44 “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 This is what the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you says, ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And Jeshurun (Israel, the upright one) whom I have chosen. 3 ‘For I will pour out water on him who is thirsty, And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants; 4 And they will spring up among the grass Like willows by the streams of water.’ 5 “One will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; And another will name himself after Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘I am the Lord’s,’ And be called by the [honorable] name of Israel.
6 “For the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts says this,
‘I am the First and I am the Last; And there is no God besides Me. 7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim it and declare it; Yes, let him confront Me, Since I established the people of antiquity. And let them [those supposed gods] tell those people [who foolishly follow them] the things to come And the events that are going to take place. 8 ‘Do not tremble nor be afraid [of the violent upheavals to come]; Have I not long ago proclaimed it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? There is no other Rock; I know of none.’”
The Folly of Idolatry
9 All who make carved idols are nothing. Their precious objects are worthless [to them], and their own witnesses (worshipers) fail to see or know, so that they will be put to shame. 10 Who has made a god or cast an idol which is profitable for nothing? 11 In fact, all his companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men. Let them all assemble, let them stand up, let them be terrified, let them together be put to shame.
12 The ironsmith shapes iron and uses a chisel and works it over the coals. He forms the [idol’s] core with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He also becomes hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and grows tired. 13 The carpenter stretches out a measuring line, he marks out the shape [of the idol] with red chalk; he works it with planes and outlines it with the compass; and he makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, that it may sit in a house. 14 He cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak and lets it grow strong for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also kindles a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god [from the same wood] and worships it. He makes it into a carved idol [with his own hands] and falls down and worships it! 16 He burns half of the wood in the fire; over this half he [cooks and] eats meat, he roasts meat and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” 17 But from what is left of the wood he makes a god, his carved idol. He falls down before it, he worships it and prays to it and says, “Save me, for you are my god.”
18 They do not know, nor do they understand, for God has muddied their eyes so that they cannot see, and their hearts (minds) as well so that they cannot understand. 19 No one remembers, nor has knowledge and understanding [enough] to say [to himself], “I have burned half of this log in the fire, and also baked bread on its coals and have roasted meat and eaten it. Then I make the rest of it into an repulsive thing [to God]; I bow down [to worship] before a block of wood!” 20 That kind of man (the idolater) feeds on ashes [and is satisfied with ashes]! A deceived mind has led him astray, so that he cannot save himself, or ask, “Is this thing [that I am holding] in my right hand not a lie?”
God Forgives and Redeems
21 “Remember [the foolishness of] these things, O Jacob And Israel, for you are My servant! I formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me. 22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” 23 Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout in triumph, you depths of the earth; Break forth into jubilant rejoicing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, And He shows His glory in Israel.
24 For the Lord, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb says this,
“I am the Lord, Maker of all things, Who alone stretches out the heavens, Who spreads out the earth [a]by Myself, 25 Frustrating the signs and confounding the omens of boasters (false prophets), Making fools out of [b]fortune-tellers, Counteracting the wise And making their knowledge ridiculous, 26 Confirming the word of His servant And carrying out the plan of His messengers. It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall [again] be inhabited!’ And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall [again] be built.’ And I will raise up and restore her ruins. 27 “It is I who says to the deep, ‘Be dried up!’ And I will make your rivers dry. 28 “It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd (ruler), And he will carry out all that I desire—’ Saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall [again] be built,’ And of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall [again] be laid.’”
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