Isaiah 48

There seems to have been a party among the exiles that received God’s message concerning Cyrus with disfavor. God has already rebuked them more than once (45:9-13; 46:12, 13); and now in verses 1-11 of this chapter he answers an objection they seem to have raised that the teaching was novel, and not in accord with God’s usual procedure. He tells them that in spite of their rebellious attitude, he will carry out his plans.

  1. What does God condemn in the nominal religiosity of the Jews?
    Why did this cause God to announce his intentions beforehand (verses 3-5), and yet to keep some of his purposes hidden (verses 7, 8)?
    Do we grieve God by failing to acknowledge him, and to give him glory?
  2. Verses 17-22. What conditions does God lay down before we can experience the fullness of his grace and peace in our lives?

Notes

  1. Verses 3-6a. ‘The former things’: a reference to prophecies long foretold and now fulfilled; see also verse 5a. In verse 6b God acknowledges that he has now used a different method, keeping back the revelation of his intended action until just before it happened, but in this also he had a purpose (verse 7).
  2. Verse 10. ‘Though not as silver’: a phrase that seems to express the divine sorrow that the refining process had not given a better result, such as happens when silver is refined. Cf. Jer. 6:29, 30.
  3. Verse 14. ‘All of you’ refers to Israel; ‘which of the idols’ to the nations’ idols; and ‘the Lord’s chosen ally’ to Cyrus.