Isaiah 46


Isaiah the prophet lived during tumultuous times. Most prophets did as they were Gods’ spokesmen to the people of Israel. The times we live in are tumultuous, but the prophetic voices of those days are not found in the same way as we have today. Today, God speaks to us through His word primarily and uses mankind to communicate His heart to us.

One of the most important commandments to the children of Israel was “you will have no other gods before me”. The Hebrew nation had seen God work in magnificent ways. Not only preserving them as a people but guiding them through difficult times of slavery, instability and giving them power and prosperity during their history. Even though the greatness of God was evident and their status as God’s chosen people was clear, it was difficult for them not to assimilate to the world around them. One of those things that the people of Israel struggled with was idolatry. They were often drawn to inanimate objects as their source of worship. Today we find that as well. Even as God’s people we are drawn to objects that are lifeless or idolatrous activity which has no eternal value, purpose and certainly cannot assist us in the real issues of life. Many put their trust in academic pursuits and rationalize God and His purposes according to these. Politics, sports, celebrity or money and power are often idealized by many but at the end of it all, many realize it is an empty investment which serves only as a bitter lesson at times.

In the 46th chapter, Isaiah reminds us of two Babylonian deities that were valued by the Babylonian rulers. Many of the kings would place their names in their titles such Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar. They were sun gods and were worshipped with great pomp and ceremony; Greek mythology adopted some of these ancient gods and they were considered powerful by those who believed in them. Isaiah the prophet though, used satire to show how foolish it was to believe in these gods that had no life whatsoever. In verses 1 and 2 he mentions how these idols were carried by beasts of burden, meaning donkeys most likely. When Babylon was overthrown by Cyrus the Persian, his army plundered the city’s temples. The idols were carried off with the rest of the loot and placed on animals or carts. In other words, as a deity, they could not even defend themselves and were carted off into captivity just as the people themselves. Even if they were escaping from their enemies they would have to be carrying these idols with them. Isaiah says that they become a burden.

When we jump down to verse 6 we see how the people would take their gold and silver to a goldsmith who would fabricate the idol so that the individual could take it home to bow down and worship as his own personal idol. In verse 7 it shows how burdensome it can be even when the idol is in your own home. Isaiah continues with his satirical view saying “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”.

There are some things I wish to point out from this chapter. First of all from verses 3-5, Isaiah explains how God cares for His people. He says since they were conceived God had upheld them and had “carried them since their birth”, and right up to their old age He would be the one who would sustain them, carry them, and rescue them. In verse 5 he says; “to whom will you compare me or count me equal”? The idols of the Babylonians were not there to assist their owners in times of need; they became burdens. So the question before us today is, whom is  carrying who? Is our faith an uplift to us or a burden? Is God Himself a burden? Absolutely not. In the New Testament Jesus is depicted as the supreme burden bearer. In Isaiah 53, it was prophesied that “He has borne our sins and carried our sorrows”. In 1 Peter 5:7, Peter says that we can “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you”. It is tragic when people reverse our God given roles, for then we attempt to carry Him when God is committed to carrying us!

As I close....I urge you to look at verses 8 and 9. Isaiah writes “Remember this, fix it your in mind, take it to heart....I am God, and there is no one like me”. Are the things you worship burdensome or stationary? Worship God. There is no one like Him...He doesn’t gather dust.


By: Pastor David Jones