Isaiah 46: 1-4
As we saw yesterday, God said that one day every knee will ‘’bow’’ before Him (45:23). In the opening words of this chapter, Isaiah sees the two main gods of Babylon bowing before the God of Israel as they are being carried away on animals while Babylon falls. ‘’Bel’’ is an alternate name for ‘Marduk’, the chief god of the Babylonians; ‘’Nebo’’ was Marduk’s son. These gods could not save Babylon; they couldn’t even save themselves. They too ended up in captivity. They were incapable of bearing the burdens of those who worshipped them. Instead they would be a burden to the beasts carrying them! ‘’The no-god hunks of wood are loaded on mules And have to be hauled off, wearing out the poor mules – Dead weight, burdens who can’t bear burdens, hauled off to captivity.’’ The Message.
‘’Both gods were commonly transported in processions, but in this scene they are monstrous refugees, weighing down their struggling pack-animals. The contrast between these burdens, with their demands on money and muscles (6-7), and the lifelong burden-bearer, Yahweh (3-4), brings the series of attacks on idolatry in these chapters to a telling climax.’’ Derek Kidner: ‘New Bible Commentary’, p.660.
In contrast to the gods of Babylon, the God of Israel does not have to be carried. Rather He carries His people (3, 4). Although many of us may hope to live a long time, the prospect of aging and what it may bring with it can be a fearful thing. It is encouraging to know that for as long as you live in this world God will carry you, and then you will see His face in eternity. As your days so will your strength be. Here and now, those ‘everlasting arms’ are invisible, but no less real and strong. He made you. He will carry you and sustain you. When required, He will rescue you. You are in the best Hands possible. Old age can be a lonely time, where people feel isolated, neglected, forgotten, invisible, and anonymous. We live in a culture in love with the young and beautiful. But even the beautiful young things will get old (God-willing), and a lot more quickly than they imagine. Then they will no longer be the centre of attention and obsession. It is good to know that the Lord is no less interested in us when we are old. He doesn’t forget or abandon us. He doesn’t merely visit, but He is always with us as our Wonderful, supernatural ‘Home Help’, and so much more!
Prayer: ‘O God, Thou hast made us, and not we ourselves; we are thy people and the sheep of thy pasture; still bear with our wanderings and sins, we entreat Thee, till thou hast made us what we would be, and made us meet for thy use.’’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Great verses through the Bible’, p.286.