41 Be silent and listen, every island in the sea. Have courage and come near, every one of you nations. Let’s settle this matter! 2 Who appointed this ruler from the east?[a] Who puts nations and kings in his power?[b] His sword and his arrows turn them to dust blown by the wind. 3 He goes after them so quickly that his feet barely touch the ground— he doesn’t even get hurt.
4 Who makes these things happen? Who controls human events? I do! I am the Lord. I was there at the beginning; I will be there at the end. 5 Islands and foreign nations saw what I did and trembled as they came near.
What Can Idols Do?
6 Worshipers of idols comfort each other, saying, “Don’t worry!” 7 Woodcarvers, goldsmiths, and other workers[c] encourage one another and say, “We’ve done a great job!” Then they nail the idol down, so it won’t fall over.
The Lord’s Chosen Servant
8 Israel, you are my servant. I chose you, the family of my friend Abraham. 9 From far across the earth I brought you here and said, “You are my chosen servant. I haven’t forgotten you.”
10 Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories. 11 Everyone who hates you will be terribly disgraced; those who attack will vanish into thin air. 12 You will look around for those brutal enemies, but you won’t find them because they will be gone.
13 I am the Lord your God. I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
14 People of Israel, don’t worry, though others may say, “Israel is only a worm!” I am the holy God of Israel, who saves and protects you. 15 I will let you be like a log covered with sharp spikes.[d] You will grind and crush every mountain and hill[e] until they turn to dust. 16 A strong wind will scatter them in all directions. Then you will celebrate and praise me, your Lord, the holy God of Israel.
The Lord Helps the Poor
17 When the poor and needy are dying of thirst and cannot find water, I, the Lord God of Israel, will come to their rescue. I won’t forget them. 18 I will make rivers flow on mountain peaks. I will send streams to fill the valleys. Dry and barren land will flow with springs and become a lake. 19 I will fill the desert with all kinds of trees— cedars, acacias, and myrtles; olive and cypress trees; fir trees and pines. 20 Everyone will see this and know that I, the holy Lord God of Israel, created it all.
Idols Are Useless
21 I am the Lord, the King of Israel! Come argue your case with me. Present your evidence. 22 Come near me, you idols.[f] Tell us about the past, and we will think about it. Tell us about the future, so we will know what is going to happen. 23 Prove that you are gods by making your predictions come true. Do something good or evil, so we can be amazed and terrified.[g] 24 You idols are nothing, and you are powerless.[h] To worship you would be disgusting.
25 I, the Lord, appointed a ruler in the north; now he comes from the east to honor my name. He tramples[i] kings like mud, as potters trample clay.[j] 26 Did any of you idols predict what would happen? Did any of you get it right? None of you told about this or even spoke a word. 27 I was the first to tell the people of Jerusalem, “Look, it’s happening!”[k] I was the one who announced this good news to Zion.
28 None of these idols are able to give advice or answer questions. 29 They are nothing,[l] and they can do nothing— they are less than a passing breeze.
41.2ruler from the east: Probably Cyrus (see 44.28; 45.1; 48.14).
41.2Who puts. . . power: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.7and other workers: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.15I will let. . . sharp spikes: In ancient times a heavy object was sometimes dragged over wheat or barley to separate the grain from the husk. This was called threshing.
41.15mountain and hill: These stand for the power and pride of Israel’s enemies.
41.22Come near. . . idols: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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