Isaiah 46

1 Bel bows down. Nebo stoops. Their idols are carried by animals, and on the livestock. The things that you carried around are heavy loads, a burden for the weary. 2 They stoop and they bow down together. They could not deliver the burden, but they have gone into captivity. 3 “Listen to me, house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, that have been carried from their birth, that have been carried from the womb. 4 Even to old age I am he, and even to grey hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear. Yes, I will carry, and will deliver. 5 “To whom will you liken me, and consider my equal, and compare me, that we may be equal? 6 Some pour out gold from the bag, and weigh silver in the balance. They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god. They fall down— yes, they worship. 7 They bear it on their shoulder. They carry it, and set it in its place, and it stands there. It cannot move from its place. Yes, one may cry to it, yet it can not answer. It cannot save him out of his trouble. 8 “Remember this, and show yourselves men. Bring it to mind again, you transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done. I say: my counsel will stand, and I will do all that I please. 11 I call a ravenous bird from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. Yes, I have spoken. I will also bring it to pass. I have planned. I will also do it. 12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, who are far from righteousness! 13 I bring my righteousness near. It is not far off, and my salvation will not wait. I will grant salvation to Zion, my glory to Israel.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-4

The heathen insulted the Jews, as if their idols Bel and Nebo were too hard for Jehovah. But their worshippers cannot help them; both the idols and the idolaters are gone into captivity. Let not God’s people be afraid of either. Those things from which ungodly men expect safety and happiness, will be found unable to save them from death and hell. The true God will never fail his worshippers. The history of the life of every believer is a kind of abstract of the history of Israel. Our spiritual life is upheld by his grace, as constantly as our natural life by his providence. And God will never leave them. The Author will be the Finisher of their well-being, when, by decays, they need help as much as in infancy. This promise to Israel, enfeebled and grown old as a nation, is applicable to every aged follower of Christ. When compassed about with infirmities, and perhaps those around begin to grow weary of you, yet I am He that I have promised to be, He that you would have me to be. I will bear you up; carry you on in your way, and carry you home at last. If we learn to trust in and love him, we need not be anxious about our remaining days or years; he will still provide for us and watch over us, both as the creatures of his power, and as new-created by his Spirit.

Verses 5-13

Here the folly of those who made idols, and then prayed to them, is exposed. How does the profuseness of idolaters shame the niggardliness of many who call themselves God’s servants, but are for a religion which costs them nothing! The service of sin always costs a great deal. God puts it to them what senseless, helpless things idols are. Let, then, the Jews show themselves men, avoiding such abominations. Many Scripture prophecies, delivered long ago, are not yet fulfilled; but the fulfilling of some is an earnest that the rest will come to pass. Nothing can help more to make us easy, than to be assured that God will do all his pleasure. Even those who know not and mind not God’s revealed will, are called and used to fulfil the counsels of his secret will. Heaven and earth shall pass away, sooner than one tittle of the word of God. Obstinate sinners are addressed. Such were far from acceptance, but they were summoned to hearken to the word of the Lord. The salvation of a sinner begins with a humble and contrite heart, that trembles at God’s word, with godly sorrow working true repentance, and faith in his mercy, through the obedience unto death of our Divine Surety. Christ, as the Divine righteousness and salvation to his people, would come in the appointed time. His salvation abides in his church for all believers.

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