Summary of passage: Bel and Nebo (Babylonian gods) must be carried and become a burden for the people. They cannot rescue themselves or their people and they themselves are carted off into captivity. God declares He has carried Israel since birth and upheld them. He sustains them and will rescues them. Whom can you compare God? Babylonian gods are made from gold. They must be carried to and fro and set in one spot from which it cannot move. It never answers the people or saves them from their troubles. God beseeches his people to remember the former things; remember He is God and there is no other. Remember He is the Creator. God’s purpose will stand and He will do as He pleases. He will use Cyrus (a man from a far-off land) to fulfill His purpose. God will grant righteousness and salvation to Israel in His timing.
3a) Babylonians must carry their gods and their gods cannot save themselves as they are hauled off to captivity. God carries His people and saves them. Babylonian gods were made by man and had to be carried from place to place. In contrast, God made us and He moves us and saves us. Babylonian gods never answer the people. God always answers us.
b) God rescued His people from Egypt (Exodus 12-14). He sustained his people in the wilderness for 40 years (Exodus 16). Gideon rescues Israel from the Midianites with God’s help (Judges 6-7). God sustained Elijah during his travels when he was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17)
c) Personal Question. My answer: God sustains me every day. He has rescued me many times–too many to count. He carried me when I was depressed in college. God will continue to do all of these.
4a) House of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth; you rebels, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. He promises to bring righteousness, salvation, and splendor to Israel.
b) “I am God and there is no other” “My purpose will stand” “I will do all that I please” “What I have said, I will bring about; what I have planned I will do”. He brings righteousness and salvation. God is faithful and He is the Creator.
Conclusions: Again, God is reassuring His people He is the “I am”. He sustains, carries, and rescues. He fulfills his promises, He answers His people, and He is bringing righteousness and salvation. No one else can do such things.
It seems as humans we always need encouragement and to hear things over and over again. Here again God is reminding His children who He is and what He will do. Isn’t it wonderful we have a God who loves us so much to constantly fill us up when it would be so easy to dismiss us and let us wallow in our own sin?
I think God believes in the saying “nothing worthwhile is easy.”
End Note: Bel and Nebo were two major gods of Babylon. Bel means lord and is a title. It was given to the god Enlil who was the father of the gods in the Babylonian pantheon. Enlil was originally a Sumerian god who was absorbed by the Babylonians when they conquered the Sumerians. Marduk was the city god of Babylon and eventually was given the name Bel. Marduk is the god considered the creator. Nebo was Marduk’s (or Bel’s) son. He was the god of learning, writing, and astronomy.
We recognize these gods in the names of Babylonian leaders:
Bel: Belshazzar and Belteshazzar (the name given to Daniel)
Nebo: Nabopoloassar (Nebuchadnezzar’s father), Nebuchadezzar, Nebuzaradin (Nebucahezzar’s general who destroyed Jerusalem), Nabonidus (the last king of Babylon who shared his reign with belshazzar)
Information in End Note taken from: http://www.generationword.com/notes_for_notesbooks_pg/isaiah/isaiah_46.htm