Weekly Devotion: Isaiah 44:24-45:25 “There Is No God but the LORD”

Posted on September 19, 2010. Filed under: Devotions- The Mark 12 Life |

Living the Mark 12 Life

Daily Devotions, Bible Study, Scripture Memory, History and More

In an effort to fulfill the Great Commandment

 

Series I: The Basic Gospel

Week 1: Crucial Question- Is There A God?

Memorize Isaiah 45:18-19 “For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): ‘I am the LORD, and there is no other. 19 I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, Seek me in vain. I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.”

Day 3  Reading: Isaiah 44:24-45:25 “There Is No God but the LORD”

            Isaiah 45 is about how God will use King Cyrus the Great, of Persia, for his own glory and purposes. This prophecy was written between 740-701 BC by Isaiah, the son of Amoz, in Judah, yet it is about a Persian King who would reign 575-530 BC, close to two-hundred years into the future. Some liberal scholars try to show that a Second Isaiah wrote chapters 40-55, and a Third Isaiah wrote chapters 56-66, but it seems their basic assumption is that God cannot work a miracle of prophecy. There is a unity of thought in the ancient Jewish community, the New Testament and the early Church that one Isaiah wrote the entire book. The bottom line is that God revealed some of the future to Isaiah in a miraculous way. Verses 11 and 21 imply that God knows or can tell the future, “Ask me of things to come…Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD?” We worship the only true God and he alone knows the future because he alone is eternal and he created all things. Vs.18 “For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth”.

            Isaiah’s day was a time of international tension, alliances, wars and rebellions, much like our day. He was writing to the people of his day who were tempted to trust in politics, international treaties, and armies instead of in the LORD. But in chapters 40-66 he is writing about future days for God’s people, when they have been exiled to a foreign country, urging the people both of his day and the future to trust that the LORD is the only true God, that he is sovereign and that he will ultimately save his people. This message of prophecy that was fulfilled long after Isaiah had died is still relevant to the Church today as we look forward to our King completely restoring his Kingdom here.

            The passage really begins in 44:24-28 and reveals what kind of God we worship. Vs.44:24 “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer”. He is our Redeemer, Heb. Ga’al– one who acts as the next of kin and purchases you out of bondage; it refers back to Exodus when the LORD redeemed Israel out of slavery to the Egyptians and brought them to Sinai where he revealed himself to them and led them into a covenant relationship with himself. God is a redeeming God. In this context he is pointing forward to the redemption that will come through the LORD’s anointed, Cyrus. Isaiah was saying that there would come a time when Israel would be captive in Babylon and Cyrus would be used of God to redeem them and bring them back to Jerusalem. Imagine how hard it would be for the exiled Jews, 200 years after Isaiah wrote this, to look at the conquering army of the Persians as they invade Babylon and trust that God was not only in control, but that he was doing this to fulfill his promise to Israel and return them to Jerusalem. For the Church today, we know that God has redeemed us from our bondage to sin through Jesus’ death on the cross.

            Vs. 44:24 continues, “your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb…” The LORD formed Israel from the womb, he chose Abraham to start a family, a tribe, 12 tribes, and finally a nation. The same God who formed and founded Israel will redeem Israel. When we compare this verse with a similar use in Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13, we can also see the principle of the sanctity of human life. God does form the little babies in the womb; no baby is an accident in God’s eyes just as Israel is not an historical accident. God has a love for Israel and a plan for their redemption from their beginning. God forms the little babies and loves them and has a plan for their lives too. While this text is speaking specifically of Israel, there is an analogy that is useful in forming a biblical view of the unborn, the issue of abortion, and the worth of the individual.

            Verse 24 then boldly proclaims, “I am the LORD, who made all things…” God alone is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He announces this bold doctrine in the context of being Israel’s Redeemer and Former. God’s big, beautiful creation is truly amazing, but if we are merely a part of his creation and not a part of his Redeemed, of what value is the creation to us?

            In vs. 25 we see that the LORD “frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners,” which means he opposes all the false gods, prophets, and idolaters and makes all their wisdom look foolish. There is only one God and he is the LORD. He will confirm his word about this servant, Cyrus, “he shall fulfill all my purpose” in verse 44:28. The LORD who is Israel’s Redeemer and Former, who alone made the heavens and the earth, who embarrasses those who worship false gods, will keep his word and bring about a man named Cyrus who will rebuild Jerusalem.

            Verses 45:1-4 announce that the LORD will subdue nations before Cyrus, breaking through doors of bronze and cutting iron bars, giving him treasures, so “that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by name…I name you, though you do not know me.” God is the LORD over those who do not know or acknowledge him; though people reject him, he remains God and directs their paths. God can sovereignly choose to use anybody for his purposes, but that does not mean he approves of their sinful lifestyle or false religion, nor does it mean they will be saved.

            In 45:5-7 the LORD states that he alone is God and says that he will be equipping Cyrus, an unbeliever, to make God known to people from the East and West. This was accomplished in 539/538 BC with the famous decree from Cyrus that allowed the Jews to go back home to Israel and rebuild their city and Temple (Ezra 1).

            Logically there can only be ONE Supreme Being. If there were more than one god, neither could be supreme and there would be chaos, which is what we see with the ancient Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. Given that there is, out of logical necessity only one essential being who is the Prime Mover, who is the uncaused cause, who must be spiritual- not material, highly intelligent and powerful enough to create the universe, then that Being must be unique and alone, without any competition. “Besides me there is no God.”

            He is the creator of the light and darkness- there is no lord of the darkness to compete with the God who is. He creates well-being AND calamity, meaning he is sovereign over all things, including evil, though he himself is untouched by evil and is never the direct cause of evil. This passage clearly shows that God is the LORD over creation and history, the past, present, and the future. There is none like him!

Application:

            Do you worship and serve the one true God willingly and lovingly as a follower of Christ? Or, are you like Cyrus, doing God’s will by accident, blindly, not by faith? Though God uses all of his people for his ultimate glory, those who serve by faith will also be glorified while those who serve unwillingly will be humbled and, finally, cast into the lake of fire. Though Cyrus was a great man in the world’s history, there is no record that he ever repented and followed the LORD exclusively.

*************

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein, editor. Volume 6 Isaiah-Ezekiel, “Isaiah” (pp.266-73), Geoffrey W. Grogan, Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 1986.

Commentary on Isaiah by Harry Bultema. Kregel: Grand Rapids, 1981 (originally published in Dutch in 1923). See pp.437-452.

The Bible Speaks Today Series, The Message of Isaiah, by Barry G. Webb, IVP: Downers Grove, Ill. 1996. See pp. 181-184.

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