Isaiah 44:24 – 45:25
44:24 – 45:8 This passage has two lines of “this is what the Lord says” (44:24 & 45:1). The words “made all things” (44:24) and “do all these things” (45:7) show this is a unit. Note “who” ten times as the Lord describes Himself in personal terms.
44:24 The emphasis on ‘Redeemer’ continues. God
redeems by acting for His people. Before He says what He will do, He reminds
them that they are His at His will. When God chooses (or elects), it was His
initiative to do so, and it is an act on which He follows through to
implementation. It is not His compliance with our will. No one in the womb
makes the decision to be born. If God started them, He will not later be
passive concerning them and let them disappear the way
44:25,26. God speaks. Man tries to speak in a wisdom of his own. The wise men of every society (of talk radio and television too) speak with great authority from the shallow reservoir of their own wisdom. Their predictions are self-serving, designed to satisfy what their hearers wish to hear (2 Timothy 4:3,4). The true glory of telling and fulfilling is a glory God reserves for Himself. To protect His glory, He makes sure the words of false prophets prove to be false. He hates the vaunted wisdom of those who set their wisdom against His, so He makes their wisdom fail (29:14) while His word remains forever. The words of His servants are the words He gave His servants. No one can believe in the real God and not believe in His Word spoken in the past, and remaining among us in writing. Since the human mind cannot penetrate the mind of God, we should humbly accept all He tells us.
44:26-28 Finally Cyrus is named. He was first
mentioned in 41:2. God tells what He will say. Cyrus will say what God says he
is going to say. He will do what God said he would do before Cyrus’ father came
to life or named his little son Cyrus, just as God said he would.
same Hebrew word is used three times to indicate purpose: so that Cyrus
may know (v.3), so that something will happen for
45:1 “This is what the Lord says” to Cyrus. What the Lord says is found in vv.2-6. Imagine a word from God to an individual king written years before Cyrus’ birth? Before the actual words, God refers to him as His anointed. That is the word “Messiah” in Hebrew and “Christ” in Greek, but here it is simply a word to indicate that Cyrus will be a king. But he will be God’s tool to accomplish God’s purpose. It is God who took him by the hand to bring him on the stage of history with a work to do for God. As a part of that work, Cyrus will be a victorious warrior. It is God Who will give him all his victories, and so in time God placed him where he would have the power to say that the Jews could go home.
45:2-4 It is
God who would make Cyrus’ path easy (v.2) removing obstacles to his victories.
No one observing those events could ever know that unless they read God’s Word
that revealed this. The Lord would include treasures or wealth for him.
Darkness means “hidden away”. Cyrus could know by God’s Word that it was God
behind all this. He was summoned; this shows that without Cyrus’ intention or
knowledge, God was sovereignly using him for His purpose. Yet all this upheaval
of nations was God caring for His chosen people. The glory that came to Cyrus
was designed for the good of
45:5,6 Open to Cyrus was the prospect of
recognizing the will of the Lord in his rise to power. He never did worship the
one true God. He could have announced that all other gods are false, and
thereby the people of the world would know that the idols are false, for no
idol could declare Cyrus’ emergence as ruler over all people. Yet the Lord did
use Cyrus to preserve
45:7 God creates light and darkness, which can mean prosperity and trouble. God alone orders the experiences of mankind. He really is God. God’s sovereignty is not some conclusion we make about Him, but an aspect of His deity He repeatedly claims for Himself.
45:8 This prayer of expectation must be read in light of the context. The matter of Cyrus is a reason for thanksgiving because God in the heavens has acted righteously. Then let the earth open her mouth in appropriate response to receive. In this way, righteousness will grow in this earth (and not just sin!), coming from the righteousness of God in heaven. God’s righteousness included bringing Cyrus and all his terror to the nations he subdued. Or it is better to say that God subdued nations before Cyrus (v.1). The Lord answers the prayer saying He has created the salvation the earth needs. While all power and right is God’s, here He encourages the supplication of His people where we may pray about His deeds on earth. This shows that the sovereignty of God does not promote passivity in men. The prayer, “Your will be done” – is said by men who then work to do His will (Matthew 6:10).
45:9-11 The news of Cyrus as Gentile liberator is
jarring news. The Jews wanted to be a sovereign nation again. Isaiah’s message
implies that they will live under Gentile domination. Thus God’s plan to use
Cyrus is not fully welcome. God’s people feel they could improve on God’s plan,
a plan that did not appear wise in their eyes. These verses address
specifically the issue of God’s sovereignty. Clay cannot complain to the potter
about what He is doing, and
see more clearly now. God did not return
verses may be understood better if we imagine someone saying to the Lord, “Who
do you think you are and where did you get the right to do this?” His reply is
that if He is the Creator of the hosts above (and even the Creator of those who
complain!), He has full rights over His own work. God then simply repeats what
He is going to do. He says, “I will …” and no one can do anything about it. It
is sad that
Two parallel paragraphs begin with “This is what the Lord
says” and end with the salvation of
Gentiles coming to the Lord come to
45:15-17 In one sense God had hidden Himself (v.15),
because His plan to include Gentiles was not transparent to His own people; it
was a surprise to them. Two groups are addressed here: 1) those who continue to
worship idols, even though many Gentiles are leaving them and “coming over” to
45:18 In Isaiah 38-55 God’s role as Creator is repeatedly connected with His ongoing work of salvation. In divine initiative He is still at work on His projects. God cannot conceive of a world He made for His glory which does not end up knowing Him. His involvement in His creation as Redeemer fits His claim of it as His possession. (Compare Psalm 24:1 and Psalm 96.)
45:19 God has spoken plainly, reliably and truthfully. No promise of His deceives. His word once given is in the open. Today no book is more widespread and spreading in all the earth than the Bible. No book is more ignored and resisted than the written word of God. The events of the gospel did not happen “in a corner” (Acts 26:26), and the message is in print all over the world. Some day all men will learn, with some too late, that there is a God and only one, and then they shall have to bow when they wish they did not have to do so.
45:20 The fugitives are those who left their
former religions and came as fugitives in a journey to
familiar court challenge is “Who foretold this?” The events in this context
being foretold are the emergence of Cyrus whose decisions relate to a string of
events which follow, such as
45:22 The God of Israel, in the Scriptures of this prophet, issues His invitation to the people of the world to turn to Him. If they do, they will be saved; they need only recognize the true God and bow before Him in repentance and faith. This does not mean that we are justified as the result of a life of repentance (the Christian life really is a life of repentance), for that would be a “works” salvation. It does mean that there is no true turning to the Lord unless there is a turning from the other gods. In the Bible of the Jews, God invites Gentiles to Himself and to them. When what their God predicted happened before their eyes in their synagogue, many had paroxysms of jealously and rejected their God as a result (Acts 13:42-52). By doing so, they joined the other group, the Gentile idol worshippers!
45:23 All others will come to bow and confess who the real Lord God is, and acknowledge that the idols were all false. God swears they will do so; He made an oath to Abraham concerning all nations on earth (Genesis 22:15-18; Hebrews 6:13-15). There is only one people of God who worship one Lord alone and confess the same faith (Ephesians 4:1-6).
45:24 What will they say when they confess (v.23)? They will say in the Lord alone (i.e., the idols are excluded) are righteousness and strength. They look to the Lord and not to their righteousness or strength (40:28-31). But in the Lord they receive both. Strength is clearly a provision in their experience. In 53:11, Christ, the Righteous One, justifies many by providing for them a righteousness they did not have, until He gave them His. No man can confess Christ and then depend on His own righteousness. True believers say, “In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.”
section ends with two sets of people. Some left idols and turned to the God of
Israel. The others reject him and even raged against Him. They will appear
before Him for judgment (Revelation 20:11-15; John 5:22,23). Again the choice
is just two: one group will be put to shame; the other group are identified as