor: This is the word that means criminal’ in Modern Hebrew.

v9: Defer (lengthen) My anger: G-d is going to delay His anger. When G-d delays His anger, it means that He is giving people time, an opportunity to repent and to find salvation through Messiah.  

  • My praise I will restrain it from you: G-d is not going to destroy them, but He will also not have praise for them. 
  • I do not cut you off: G-d is not going to cut off the Jewish people entirely. G-d is going to work with a remnant of the Jewish people (just as He has with the faithful remnant of the nations). 

v10: You: Referring to the remnant

  • Tested you in the furnace of affliction: G-d is going to use affliction to bring about a redemptive change in the people.

v11: For My own sake…I will do it: G-d, Himself, is going to do something new (‘new’ relates to the Kingdom)…His own arm will do this.  

  • How should My name be profaned: No one will be able to call G-d a liar or call into disrepute His character. What He has purposed will stand (Isaiah 14:24)
  • I will not give My glory to another: G-d has manifested His choice. He is not going to choose another to carry out the plans He set aside for Israel to carry out (Roms 11:29). Israel has broken covenant with G-d. G-d however is going to redeem this covenant and this redemption is going to reunite the people to the covenant and, in doing so, also to G-d.

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