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Isaiah 46 Idols

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Do you have idols you believe in? God has an answer here in Isaiah. God will carry those who believe in Him.

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Isaiah 46

1. “Bel and Nebo are gods of Babylon. Bel is the shortened form of Beelzebub—which is one of Satan’s names. Nebo means ‘speaker or prophet.’” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume III. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 298)

“Behind the idols of that day was satanic worship, which is becoming rather popular in our contemporary society. The Word of God repeatedly warns us that our warfare is spiritual warfare.” (McGee, 298)

“God contrasts the helplessness of the idol, which is a burden to carry, to His own love and strength.” (McGee, 298)

2. “The reference to bowing and going into captivity argues that the idols were defeated and will be war booty that will be taken away by a conquering army (1 Chronicles 14:12; 2 Chronicles 25:14; Jeremiah 48:7; 49:3; 50:2).” (Smith, Gary V., The New American Commentary, Volume 15B, Isaiah 40-66. [Nashville, B & H Publishing Group, 2009], 288)

3. “As the Babylonians fled from the enemy, they had to carry their gods, but their gods went into captivity with the prisoners of war! God assures His people that He will carry them from the womb to the tomb.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament Prophets. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2002], 53)

4. “God shouts his promises, ‘I [myself] will sustain you and I [myself] will rescue you. This presents an explicit contrast to the idols that were not able to rescue themselves or the people of Babylon (46:2a).” (Smith, 289)

Compare Me

5. “The reason that it is so difficult to explain God is because He is infinite and we are finite and live in a finite universe. There is nothing with which to compare Him.” (McGee, 298)

6. These verses “list the impressive qualities of a hypothetical contender that some might try to compare with God.” (Smith, 289)

“First, in order to make an idol someone must ‘pour out’ enough gold and weigh out enough silver from their bag (people have to help make the god look impressive), then they must hire a goldsmith so that he can make a god (people must make the god), and finally they will ‘even’ worship the idol.” (Smith, 289)

7. “They lug their god around on their shoulders and put him in the corner when they get home!” (McGee, 298)


8. “The main point of this message is to prove that Yahweh, not the idols, is the real divine power who can be trusted.” (Smith 290)

9. “There is a lot of modern idolatry about. Face up to it. Do you receive anything when you go to church? For many folk church-going is a real burden to them. It is like a useless god they have to carry around.” (McGee, 299)

10. “Kings and presidents may try to strategize and work together to direct the political affairs of the nations, but in reality it is the sovereign power of God’s hand that will bring his plans (not ours) to fruition.” (Smith, 292)

11. “The identity of the ‘bird of prey’ is kept secret, but the imagery suggests that it represents a faraway unknown person in the east who will prey on someone else and accomplish God’s purposes.” (Smith, 293)

12. “This prophetic message ends with a call for the audience to ‘listen’ and respond. The audience is identified as those who are ‘stubborn-hearted’ and those who are ‘far from righteousness.’” (Smith, 293)

13. “In contrast to the unbelief of the faithless audience, 46:13 declares that the accomplishment of God’s righteous acts of salvation are sure, are near, and will not be delayed.” (Smith, 294)

“How comforting it is to know that our God cares for us before we are born (Psalm 139:13-16), when we get old, and each moment in between!” (Wiersbe, 53)


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.

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

Cyrus                                                                                 Babylon

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