Isaiah 45-46

is451.jpgGreetings!

These chapters repeat over and over that there is one God and He is not to be ignored.  As Jonah 2:8 says, Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

Interestingly, Cyrus is the only Gentile (non-Jew) rule ever annointed in the Bible.  God used Cyrus to rebuild Jeruslaem and to set the exiles free without getting anything in return.  This was a highly unusual thing for a king to do.

45     “This is what the Lord says to his anointed,

to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of

to subdue nations before him

and to strip kings of their armor,

to open doors before him

so that gates will not be shut:

2 I will go before you

and will level the mountains;

I will break down gates of bronze

and cut through bars of iron.

3 I will give you the treasures of darkness,

riches stored in secret places,

so that you may know that I am the Lord,

the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,

of Israel my chosen,

I summon you by name

and bestow on you a title of honor,

though you do not acknowledge me.

5 I am the Lord, and there is no other;

apart from me there is no God.

I will strengthen you,

though you have not acknowledged me,

6 so that from the rising of the sun

to the place of its setting

men may know there is none besides me.

I am the Lord, and there is no other.

7 I form the light and create darkness,

I bring prosperity and create disaster;

I, the Lord, do all these things.

God notes that He creates disaster and prosperity.  He is in control of everything, which causes us to wrestle with free will – which we intuitively know we have – and God’s sovereign power.

8 “You heavens above, rain down righteousness;

let the clouds shower it down.

Let the earth open wide,

let salvation spring up,

let righteousness grow with it;

I, the Lord, have created it.

9 “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker,

to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.

Does the clay say to the potter,

‘What are you making?’

Does your work say,

‘He has no hands’?

What powerful words for those who criticize and judge God!

10 Woe to him who says to his father,

‘What have you begotten?’

or to his mother,

‘What have you brought to birth?’

11 “This is what the Lord says—

the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:

Concerning things to come,

do you question me about my children,

or give me orders about the work of my hands?

12 It is I who made the earth

and created mankind upon it.

My own hands stretched out the heavens;

I marshaled their starry hosts.

13 I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness:

I will make all his ways straight.

He will rebuild my city

and set my exiles free,

but not for a price or reward,

says the Lord Almighty.”

14 This is what the Lord says:

“The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,

and those tall Sabeans—

they will come over to you

and will be yours;

they will trudge behind you,

coming over to you in chains.

They will bow down before you

and plead with you, saying,

‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other;

there is no other god.’”

15 Truly you are a God who hides himself,

O God and Savior of Israel.

16 All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced;

they will go off into disgrace together.

17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord

with an everlasting salvation;

you will never be put to shame or disgraced,

to ages everlasting.

18 For this is what the Lord says—

he who created the heavens,

he is God;

he who fashioned and made the earth,

he founded it;

he did not create it to be empty,

but formed it to be inhabited—

he says:

“I am the Lord,

and there is no other.

19 I have not spoken in secret,

from somewhere in a land of darkness;

I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,

‘Seek me in vain.’

I, the Lord, speak the truth;

I declare what is right.

20 “Gather together and come;

assemble, you fugitives from the nations.

Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,

who pray to gods that cannot save.

21 Declare what is to be, present it—

let them take counsel together.

Who foretold this long ago,

who declared it from the distant past?

Was it not I, the Lord?

And there is no God apart from me,

a righteous God and a Savior;

there is none but me.

22 “Turn to me and be saved,

all you ends of the earth;

for I am God, and there is no other.

God offers salvation to all, and He is the only one to whom we can turn.

23 By myself I have sworn,

my mouth has uttered in all integrity

a word that will not be revoked:

Before me every knee will bow;

by me every tongue will swear.

24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone

are righteousness and strength.’”

All who have raged against him

will come to him and be put to shame.

25 But in the Lord all the descendants of Israel

will be found righteous and will exult.

Gods of Babylon

46     Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;

their idols are borne by beasts of burden.

The images that are carried about are burdensome,

a burden for the weary.

2 They stoop and bow down together;

unable to rescue the burden,

they themselves go off into captivity.

3 “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,

all you who remain of the house of Israel,

you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,

an have carried since your birth.

4 Even to your old age and gray hairs

I am he, I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

5 “To whom will you compare me or count me equal?

To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?

6 Some pour out gold from their bags

and weigh out silver on the scales;

they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,

and they bow down and worship it.

7 They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;

they set it up in its place, and there it stands.

From that spot it cannot move.

Though one cries out to it, it does not answer;

it cannot save him from his troubles.

8 “Remember this, fix it in mind,

take it to heart, you rebels.

9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;

I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me.

10 I make known the end from the beginning,

from ancient times, what is still to come.

I say: My purpose will stand,

and I will do all that I please.

11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;

from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.

What I have said, that will I bring about;

what I have planned, that will I do.

12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,

you who are far from righteousness.

13 I am bringing my righteousness near,

it is not far away;

and my salvation will not be delayed.

I will grant salvation to Zion,

my splendor to Israel.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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