God formed Israel (vv. 1-8) and man formed idols to worship. Verses 9-20 talks about the creation of idols.
This is a Bible Study. Have your own Bible handy to look up the references mentioned.
If you do not have a Bible, I invite you to go to BibleGateway.com or another online Bible.
1. “Israel is identified as God’s nation by the fact that they were the people that God ‘chose’ to be a holy nation with which he would dwell (Exodus 19:5-6).” (Smith, Gary V., The New American Commentary, Volume 15B, Isaiah 40-66. [Nashville, B & H Publishing Group, 2009], 219)
2. “Having identified his audience as ‘my servant’ and ‘chosen one,’ God now explains (a) some of his other relationships to his people and (b) how this will make them change their identity.” (Smith, 219)
“Because God formed them, chose them, and redeemed them, they had nothing to fear.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament Prophets. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2002], 52)
3. “This, I believe, is a reference to the pouring out of the Spirit, which corresponds to Joel 2:28-32.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume III. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 293)
4. “As a result of the outpouring of the Spirit their descendants will sprout among the grass…and like trees by streams full of water (cf. Psalm 1:3.” (Smith, 223)
5. “A Spiritual change will bring internal transformation to the people.” (Smith, 220)
“The Spirit’s transforming power will make them want to be identified with God and his righteous people.” (Smith, 220)
6. “‘This is what the Lord says’ introduces this message as an authoritative revelation from God. God identifies himself as the ‘King of Israel’ (41:21; 43:25).” (Smith, 225)
“God is also their ‘Redeemer’, (as in 43:15) who has and will deliver his family members from danger and protect their freedom.” (Smith, 225)
“God announces that ‘I am the first and I am the last,” a phrase that is not just a title but also a description of his unique sovereignty over all events.” (Smith, 225)
“God has proved that he is the only God (40:12-31; 42:8, 17).” [Max Anders and Trent C. Butler (2012). HOTC Vol. 15: Isaiah. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
7. “They were witnesses to the history of prophecy, the history of God proving his claim to be the only God, the only Rock, the only one worthy of trust.” [Max Anders and Trent C. Butler (2012). HOTC Vol. 15: Isaiah. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
8. The people “do not need to tremble in fear or become dismayed.” (Smith, 227)
“The imagery of God as a rock creates images of a solid foundation that is an immovable source of protection and an impregnable solid foundation (Deuteronomy 32:4,15,18,30,37; 1 Samuel 2:2; Psalm 18:31).” (Smith, 227)
9. “Isaiah 44:9-20 shows the folly of idolatry and should be compared with Psalm 115.” (Wiersbe, 52)
“Israel despised the mocking she received from her enemies. Here we see clearly the prophet’s expertise in mocking as he described carefully and sarcastically the process involved in making idols.” [Max Anders and Trent C. Butler (2012). HOTC Vol. 15: Isaiah. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
10. “The prophet asks the question, ‘Why do you spend all of your time making a god? You ought to be ashamed. You have everything mixed up. You don’t make a god; God made you!’” (McGee, 294)
“Idols are a deception and they provide no benefits, even though some venerate them and treat them as if they had value.” (Smith, 229)
“These makers of the idols will be judged ignorant and shameful when people finally discover the truth about these impotent objects of wood.” (Smith, 230)
11. “‘Surely, behold,’ judgment will fall on all the people and their associates who work in the idol-making business for ‘they will be put to shame.’” (Smith, 230)
Creators of Idols
12. “The origin of a man-made god begins in the forest; yet it is God who made the tree to begin with! Only God can make a tree.” (McGee, 294)
13. “Although the author makes no comparisons with God, any Hebrew person in the audience would see the dramatic contrasts. In 40:12,22 God stretches out a line to mark off the breadth of the heavens, but in this text the idols are made by a man who stretches out a short line to make the outline of the idol.” (Smith, 232)
14. “The topic changes in 44:14-17 from the details of constructing the idol to the initial process of getting the wood used to make an idol-god.” (Smith, 232)
“It appears that the first man cuts wood for an idol and then plants a tree to get some wood.” (Smith, 232)
I have seen where property with trees was cleared, and new plants were planted for the future.
15. “The chips and scraps from the production of a god are used to kindle a fire for the man to warm himself and to bake bread. This is the only practical and helpful contribution that comes from the making of a god.” (McGee, 294)
16. “A man will burn half of the wood from a tree in a fire to roast meat so that he can eat, be satisfied, and keep himself warm from the heat of the fire.” (Smith, 234)
17. “The rest of the wood from that same tree is used to make an idol-god, then he will kneel down, worship, and pray.” (Smith,234)
“How does one know which part of the tree is worthless and which part is a god? If one should accidentally choose the wrong part, one would be bowing down to something worthless and burning up a god!” (Smith, 234)
18. “The idea that these men can make a powerful divine being out of a lifeless random piece of wood makes no sense. These people do not know and do not perceive the real significance of what they are doing (40:21; 43:10).” (Smith 234)
19. “Part of the reason why the idol worshippers never figured out that these gods of wood were worthless is that they were blindly following accepted cultural patterns of behavior and did not spend the time to mediate or consider the implications of what they were doing.” (Smith, 235)
20. “The worshiper is ‘feeding on ashes’ and deriving no benefit at all from the worship experience.” (Wiersbe, 52)
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
Max Anders and Trent C. Butler (2012). HOTC Vol. 15: Isaiah. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume III. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
Smith, Gary V., The New American Commentary, Volume 15B, Isaiah 40-66. Nashville, B & H Publishing Group, 2009
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament Prophets. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2002