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Isaiah 42:23-25

Who Will Listen?

23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. 25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.


People do not like to be told about their sins. When some disaster befalls them, they will rise up against anyone who implies that God had caused it or allowed it as punishment for their sins. Certainly, as Jesus taught, God sometimes has other reasons for allowing a calamity. The blind man was born blind so that God could be glorified through his healing. He was not blind because of his or his parents' sins. Nevertheless, Jesus did not mean to imply that the blind man's family was without sin, but only that sin was not the reason for his blindness. On the other hand, sin is the cause of most calamities. The whole world suffers under the curse of Adam's sin. Had he never sinned there would be no illness, death, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes etc. This earth would be a perfect place to live.

How would the people of Judah respond to God's message? "Who among you will give ear to this?" There was more to the message than the simple idea of verse 22. There was a reason why the people had been robbed and spoiled by their captors, but who wants to hear that kind of news?

I see a similar thing every day in my work with poverty stricken families. Many of them want help, but they do not want to talk about what got them into the situation they are in or what they need to do to get out of it. Some of them do not believe that there is any way out of poverty, so all they want is a handout and to be left alone. Others are fed up with the way they are living and are ready to try anything to improve their situation. They will listen to what we have to say.

So, God asks, "Who among you will listen to this? Who will pay attention to the details of what is to come? Who is willing to listen to the whole story?" God is looking for anyone among the people who is willing to listen and admit to the truth of the matter. He is asking whether there are any among the people who have kept their faith in Him.

"Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers?" It is possible, in fact very likely, that their captors were bragging about how the Babylonian gods had given this heathen nation victory over Judah. Were any of God's people falling for that line or were most of them ready to hear the truth?

We are not much different than the people of those times. We have many among us who worship other gods. Some of them think that "Mother Nature" is an independent power or force that we cannot harness. They blame the great tragedies of earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes etc. on the forces of nature. Like the theory of evolution, everything is the product of chance. Most of our people are not ready to listen.

The people of Judah had sinned against God who is sovereign over all things. He is the one who turned them over to the robbers and spoilers and to their captors, because they were disobedient. They were not in captivity because of a string of bad luck. They were there because God had poured out the fury of His anger upon them. His fury was a fire that burned them up and, yet, they would not acknowledge Him. They did not want to hear about a righteous God against whom they had sinned. They did not want to hear that they could repent and be saved from all of this misery. People never change.

This chapter began with a description of the character and work of Yahweh's Servant, the Messiah, who would deliver His people. It ends with the reasons why God's servant, the people of Judah, are in need of a Messiah. But, who will listen?

Before The Throne:

Are you experiencing serious problems in your life? The first thing that you should do is pray and ask God, "Why?" Is there some way that he will be glorified from your situation; have you been committing some sins that He wants you to stop; or is there an important lesson in all of this that will strengthen your faith? Everything has a reason. If you are God's child in Christ Jesus, nothing can happen to you without His knowledge. Take the time to listen to what He has to say. Confess your mistakes and repent. He is a loving God who will quickly forgive you.

For Further Study:

(v.23) ** will give. Isa 1:18-20; 48:18; Le 26:40-42; De 4:29-31; 32:29; Pr 1:22,23; Jer 3:4-7,13; Mic 6:9; Mt 21:28-31; Ac 3:19,22,23; 1Pe 4:2,3;

(v.24) Isa 10:5,6; 45:7; 47:6; 50:1,2; 59:1,2; 63:10; De 28:49; 32:30; Jud 2:14;
3:8; 10:7; 2Ch 15:6; 36:17; Ne 9:26,27; Ps 106:40-42; Jer 5:15; Jer 25:8,9; La 1:14,18; Am 3:6; Mt 22:7;

(v.25) ** he hath poured. Le 26:15-46; De 32:22; Ps 79:5,6; Eze 7:8,9; 20:34; 22:21,22; Na 1:6; Re 16:1-21; ** and it hath. 2Ki 25:9; ** he knew. Isa 9:13; Jer 5:3; Ho 7:9; Re 9:18-21; 16:9; ** yet he laid. Isa 57:11; Mal 2:2;

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