Wednesday, February 28, 2024

2024.02.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 44:24–45:8

Read Isaiah 44:24–45:8

Questions from the Scripture text: Who is speaking to Jacob and Israel (Isaiah 44:24a)? What is He to them? How does He describe this in verse 24b (cf. Isaiah 43:1)? What is He to everything else (Isaiah 44:24c)? Who has helped Him (verse 24d–e)? What men think they have knowledge (Isaiah 44:25)? But what does YHWH do to their prognostications? Whose word does He confirm instead (Isaiah 44:26a–b)? What is He prophesying about whom (verse 26c–e)? How has He showed the ability to do this (Isaiah 44:27)? Whom is He going to use to release and reinhabit Judah (Isaiah 44:28a)? What will Cyrus do (verse 28b)? What will Cyrus order to happen (verse 28c–d, cf. Ezra 1:1–4)? What does YHWH now call Cyrus in Isaiah 45:1a? What has He enabled Cyrus to do, and to what extent (Isaiah 45:1-2d)? What else will Cyrus get out of it (Isaiah 45:3a–b)? To show him what (verse 3c–e)? Why did this Persian arise to power (Isaiah 45:4)? How can it be that the blessing of God’s people controls what happens in all nations and the powerful men of history (Isaiah 45:5-6)? What sorts of historical events are brought about by this God for this reason (Isaiah 45:7)? What comes by the command of God (Isaiah 45:8a)? But what is this a shower/storm of (verse 8b)? And what sort of crop does it bring forth (verse 8c–d)? By Whose divine creation (verse 8e)? 

How has God been pleased to make the greatest display of being the only God? Isaiah 44:24–45:8 prepares us for the first serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God displays Himself as God, most of all in announcing and accomplishing the redemption of His elect, through Christ. 

True knowledge only from the true GodIsaiah 44:24-28. For several chapters, the Lord has been declaring that as the One Who created all things and determined the end from the beginning, He has shown Himself to be the only true God. That is still the theme, and in this passage He demonstrates it by telling the future (naming Cyrus by name, Isaiah 44:28, Isaiah 45:1) in which He is going to miraculously save His people (Isaiah 44:26c–e) just as He has done in the past (Isaiah 44:27). 

The Word of the Redeemer (Isaiah 44:24a) is the great source of knowledge. By it He made all things (verse 24c–e). And those who seek or claim knowledge apart from Him, He humiliates (Isaiah 44:25). The Lord glorifies His saving Word in the mouths of His preachers (Isaiah 44:26a–b). 

The anointed deliverer-kingIsaiah 45:1-3. Here, Cyrus is a prototype of Christ, the “anointed” (Messiah, Isaiah 45:1). YHWH makes him a king over kings, destroying all obstacles in his way (Isaiah 45:2, cf. Isaiah 40:3–4), and giving him the treasures of the world (Isaiah 45:3a–b). The Lord, Who did this for and through a king of Persia, will much more certainly do so through His Son!

The purpose that drives all of historyIsaiah 45:4-7. The Babylonians, and the Persians, and the other nations of the world must have had many ideas about how and why Cyrus came to power. But the real reason is in Isaiah 45:4a–b. It was for Jacob’s sake, because he is God’s servant. It was for Israel’s sake, because He is God’s elect. Cyrus had no interest in the Lord (verse 4d), but the Lord worked personally in and through his life for the sake of His elect!

Truly, there is no God but YHWH, and He makes that known all over the whole earth (Isaiah 45:6). Sometimes, the Lord brings His salvation through light, but He is still bringing it in whatever darkness He ordains (Isaiah 45:7a). The Lord brings His salvation through peace, but He is still bringing it in whatever calamity He ordains (verse 7b). What a precious truth this is for us: that every moment is ordained by God, and that it is ordained for bringing salvation to His elect, through the Messiah, unto His glory!

The two great creation-works for which we will praise the Lord foreverIsaiah 45:8. The providence of God is what brings plant life through rain showers. But that’s an ordinary work that becomes a metaphor here for what He is doing in history as a whole. The rain is His righteousness (verse 8b), and it brings forth the life of salvation (verse 8c) and more righteousness (verse 8d). The specific word that means to create out of nothing appears three times in Isaiah 45:7-8. It is the first verb in the Bible, and God shows Himself to be God especially in that creation (cf. Revelation 4:11), as well as for this salvation/righteousness-creation that is His work of redemption (cf. Revelation 5:9–10). For this He will be praised, forever and ever, as the one true God! 

What darkness and calamity have you seen in your personal life, and in the broader world? Who has ordained it? Why? How will we respond to Him for accomplishing that? How can you make use of this knowledge for trusting Him and praising Him now?

Sample prayer:  Lord, please forgive us for all attempts at knowledge or power apart from You. Truly, anything that we rightly know or do depends upon You. And You have made Your Word the only source for knowledge of Your salvation. Forgive us for resting upon anything else. And forgive us for the wicked unbelief in which we have not been sure of Your salvation. Truly, You do all for the glory of Your Son, our Lord Jesus. Forgive us for when we have not done things for His glory. Truly, You do all for the sake of redeeming Your elect. Forgive us for when we have not done things for the sake of Your church. You are to be praised for all of Your works of creation and providence. Even darkness and calamity serve You for our salvation. Forgive us for when we have failed to praise You in the midst of that darkness or calamity. And grant unto us to trust You and worship You constantly, through Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP138 “With All My Heart, My Thanks I’ll Bring” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

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