Isaiah 41

Sovereign Over Nations 

God is the King over all of creation, and he commands the nations to gather and listen in silence as he pronounces judgment. God was going to raise a nation from the east who would conquer surrounding nations. The eternal God has been at work since before the first generation, and he causes nations to rise and fall. The conqueror from the east would strike fear into the hearts of the surrounding coastlands who would respond by fashioning idols that they hoped would save them. Israel will be restored, and God will remember his covenant with his people. Israel does not have to fear the nations. Israel is guilty of great sin and has gone into exile, but she is still God’s servant and friend through Abraham and Jacob. God will not cast off his people, and he will care for them and use the strength of his might to comfort his dismayed people. God will uphold his people with his righteous right hand. God supplies power and will remove any obstacle or opposition. He is God, the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel and although his people are despised, they will become like a “threshing-sledge,” and crush any opposition. Fear will turn to great joy in the Holy One of Israel. God is able to meet all the needs of his people, whether spiritual or physical and he will extend his comfort to those who are poor and needy. He will do everything in order to restore his people to himself. He will not forsake them in their need. Instead, he will provide the thirsty with water and will change conditions so that his people will see the evidence of his love.

Worthless Idols

The gods of the nations are unable to do what God does. He can declare from the beginning what is going to happen. He can give signs. He has power over all nations. He can bring adversity as well as prosperity. By contrast, the gods of the nations are powerless. They cannot respond. Therefore, the nations must know that as long as they depend upon their gods, they are actually without protection. Yahweh, the God of Israel, will raise up Cyrus. His victories are the outworking of God’s plans. Cyrus will at least acknowledge the God of Israel, though not exclusively. The Lord who knows the future reveals the good news of his accomplishments in history according to his plan for his own people. Idols are futile. 

Things To Consider:

  • How does God judge nations?
  • How should a Christian view other nations?
  • What is the significance of God being eternal?
  • Why do people look for things to save them?
  • How can God call Israel his friend?
  • How do we embrace God's strength?
  • How strong is God's grasp?
  • Why should we look to former things?
  • Why does it matter that God has decreed things from the beginning?
  • Why will idols always disappoint?