Isaiah 41
Contemporary English Version

The Lord Controls Human Events

1Be silent and listen,

every island in the sea.

Have courage and come near,

every one of you nations.

Let's settle this matter!

2Who appointed this ruler

from the east?+

Who puts nations and kings

in his power?+

His sword and his arrows

turn them to dust

blown by the wind.

3He goes after them so quickly

that his feet

barely touch the ground—

he doesn't even get hurt.

4Who makes these things happen?

Who controls human events?

I do! I am the Lord.

I was there at the beginning;

I will be there at the end.

5Islands and foreign nations

saw what I did and trembled

as they came near.

What Can Idols Do?

6Worshipers of idols

comfort each other,

saying, “Don't worry!”

7Woodcarvers, goldsmiths,

and other workers+

encourage one another and say,

“We've done a great job!”

Then they nail the idol down,

so it won't fall over.

The Lord's Chosen Servant

8 Israel, you are my servant.

I chose you, the family

of my friend Abraham.

9From far across the earth

I brought you here and said,

“You are my chosen servant.

I haven't forgotten you.”

10Don't be afraid. I am with you.

Don't tremble with fear.

I am your God.

I will make you strong,

as I protect you with my arm

and give you victories.

11Everyone who hates you

will be terribly disgraced;

those who attack

will vanish into thin air.

12You will look around

for those brutal enemies,

but you won't find them—

they will be gone.

13I am the Lord your God.

I am holding your hand,

so don't be afraid.

I am here to help you.

14People of Israel, don't worry,

though others may say,

“Israel is only a worm!”

I am the holy God of Israel,

who saves and protects you.

15I will let you be like a log

covered with sharp spikes.+

You will grind and crush

every mountain and hill+

until they turn to dust.

16A strong wind will scatter them

in all directions.

Then you will celebrate

and praise me, your Lord,

the holy God of Israel.

The Lord Helps the Poor

17When the poor and needy

are dying of thirst

and cannot find water,

I, the Lord God of Israel,

will come to their rescue.

I won't forget them.

18I will make rivers flow

on mountain peaks.

I will send streams

to fill the valleys.

Dry and barren land

will flow with springs

and become a lake.

19I will fill the desert

with all kinds of trees—

cedars, acacias, and myrtles;

olive and cypress trees;

fir trees and pines.

20Everyone will see this

and know that I,

the holy Lord God of Israel,

created it all.

Idols Are Useless

21I am the Lord,

the King of Israel!

Come argue your case with me.

Present your evidence.

22Come near me, you idols.+

Tell us about the past,

and we will think about it.

Tell us about the future,

so we will know

what is going to happen.

23Prove that you are gods

by making your predictions

come true.

Do something good or evil,

so we can be amazed

and terrified.+

24You idols are nothing,

and you are powerless.+

To worship you

would be disgusting.

25I, the Lord, appointed a ruler

in the north;

now he comes from the east

to honor my name.

He tramples+ kings like mud,

as potters trample clay.+

26Did any of you idols predict

what would happen?

Did any of you get it right?

None of you told about this

or even spoke a word.

27I was the first to tell

the people of Jerusalem,

“Look, it's happening!”+

I was the one who announced

this good news to Zion.

28None of these idols

are able to give advice

or answer questions.

29They are nothing,+

and they can do nothing—

they are merely

a passing breeze.


41.2 ruler from the east: Probably Cyrus (see 44.28; 45.1; 48.14).
41.2 Who puts … power: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.7 and other workers: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.15 I will let … sharp spikes: In ancient times a heavy object was sometimes dragged over wheat or barley to separate the grain from the husk. This was called threshing.
41.15 mountain and hill: These stand for the power and pride of Israel's enemies.
41.22 Come near … idols: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.23 and terrified: Or “when we see it.”
41.24 powerless: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.25 tramples: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.25 trample clay: This was done to soften the clay and make it easier to shape.
41.27 Look … happening: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.29 nothing: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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