Isaiah 48

God often finds His people obstinate and perverse,
but for all that He makes it redound to the honor of His mercy to spare and reprieve them,
refining them in the furnace of affliction, rather than cutting them off.
O, that men would own Him as the true and only God,
receiving His promises and looking to His Redeemer.

1 Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.

2 For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is his name.

3 I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.

4 Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;

5 I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.

6 Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.

7 They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.

8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

9 ¶ For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.

10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

12 ¶ Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.

15 I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.

16 ¶ Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

19 Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me.

20 ¶ Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.

21 And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.

22 There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.

Isaiah 48:1-16 – ​The Obstinate and Insincere Rebuked

   We are meant to be for God’s praise and glory; but we may delay the realization of His high purpose. Our neck iron, our brow brass, we trust in idols and refuse to open our ear. It is necessary, therefore, to send us to Babylon, where, as in a furnace for silver, the dross and alloy are purged away. Many of us are in furnaces which have been rendered needful through our evil ways.
   Notwithstanding our sins, God comes to the furnace mouth and chooses us there. For His own sake, His own sake, He does it that His name may not be polluted. He cannot give His glory to another. You cannot account for God’s grace to you personally. He must have known all, from the first. Then dare to believe that the reason that prompted Him at the first will suffice to the end. He is not “the son of man, that he should repent” (Numbers 23:19). He who was the first will be the last. Jesus is Omega as well as Alpha; the end as well as the beginning! Fear not! Revelation 1:17. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Isaiah 48:11—For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it.

​   God finds his supreme motive in Himself. Mark how strongly He insists on it. “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee” (Isaiah 48:9). And in this verse (Isaiah 48:11) He twice repeats, “for mine own sake.” Surely this is a matter for extreme comfort and congratulation.
   If God had saved us because of some trait of natural beauty and attractiveness which He beheld in us, He might turn from us when it faded before the touch of years, or the change of our inward temper. The woman whose only claim on attention and homage is in her face—who has no other qualities to command and retain respect, must often dread the inevitable effect of time. It would be therefore a cause of perpetual unrest to us if God’s motive were only one of pity or complacency.
   But God’s motive is his character, his name and nature, the maintenance of his honor in the face of the universe. In the face of the universe of intelligent beings He is too deeply implicated in our salvation to show signs of variableness or the shadow of turning. He did not begin to save us because we were worthy or lovely, but because He would; and therefore He will not give up because we prove ourselves weak and worthless and difficult to save. There are times with us all when we can but cast ourselves on his infinite grace and say, “Save me for thine own Name’s sake.” And when we have been overcome by sin, it is good to go to Him and say, “Father, I have nothing to plead but thy own nature and name declared in Jesus: for his sake, because Thou hast made a promise to Him, and to me in Him; for thy glory’s sake defer thine anger, forgive my sins; save me for thine own Name’s sake.” —Our Daily Homily

Isaiah 48:17-22 – ​“A Light to the Gentiles”

   The first division of this second part of Isaiah closes at Isaiah 48:22, with the phrase there is no peace… unto the wicked. The second division of part 2 closes with a similar phrase, Isaiah 57:21. The first division here ends with the proclamation for Israel to leave Babylon. They need never have gone there. If only they have been obedient in every particular theirs would have been the happy lot of Isaiah 48:18, as contrasted with Isaiah 48:22. But even under such circumstances, in captivity and as slaves of the Chaldeans the redeeming grace of God would triumph, Isaiah 48:20; 49:5. —Through the Bible Day by Day