Isaiah 48:1–22 (NKJV)
48:1 “Hear this, O house of Jacob,
Who are called by the name of Israel,
And have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah;
Who swear by the name of the LORD,
And make mention of the God of Israel,
But not in truth or in righteousness;
2 For they call themselves after the holy city,
And lean on the God of Israel;
The LORD of hosts is His name:
3 “I have declared the former things from the beginning;
They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it.
Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4 Because I knew that you were obstinate,
And your neck was an iron sinew,
And your brow bronze,
5 Even from the beginning I have declared it to you;
Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you,
Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them,
And my carved image and my molded image
Have commanded them.’
6 “You have heard;
See all this.
And will you not declare it?
I have made you hear new things from this time,
Even hidden things, and you did not know them.
7 They are created now and not from the beginning;
And before this day you have not heard them,
Lest you should say, ‘Of course I knew them.’
8 Surely you did not hear,
Surely you did not know;
Surely from long ago your ear was not opened.
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
And were called a transgressor from the womb.
In this chapter, Isaiah shares the word of the Lord concerning His dealings with Israel. In verses 1 – 8, He declares that because of their obstinance and sin, they were not really of God, simply using His name. So God declared new things unto them, so that no one could say that they knew them all along. Instead, the things God declared to Israel were spoken before by no one. He has firmly established that He is God.
9 “For My name’s sake I will defer My anger,
And for My praise I will restrain it from you,
So that I do not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.
Beginning in verse 9, God reaches out to them in mercy, telling them that He will defer His anger so that they are not cut off, but has determined to refine them by affliction. He plans to end the profaning of His name.
12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob,
And Israel, My called:
I am He, I am the First,
I am also the Last.
13 Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth,
And My right hand has stretched out the heavens;
When I call to them,
They stand up together.
14 “All of you, assemble yourselves, and hear!
Who among them has declared these things?
The LORD loves him;
He shall do His pleasure on Babylon,
And His arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken;
Yes, I have called him,
I have brought him, and his way will prosper.
16 “Come near to Me, hear this:
I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
From the time that it was, I was there.
And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit
Have sent Me.”
17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.”
Verses 12 – 19 are a call to repentance. The Lord again declares His sovereignty and superiority as God, calling Himself the First and the Last, the Creator, the Lord of the earth. He moves on to call the people of Jacob to attention and announce His judgment on Babylon. He shares His regret that Israel did not obey His commandments, and thus suffered the consequences, and mourns over what could have been.
20 Go forth from Babylon!
Flee from the Chaldeans!
With a voice of singing,
Declare, proclaim this,
Utter it to the end of the earth;
Say, “The LORD has redeemed
His servant Jacob!”
21 And they did not thirst
When He led them through the deserts;
He caused the waters to flow from the rock for them;
He also split the rock, and the waters gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”
His final words in verses 20-22 instructs His people to go forth from Babylon singing, for the Lord has redeemed them. He will supply food and water, and take them back to their homes. However, there will be no peace for the wicked.
In whatever place and condition you find yourself, understand that many factors can be named. Sometimes your sin gets you into trouble. If that is your case, confess and repent and ask God for your redemption. Sometimes, Satan simply attacks you to keep you from reaching your God-given destiny. If so, rise up in the name of Jesus and rebuke the enemy. Be victorious and fulfill God’s calling anyway. Sometimes, we face hardship as a test of our faith. Keep moving and never fail. God is with you!