Friday, March 7, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 46

I wanted to interject on a personal note first that this week has been an absolutely amazing week in terms of God revealing his word to me here in Isaiah. It has been incredible to see how documented history has interacted with the actual Word of God. We will see more of that today in Isaiah, chapter 46 as the prophet continues talk about the impending Babylonian exile. Today's passage focuses once again on the weakness of the Babylonian gods and how they were powerless to do anything in the face of God. It is another prophetic vision involving Cyrus the Great and how God used him to accomplish his aims as well. There is an interesting note I found about this that helps give credence to the theory that Isaiah wrote this section. Cyrus the Great is referred to as a bird of prey in this prophetic writing. It is documented that he had an Eagle depicted on a royal banner, so it could have been one of the visions Isaiah saw.

5 "To whom will you compare me or count me equal?
       To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?

 6 Some pour out gold from their bags
       and weigh out silver on the scales;
       they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
       and they bow down and worship it.

 7 They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
       they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
       From that spot it cannot move.
       Though one cries out to it, it does not answer;
       it cannot save him from his troubles.

 8 "Remember this, fix it in mind,
       take it to heart, you rebels.

 9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
       I am God, and there is no other;
       I am God, and there is none like me. – Isaiah 46:5-9

Wednesday's writing on chapter 44 took on a very similar message to this. In both cases it is not so much the physical objects that we have in our lives, but the importance that we attach to them that makes them false gods. There is a certain amount of absurdity in attaching godly characteristics to something that is manmade. That is what the Babylonians are guilty of here and it is the cause of their downfall. Idols are not limited to physical objects either, as they can be anyone or anything that becomes more important to us than God.

A disturbing example occurred earlier this week when LeBron James had a great night for the Cleveland Caveliers. James scored 50 points, had 10 assists, and 8 rebounds in an all-around incredible game, but what was disturbing was the actions of a fan near the end of the game. A fan came on the court and risked arrest and prosecution just to talk to James and be his presence. One writer, Dan Shanoff, described the event as such:

(Of course, the big night in Gotham prompted instant speculation about LeBron's fit as a future New York Knick or Brooklyn Net. The former is wishful thinking, the latter is quality conspiracy theory. LeBron laughed it off, as easily as he did the scary-but-not-really fan who ran on the court to touch King James' hem. Laugh ... for now.) – Dan Shanoff

To me, that is creepy about touching the hem of King James, and it is disturbing to attribute Christ-like characteristics to a mere basketball player. Isaiah 46 serves as a warning against such false idols because Babylon was a great society. They stood in the face of God, however, and were erased from the earth.


  1. What are your thoughts on the LeBron James comparison?
  2. How is Cyrus the Great a bird of prey?
  3. What would Babylon think about this if they received a copy in advance?

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