41 The Lord says, “Faraway countries, listen to me. Let the nations become strong. Come to me and speak; we will meet together to decide who is right.
2 “Who caused the one to come from the east? Who gives him victories everywhere he goes? The one who brought him gives nations over to him and defeats kings. He uses his sword, and kings become like dust. He uses his bow, and they are blown away like chaff. 3 He chases them and is never hurt, going places he has never been before. 4 Who caused this to happen? Who has controlled history since the beginning? I, the Lord, am the one. I was here at the beginning, and I will be here when all things are finished.”
5 All you faraway places, look and be afraid; all you places far away on the earth, shake with fear. Come close and listen to me. 6 The workers help each other and say to each other, “Be strong!” 7 The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and the workman who smooths the metal with a hammer encourages the one who shapes the metal. He says, “This metal work is good.” He nails the statue to a base so it can’t fall over.
Only the Lord Can Save Us
8 The Lord says, “People of Israel, you are my servants. People of Jacob, I chose you. You are from the family of my friend Abraham. 9 I took you from places far away on the earth and called you from a faraway country. I said, ‘You are my servants.’ I have chosen you and have not turned against you. 10 So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you.
11 “All those people who are angry with you will be ashamed and disgraced. Those who are against you will disappear and be lost. 12 You will look for your enemies, but you will not find them. Those who fought against you will vanish completely. 13 I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, and I tell you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will help you.’ 14 You few people of Israel who are left, do not be afraid even though you are weak as a worm. I myself will help you,” says the Lord. “The one who saves you is the Holy One of Israel. 15 Look, I have made you like a new threshing board with many sharp teeth. So you will walk on mountains and crush them; you will make the hills like chaff. 16 You will throw them into the air, and the wind will carry them away; a windstorm will scatter them. Then you will be happy in the Lord; you will be proud of the Holy One of Israel.
17 “The poor and needy people look for water, but they can’t find any. Their tongues are dry with thirst. But I, the Lord, will answer their prayers; I, the God of Israel, will not leave them to die. 18 I will make rivers flow on the dry hills and springs flow through the valleys. I will change the desert into a lake of water and the dry land into fountains of water. 19 I will make trees grow in the desert— cedars, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees. I will put pine, fir, and cypress trees growing together in the desert. 20 People will see these things and understand; they will think carefully about these things and learn that the Lord’s power did this, that the Holy One of Israel made these things.”
The Lord Challenges False Gods
21 The Lord says, “Present your case.” The King of Jacob says, “Tell me your arguments. 22 Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Have them tell us what happened in the beginning. Then we will think about these things, and we will know how they will turn out. Or tell us what will happen in the future. 23 Tell us what is coming next so we will believe that you are gods. Do something, whether it is good or bad, and make us afraid. 24 You gods are less than nothing; you can’t do anything. Those who worship you should be hated.
25 “I have brought someone to come out of the north[a] I have called by name a man from the east, and he knows me. He walks on kings as if they were mud, just as a potter walks on the clay. 26 Who told us about this before it happened? Who told us ahead of time so we could say, ‘He was right’? None of you told us anything; none of you told us before it happened; no one heard you tell about it. 27 I, the Lord, was the first one to tell Jerusalem that the people were coming home. I sent a messenger to Jerusalem with the good news. 28 I look at the idols, but there is not one that can answer. None of them can give advice; none of them can answer my questions. 29 Look, all these idols are false. They cannot do anything; they are worth nothing.
41:25someone . . . north This probably means Cyrus, a king of Persia.
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