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Isaiah 45

At the end of Isaiah 44, the Lord is predicting the deliverance of Israel from Babylon by the decree of Cyrus, 150 years in advance. This prediction regarding Cyrus continues in this chapter.

This chapter starts with a mind shattering bang:

Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so the gates will not be shut...

Isaiah 45:1

In this verse, the word "anointed" is actually the word masiah, which literally means messiah. This heathen king is given the same name as our savior because he was an illustration of the coming Savior. He was sent by God to be an obedient servant in leading God's people out of bondage.

Isn't that absolutely amazing.

150 years before he was born, the Lord made plans for good works for Cyrus to walk in, as a heathen. Imagine what He can do through believers who are actively seeking His Kingdom and Will.

A Ryrie footnote comments on the phrase, "open doors before him so the gates will not be shut". On the day when the Persians captured Babylon, some men entered the city on a dry river bed and open the gates to the invading army from the inside.

The Lord continues His promises starting in verse 2:

  • I will go before you and make rough places smooth
  • shatter doors of bronze
  • cut through iron bars
  • I will give you the treasures of darkness
  • hidden wealth in secret places
  • so you will know it's the Lord God of Israel calling you by name

In verse 4 God goes on to explain that He's making these promises and He's going to do these things for the sake of Jacob, God's chosen. He has called Cyrus by name and given him a name of honor even though Cyrus doesn't know Him.

I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me...

Isaiah 45: 5

In verses 6 and 7 He reiterates that He is doing this so that men may know He is the only God. He formed light and darkness. He causes well-being and calamity.

Drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it. I the Lord, have created it.

Isaiah 45:8

How beautiful.

After such a long, grim season building up to the captivity and the captivity itself, these promises wash over me with such relief and joy. He is a good, good Father and His goodness shines through here so brightly.

Verses 9-10 brings woes to those who quarrel with their Maker. He shows the ridiculousness of it through the metaphor of a pot questioning the potter or a questioning a father or mother in who they create.

I've read verse 11 multiple times and could not understand what it was trying to say, so I went and read the verse in several other translations at I guess my confusion was warranted because there was inconsistency in the meaning across the various translations.

Here's the verse from my NASB:

  • Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.

Here are some other translations:

  • AMPC Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Would you question Me about things to come concerning My children, and concerning the work of My hands [would you] command Me?
  • CEB The Lord, the holy one of Israel and its maker, says: Are you questioning me about my own children? Are you telling me what to do with the work of my hands?
  • CEV I am the Lord, the Creator, the holy God of Israel. Do you dare question me about my own nation or about what I have done?
  • NKJV Thus says the Lord, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.

It seems like the direct translations seem like God is telling someone (Cyrus? Or the person He "woes" in verse 10?) to ask Him of the future and tell Him what to do. Which seems odd. For God to be encouraging someone to question and command Him. In the paraphrase "translation" versions, they try to show the verse in a rhetorical light. They add words to demonstrate that God wasn't asking a real question but a rhetorical one.

This isn't a deeply theological verse and I easily could have skipped over it in my confusion. I'm sure I've done that many times before when a verse confused me. But I wanted to understand, so i took a deeper dive and went looking for more information. Maybe the commentaries will also have something. but here's my point on this--we're called to know His Word. And all translations are just that translations of His inerrant word. We have to commit to studying the bible, not just read the one bible closest at hand in the moment. Sometimes you have to go look at the original word or read commentaries, or just meditate and pray about it. Just like all relationships, knowing God can sometimes be as simple as sitting outside and soaking up His sun and beauty. But sometimes it takes work.

Back to the text.

Verses 12 and 13 seem to be a description of the works of His hand, mentioned in verse 11:

  • made the earth
  • created man
  • stretched out the heavens
  • ordained their host (army)
  • aroused him in righteousness
  • will make all his ways smooth
  • He will build My city
  • will let My people go free-without payment or reward

Notice He went from what he had done to what He would do in the future.

He is faithful and has more than proven Himself to be trustworthy.

He goes on to predict that the goods and men of stature will be "yours", by whom I assume he means Cyrus. These seemingly vanquished men will bow down and walk behind Cyrus. These men will recognize that God is with him and there is no other God.

I'm sure Cyrus thought, at times at least, that he was having all of this victory as a positive reflection on himself. However, God makes it clear here in verse 14 that all of this victory is supposed to point to God and the fact that there is no other. We'd do well to remember that when times are good. Careful not to attribute our mountain top experiences to ourselves; but always point to the Lord and lift up the name of Jesus.

Isaiah speaks, starting in verse 15.

  • God is invisible.
  • He is Israel's Savior.
  • idol worshipers will face shame and humiliation
  • Israel will find an everlasting salvation from the Lord, free from shame and humiliation for eternity

In verses 17-18 God twice reiterates that the earth was not formed to be a "waste place" and God was no to be sought in a "waste place".

God encourages His people to gather and draw near. Idol worshipers pray to a god who cannot save; but the Lord is a righteous God and Savior. (Verse 20)

Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:22

He cries out to the whole world to receive His salvation. He loves us and wants to redeem us.

In verse 23-25 He swears by His own name that every knee will bow, every tongue confess allegiance, recognize where righteous and strength come from, those opposed to God will be shamed and His offspring will be justified (by the blood of the Lamb).

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