Isaiah 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: I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honour, though you do not acknowledge me. 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, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it.’ Isaiah 45:1-8

This chapter tells us that Cyrus will be successful because God is with him.

The career of Cyrus, because of his victories, will cause the heathen to recognise God. God has ‘anointed’, that is, assigned, a specific task for Cyrus to accomplish because Cyrus was willing to serve God’s purpose.

He is God’s shepherd, Isaiah 44:28. God will bless him with so much, that he would know that it was God who had called his name, Ezra 1:2.

Young, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The victorious march of the Persian king is not to be attributed to his own wisdom and power, but to the working of the Lord.’

This is still further evidence that fulfilled prophecy is one of the most convincing evidence of God’s existence.

God called Cyrus by name and distinguished him for Israel’s sake, not for the sake of Cyrus. This honour was given to Cyrus, even though Cyrus did not ‘know’ Jehovah, in order that all the nations might recognise the supremacy of Jehovah.

The gates were the most fortified part of the city, for it was the entrance into all ancient cities. They were built of wood and often overlaid with brass. When the gates were broken, the city fell.

Herodotus, the Egyptian historian, said the following.

‘There were a hundred gates of brass protecting the city but all of these did not avail against the forces of Cyrus.’

Notice that evil is contrasted with peace and light is contrasted with darkness, thus indicating a physical condition. Evil represents chaos and ruin brought about as a punishment.

Peace represents rest and quiet as a blessing. God declares Himself responsible for the affairs of all nations as they are related to Israel. Evil, as an act or condition of sinfulness or sin, cannot be attributed to God, James 1:13 / 1 Peter 1:15-16.

In view of the saving mission of Cyrus, the redemption of Israel, heaven and earth are summoned by God to pour out their blessings upon his way, Psalm 85:11-12.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The very special favour shown to Cyrus here on God’s part was apparently motivated by three considerations’.

1. That Cyrus, the most powerful monarch on earth, might acknowledge the true God.

2. That Israel might be benefited and continued as a separate nation by the termination of their captivity.

3. That the attention of all the world might be attracted, and that the unity of God might be manifested to all the earth.

‘Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’ Isaiah 45:9-10

The promise of deliverance assumes more distinct terms. There is a reproof of the murmurer who rebels against God, and since God has made all things why should anyone, heathen or Jew, complain against Him? Both man and clay vessels are but earthen works which owe everything to the Creator.

We have an example of a son who complains against his father and mother because of his existence, this is used to show how revolting Israel’s complaint is to God.

The apostle Paul quoted these words from Isaiah in Romans 9:20-21 and applied the passage there to the incredible folly of God’s creatures complaining and murmuring against the doings of their Maker.

‘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? It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshalled their starry hosts. 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.” Isaiah 45:11-13

The faultfinders in Israel were to leave things in God’s hands. The one who created and arranged history was the one who had the sole right of guidance.

God, who created all things had also raised up Cyrus, Isaiah 41:2, whose ways he would prosper because Cyrus was designated to restore Israel. When Cyrus allowed the Israelites to return to Palestine, it wasn’t for the purpose of reaping tribute from them. Allowing the Israelites to relocate within the Medo-Persian Empire wasn’t an economic plan to profit the empire.

‘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.’” Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Saviour of Israel. All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together. But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.’ Isaiah 45:14-17

Here, Isaiah associates the release of Israel with an expanse of influence on the Gentiles.

Pledge, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Since the voluntary ‘coming over’ is pointed out, this appears to be a type of that which was to come, Matthew 11:28.’

Israel was shamed and disgraced when they blasphemed God through idolatry and the nations accused that the God of Israel was no greater than the gods of their nations. But when Israel was allowed to resettle Palestine, the nations took notice.

Israel stands amazed at the power of God and the way in which God is revealed as the God of salvation, He makes the idols perish among His people forever.

‘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. 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.’ Isaiah 45:18-19

These verses indicate why Israel must be restored to her land. God did not create the land of Palestine to be a desolation or an uninhabitable place, but to be inhabited.

God didn’t speak in secret, He had spoken plainly and clearly. He did not speak out of both sides of his mouth. What He says can be clearly understood, His prophecies can be clearly understood to be fulfilled.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These two verses set forth the two great witnesses of God’s love and concern for fallen mankind. The very manner in which the earth itself has been created, and made so wonderfully suitable for human habitation, in Isaiah 45:18, are exactly the very same grounds of Paul’s appeal in Antioch of Pisidia, Acts 14:17, to the effect that the fruitful seasons of the earth were evidence that “God has not left himself without witness.’

‘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. 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 Saviour; there is none but me. “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 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. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the LORD and will make their boast in him.’ Isaiah 45:20-25

God declares that those who burden themselves with idols have no knowledge. If they knew anything at all, they would know that he who foretold the future was God above all.

We read that God desires man’s salvation, Isaiah 55:7 / 2 Peter 3:9, and notice the bending of the knee and confession, Philippians 2:5-11, was to be forced from no one.

The revelation of God through the Messiah would bring the opportunity that every knee bow. Only in God could Israel become righteous, and the same is true today, Galatians 3:26-29.

Because all who come into spiritual Israel will be justified from sin, they will give glory to God.

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