1 Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.
2 For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is his name.
3 I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.
4 Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;
5 I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.
6 Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.
7 They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.
8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.
The first verse is explicit! God calls to Jacob, the House of Israel telling them that while they just pretend to use the name of the LORD (Heb. yhwh-יהוה), they do so in vain, or falsely! All who use God’s name without a relationship with Christ Jesus are profaning the name of the LORD!
Some say they are “the chosen!” They claim Jerusalem, but they are far from His people! Both Jews and Muslims claim to be “chosen!” They both claim Jerusalem! But, both orthodox Jews and Muslims deny Christ, thereby declaring themselves to be ineligible for the blessing of salvation!
Jews shall eventually accept Christ as the Messiah, while Muslims will deny Him until they are faced with the reality of the Lake of Fire!
God says, “I have declared the former things from the beginning!” Those declarations went forth!
God begins the Bible with the words, “In the beginning (Heb. Bereshith-בְּרֵאשִׁית) which may also be translated, “By the Firstfruit”! If Israel believed the Covenant, they would turn to Christ Jesus!
God has openly published the declaration so that none (Jew or Gentile) would have an excuse! He did that prophetically, and the Lord’s prophecies have either come to pass, or are coming to pass as your read this!
God knew that Israel would be an “obstinate” people, and yet He chose them to show His loving mercy! To show mercy to one who is always obedient is not considered difficult! To show love to the loveable is not the issue. In Israel and the Church, God has shown His love to the unlovable by the death of His Son on the cross!
The LORD is not found in man-made idols!
In fact, if I may be somewhat controversial, the LORD is not “found” at all! Isaiah, as is obvious, was written under the Old Covenant economy. At the cross the New Covenant was instituted.
Under the Old Covenant, Men’s efforts seemed to be what brought him close to God. But under the New, it is obvious that God’s choice beings man close to God! God’s grace affects both the Old and New Covenants, but is explicit in the New!
As I said, verse 5 in Isaiah 48 finds its basis in the first words of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”…“By the Firstfruits God created the heaven and the earth!”
John’s gospel confirms the later translation.
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
But the heathen says, “My idols have done those things!” They believe a lie!
Prior to the choosing of Abraham, God knew that his descendents would not follow the way God had prepared for them.
Look at verse 9.
9 For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.
10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.
14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.
God declared that He would “defer” (Heb. ʾārak-אָרַךְ) His anger. That is good translated of an idiomatic expression.
The English meaning expressed is correct. God declares that He will do all this for His own sake, and for His own sake He will not cut off Israel!
That is God’s decision!
What we have seen in Israel all these centuries is a refining process! God chose Israel and is refining them in the “furnace of affliction.”
God repeats the phrase, “For mine own sake” for emphasis!
In verse 12, God calls Himself the “first” and the “last”. Christ Jesus, God the Son is the Alpha and Omega!
God declares that His “Hand” laid the foundation of the earth, and His “right Hand” set forth the heavens!
John 1:3 All things were made by him [Christ Jesus]; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
He commands all to hear what He has declared!
The Father has loved the Son, and He will accomplish all His pleasure! He called, appointed salvation to come and He shall make it prosper!
16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.
18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:
19 Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me.
20 Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.
21 And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.
22 There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.
Look about at all God has done! It is not secret to those who have eyes to see! Unfortunately most are still blind to the salvation that is found in Christ Jesus!
From the beginning Christ Jesus was appointed as the Savior of the world!
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
The LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel affirmed, “I am the LORD thy God which teaches you to profit (Heb yāʿal- יָעַל). That has been misinterpreted in most circles! It has been polluted by the prophets of profit. God teaches Israel to be useful in His Kingdom! The Hebrew refers to ascension (i.e. to be of value)! It has NOTHING to do with monetary gain! The reference is to tell us to be of value to God!
Such is explained in the next phrase, “which leads you in the way that you should go.” God teaches us for our profit, our own benefit! This profit has little or nothing to do with financial income!
Isaiah continues by speaking the words of God to Israel. “O that you had listened and obeyed My commandments!” As we look at the commandments, we first come to the first commandment. When we obey that first of the Ten, all others will also be obeyed. If we do not obey the first commandment, we cannot obey all the others.
When we obey the first, it shall be as if peace and righteousness overtake us, and completely surrounds us as water does when we walk into it!
Verse 19a repeats a theme that has been given for millennia. “Our offspring will be as sand, and our inward parts shall function perfectly! In modern language, the inward part refers to the heart.
Look at the first Commandment as referenced by Christ Jesus:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
In 19b we find that when the commandment is followed, the result is that “his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before Me.”
All Christians follow the Commandments by virtue of imputation. Christ has fulfilled them, and by being baptized into Christ, we have that as a result of it being imputed to us! We do not obey the letter of the commandment, but instead we focus on the spirit of the commandment!
When you study the commandments, you will not find the word “saved” or “salvation!” Salvation is not found in the Commandments! It is found only on the person of Christ Jesus!
Verse 20 tells all who would be saved to leave Babylon, or go from Babylon. We are told to “flee” from the Chaldeans. God’s people are not to partake of the life style of those who oppose Christ!
We are to sing, trumpet, declare that Yahweh (Heb. יהוה) has “redeemed His servant Jacob.”
Notice the tense used. In God’s plan that has already happened. Again, His plan shall not be altered by men!
When we walk through dry and sin filled places He will supply all we need! Isaiah refers back to the time when God caused the rock to bring forth water when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness.
That happened due to God’s loving care for the Israelites.
To those who call upon God, He hears, but to those who deny Him, there is no peace!
We are called to “Be still” (Heb. rāpâ-רָפָה), or stop struggling!
Are you struggling again God?