Isaiah 46


The theme continues into chapter 46 which is to identify God as supreme.

He is the creator and so he is separate from the creation.

This fact gives him the ability to:

1)      control history

2)      help those who live in the world including salvation

3)      exist independently of creation with out the assistance of creation


All other god’s come from creation and are, in fact, parts of God’s creation shaped and formed by man which makes them creations of men.

These god’s (idols) are bound by creation and limited even more than man.

They do not have the ability to:

1)      control anything let alone history itself

2)      move themselves let alone help mankind who is in need

3)      exist without men and animals supporting them let alone exist independently of creation


45:14 – 46:13 is made up of four parts that makes it clear that God and God alone has the ability to save Israel.

a)      45:14-19, Yahweh is the savior of Israel

b)      45:20-25, Yahweh is the savior of the nations (world)

c)      46:1-7, Yahweh compared to the idols. Sums up Yahweh is supreme.

d)      46:8-13,



God compares himself to the idols.

The idols are made by mans:

a)      man’s will

b)      man’s materials

c)      man’s skill




Bel and Nebo were the two chief gods of Bablylon



“Bel” means “lord” and is a title.



The title “Bel” (“lord”) was given to the god Enlil who was the father of the gods in the Babylonian pantheon.  Nippur (100 miles SE of Baghdad) was the center of Enlil or Bel worship.






Marduk was the city god of Babylon.

Marduk’s historic acts are recorded in the Babylonian creation epic.

Eventually the title “Bel” went to Marduk



Nebo was Marduk’s (Bel’s) son.

Nebo was a wise administrator.

He was the god of learning, writing and astronomy

The center of Nebo worship was in Borsippa (10 miles south of Babylon)

Nebo’s name can be found in these names:

a)      Nabopoloassar (Nebuchadnezzar’s father)

b)      Nebuchadezzar

c)      Nebuzaradin (Nebucahezzar’s general who destroyed Jerusalem)

d)      Nabonidus (the last king of Babylon who shared his reign with belshazzar)


Bel’s name can be seen in:

a)      Belshazzar

b)      Belteshazzar /”lord, protect his life”/ (Daniel’s Babylonian name)


“stoops”, “bows down” refer to these god’s being placed into carts and taken into captivity themselves.  No longer are they honored in parades.



Large images of these gods where carried in processions especially on the Babylonian New Year’s Day


These images are heavy for man and animal to bear

The Point:  How can they be of any use if they are such a burden?


Worshipping Creation

Romans 1

These gods are clearly part of the created world.

Yet men worship them. 

Men seek help and direction from idols that are bound to creation.

The decline:

1)      Creator is confused with creation

2)      creation is worshipped and treated as god

3)      The Creator’s purpose is lost and can not be found by seeking answers from creation.

4)      Without the Creator and his purpose man’s existence is meaningless and life becomes more and more difficult and confusing.

5)      Man, who needs to be saved from the fall is trapped and transformation (salvation) is impossible.


Israel is addressed by God.

God asks them, “When did you carry me?”  I, unlike the idols, have been carrying you since the founding of the nation

  • Exodus 19:4
  • Deut. 1:31
  • Deut. 32:11
  • Psalm 28:9



God’s plan was to continue to carry them until they were old

God uses terms like “sustain”, “carry”, “rescue”


If idols have to be carried by man then how can they create, sustain, carry and rescue their worshipper.

It is obvious that man has to create, sustain, carry and rescue their gods.

Consider Dagon in 1 Samuel.


The point God is making here is that he alone is the one who can rescue people.

When people need help it is only God, the creator, who can help.


Notice the “I AM” of Exodus who is the self-existent and self-dependent one identifies himself in this verse six times



Obviously there is no comparison



The ridiculous picture of worshipping something so helpless and worthless

Verse 7 still is using the imagery of carrying the burden of the idol instead of worshipping the true God who will carry you.

Idols can not answer, but God does.

Idols can not save from trouble, but God does.



This is the last of the four sections that began in 44:23

This sums up everything from even from 40:1.


Israel is told that there is only one hope, one way out, only one God.

God has showed them this truth in history by:

1)      Manifesting himself in time

2)      Announcing through the prophets what he will do.


God now does this one more time.  He again announces the coming of Cyrus who will manifest God’s deliverance in time for Israel.


The point Isaiah has been making through chapters 40-46 is that God is going to move on Israel’s behalf, but will they respond with faith.  Will they be able to wait in hope and trust their God?



God calls his people rebels because they have been choosing idols instead of him.

He tells them to remember his lesson that has been repeated over the last 7 chapters.

He then repeats it in verse 9



Remember God’s works and his fulfilled words going all the way back to creation.

There is no other God able to compete with him



1-God announces things through his prophets

2-God does things in history that he said he would.

His motto: My purpose will stand; I do what I want.  No one else can do this.



He repeats his promise of the coming of Cyrus (“a bird of prey”, “a man from a far off land.”)


“bird of prey” refers to Cyrus descending on Babylon like an eagle on a rabbit



1)      “said” refers to what he has spoken through the prophets

2)      “planned” refers to God interacting and controlling history through his mighty works.


Stubborn hearted and righteous are opposites here.

A righteous act here would be the same thing as Abraham in Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

God addresses his people to whom he has revealed himself.

They have received the word.  Now they simple have to believe it.

It is not a leap of faith since it is so obviously true. 

Why do they not believe?  They have stubborn hearts.



This is a call to believe and be saved.

To continue to doubt is no longer an apologetic issue or a lack of evidence.

Faith never was intended to be “blind faith” or require the “leap of faith”


To reject God of Israel and choose an other God is open rebellion no matter how you   describe it or disguise it.

Numbers 14:1-10 saw this same attitude arise at Kadesh-barnea.  They saw but they did not think God could do it.