Daily Bible Reading for February 21, 2014, with Commentary: Isaiah 40-44
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Context and Meaning: An overarching theme of today's reading is the increasing condemnation of idolatry. You will notice a shift in the writing by Isaiah. No longer is he prophesying the destruction of other nations. Isaiah begins by addressing the survivors of Babylonian captivity, an event which has not yet happened. God will give comfort to His people. He is the Creator of everything, the Sustainer of strength and the Savior of all who place their faith in Him. Chapter 41 contrasts the greatness of God with the weakness of man. Trusting or relying on anything other than the Lord God leads to confusion and false answers. Chapter 42 predicts the coming of the Messiah and condemns those who trust in idols. Israel is blind because they have turned from worshipping the Lord to worshipping idols. In chapter 43, God reminds the listeners that He created the Israelites and redeemed them in the past. So long as they worship the Lord they will be blessed. In a familiar theme, the destruction of Babylon is predicted. Chapter 44 is a continuation of chapter 43, which ends with a dark image of coming judgment. Chapter 44 offers hope and promise of God's Kingdom, which is yet to come. There is reassurance that Israel is the chosen nation. Isaiah also proclaims the foolishness of worshipping idols. Anything which takes us away from the Lord God is an idol.
World History: Isaiah is no longer addressing events that are happening or will happen soon. Now, Isaiah is look approximately 150 years into the future. During this time, Babylon, under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar, has defeated Jerusalem and taken the Jews into captivity. Babylon defeated Jerusalem in 586 BC.