SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
44:1 “Now, listen, Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!”
2 This is what the Lord, the one who made you, says—
the one who formed you in the womb and helps you:
“Don’t be afraid, my servant Jacob,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the parched ground
and cause streams to flow on the dry land.
I will pour my Spirit on your offspring
and my blessing on your children.
4 They will sprout up like a tree in the grass,
like poplars beside channels of water.
5 One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord,’
and another will use the name ‘Jacob.’
One will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and use the name ‘Israel.’”
6 This is what the Lord, Israel’s King, says,
their Protector, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies:
“I am the first and I am the last,
there is no God but me.
7 Who is like me? Let him make his claim!
Let him announce it and explain it to me—
since I established an ancient people—
let them announce future events.
8 Don’t panic! Don’t be afraid!
Did I not tell you beforehand and decree it?
You are my witnesses! Is there any God but me?
There is no other sheltering rock; I know of none.
9 All who form idols are nothing;
the things in which they delight are worthless.
Their witnesses cannot see;
they recognize nothing, so they are put to shame.
10 Who forms a god and casts an idol
that will prove worthless?
11 Look, all his associates will be put to shame;
the craftsmen are mere humans.
Let them all assemble and take their stand.
They will panic and be put to shame.
12 A blacksmith works with his tool
and forges metal over the coals.
He forms it with hammers;
he makes it with his strong arm.
He gets hungry and loses his energy;
he drinks no water and gets tired.
13 A carpenter takes measurements;
he marks out an outline of its form;
he scrapes it with chisels
and marks it with a compass.
He patterns it after the human form,
like a well-built human being,
and puts it in a shrine.
14 He cuts down cedars
and acquires a cypress or an oak.
He gets trees from the forest;
he plants a cedar and the rain makes it grow.
15 A man uses it to make a fire;
he takes some of it and warms himself.
Yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
Then he makes a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of it he burns in the fire—
over that half he cooks meat;
he roasts a meal and fills himself.
Yes, he warms himself and says,
‘Ah! I am warm as I look at the fire.’
17 With the rest of it he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships it.
He prays to it, saying,
‘Rescue me, for you are my god!’
18 They do not comprehend or understand,
for their eyes are blind and cannot see;
their minds do not discern.
19 No one thinks to himself,
nor do they comprehend or understand and say to themselves:
‘I burned half of it in the fire—
yes, I baked bread over the coals;
I roasted meat and ate it.
With the rest of it should I make a disgusting idol?
Should I bow down to dry wood?’
20 He feeds on ashes;
his deceived mind misleads him.
He cannot rescue himself,
nor does he say, ‘Is this not a false god I hold in my right hand?’
21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
O Israel, for you are my servant.
I formed you to be my servant;
O Israel, I will not forget you!
22 I remove the guilt of your rebellious deeds as if they were a cloud,
the guilt of your sins as if they were a cloud.
Come back to me, for I protect you.”
23 Shout for joy, O sky, for the Lord intervenes;
shout out, you subterranean regions of the earth.
O mountains, give a joyful shout;
you too, O forest and all your trees!
For the Lord protects Jacob;
he reveals his splendor through Israel.