The Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah. The text is Isaiah 44:6-8 and forms a small but important portion of chapter 44 which could be titled, “Against the Idols.” In the first part of this chapter, the LORD God identifies Himself and reminds the people of Israel/Jacob who He is. He uses both creation and covenantal language to do this. We also have a nice “Trinitarian” formula beginning in verse 3, “I will pour out my Spirit…,” and then verse 6, “…the LORD, the King… and His Redeemer, the LORD of hosts.” After our reading, the chapter moves into a confrontation toward idolatry and its foolishness. I believe it is important to note how the prophecy first takes great pains to identify who God is before it confronts idolatry. In the sermon outline, I have begun my sermon with this opening statement: “If you don’t know who your God is, you won’t know what your idols are.”
The LORD “trash talking” the false gods/idols is nothing new. The ten plagues of Egypt are God’s way of showing the foolishness of the gods of Egypt. Elijah’s battle with the priests of Baal and Asherah on Mt. Carmel is another good example. Idolatry makes no sense… unless in creating your own god(s) it allows you to be a god!
Verse 6 begins with a series of divine titles for the LORD. Lessing writes in his Isaiah 40-55 commentary in the Concordia series:
“Here Yahweh is the King of Israel, the nation’s Redeemer, the Commander of armies, and the first and the last. These names form the foundation for the rest of the section as Yahweh asserts, he is the only God, period. Monotheism could not be stated with any more clarity. The real power of the universe exists outside of it. Authority resides with the Creator, not within creation” (p. 343).
In verse 7 the ordering/appointing of an ancient people occurred first at creation, and then in the covenant, and finally, in the new covenant. All this is God ordered, God appointed because: “Yahweh is the ONLY GOD!”
All this is God ordered, God appointed because: “Yahweh is the ONLY GOD!”
44:6 וְגֹאֲלוֹ> (ve-go-a-Lo) “Redeemer; the One who redeems”
רִאשׁוֹן וַאֲנִי אַחֲרוֹן (ri-shOn va-a-Ni a-cha-Ron) “the first and the last”
וּמִבַּלְעָדַי (u-mib-bal-a-Dai) “apart from; except from; without”
44:7 וּמִי-כָמוֹנִי (u-mi cha-Mo-ni) “For who is like me? Who is like me?” Rhetorical question!
וְיַגִּידֶהָ (ve-yag-gi-De-ha) root: נגד (naw-gad) Hiphil, jussive: “to tell; to announce; to declare; to proclaim” Let him…
וְיַעְרְכֶהָ (ve-ya-re-Che-ha) root: ערךְ (aw-rak) Qal, jussive: “to recount in order; to confront; to lay it out; to set before”
וְאֹתִיּוֹת> (ve-o-ti-Yot) root: אתה (aw-thaw) Qal: “to come”
יַגִּידוּ: (yag-Gi-du) root: נגד (naw-gad) Hiphil, imperfect used as a jussive: “to declare; to proclaim; to tell”
לָמוֹ (la-mo) “to them; for them”
44:8 תִּפְחֲדוּ (tif-cha-Du) root: פחד (paw-kkad) Qal: “to be startled; to be in dread; to be afraid”
תִּרְהוּ (tir-Hu) root: רהה (raw-haw) Qal: “to be paralyzed with fear” Hapax Legomenon
עֵדָיe (e-Dai) “witness”
אֱלוֹהַּ/ (e-Lo-ah) “God”
צוּר. (tzur) “rock; Rock”
בַּל; (bal) Negating particle: “not”
Theme: Who is Your God?
Opening statement: “If you do not know who your God is, you will not know what your idols are.”
- God’s Identity… He who is.
- Creator of the world.
- Redeemer from the Fall—the Rock of Salvation.
- None are like Him who appointed His people (covenant)
- The Idols… they are not.
- Those made with human hands—man creates his gods.
- Man covenants with; seeks out homemade gods.
- Man fashions gods in his image.
- They are made out of wood and stone, but they are not THE ROCK.
- Your Idols… they are not.
- What have our hands made?
- Saving stuff
- Perceived power
- Control of chaos
- What manner of relationship have we created with our gods?
- When a man controls the gods, they are not gods—WE ARE.
- What have our hands made?
- Your God… He who is!
- Creator; Sustainer
- The Redeemer; the Rock
- The King who is coming.
Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Isaiah 44:6-8.
Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Isaiah 44:6-8.