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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 45 : The Lord's Plans for Cyrus


v.1-4 The Lord's call to Cyrus

v.5-8 The Uniqueness of the Sovereign Creator God

v.9,10 Woe on those who oppose God

v.11-14 God says don't question my plans to Restore Israel

v.15-18a Realise God is Israel's saviour, this Creator

v.18b-24a The Lord speaks His word

v.24b,25 The Outcomes


[Preliminary notes: If chapter 44 was full of reassurances about the restoration of Israel, this present chapter is how God will do it – using Cyrus. This truth is backed up by declarations of the Lord's sovereignty as Creator of the world, and even as chapter 44 denounced idol makers, this chapter continues to do the same thing, telling the listeners to believe on the living God – not wooden idols!]



v.1-4 The Lord's call to Cyrus


v.1 God calls Cyrus who will become His anointed servant

v.1 “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:


v.2 The Lord will go ahead of him to prepare his way

v.2  I will go before you
     and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
     and cut through bars of iron.

v.3 He will provide for Cyrus so he realizes it is God who is blessing him

v.3  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.

v.4 He will do it for the sake of Israel

v.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.

[Note:  This is a most remarkable passage in that very clearly the Lord identifies His anointed servant called Cyrus who He will empower and give great authority to, and He will do it all for the sake of Israel. What is more He will do it even though Cyrus does not (initially at least) acknowledge the Lord.]



v.5-8 The Uniqueness of the Sovereign Creator God


v.5 As the unique all-powerful God He will enable the godless Cyrus

v.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,

v.6 Because of this the onlooking world will see and understand

v.6  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.

v.7 I am the LORD and thus I can do anything I want

v.7  I form the light and create darkness,
     I bring prosperity and create disaster;
     I, the Lord , do all these things.


v.8 Whether it is nature or salvation for my people, I can do it

v.8  “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.


[Note:  A number of times the Lord declares His uniqueness as God, Lord over all and that He will use Cyrus even though Cyrus does not (initially at least) acknowledge Him as the Lord.]



v.9,10 Woe on those who oppose God


v.9 Don't you mere works of clay dare challenge me

v.9  “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'?

v.10 As a child can't challenge their parent, you cannot challenge me

v.10  Woe to the one who says to a father,
     ‘What have you begotten?'
or to a mother,
     ‘What have you brought to birth?'


[Note:  The Lord warns mockers or those who would deny Him that it is like clay challenging the Potter or small children challenging their parents.]



v.11-14 God says don't question my plans to Restore Israel


v.11 Don't you dare question my plans for Israel

v.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?

v.12 Look, I'm the all-powerful Creator of the world

v.12 It is I who made the earth
     and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
     I marshaled their starry hosts.

v.13 So I will call him and Cyrus will send back my people to rebuild Jerusalem

v.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.”


v.14 Even mighty Egypt will submit to my plans

v.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.'”


[Note:  The Lord continues His warnings about those in unbelief, reminding them He is the Creator of the world. If He chooses Cyrus to set His exiled people free, the unbelievers would be foolish to challenge Him, for even powerful Egypt will be subservient to Israel in the days to come.]



v.15-18a Realise God is Israel's saviour, this Creator


v.15 In the exile [later implied] God appeared hidden

v.15  Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself,
     the God and Savior of Israel.

v.16 Those who make substitute gods will be shamed…

v.16  All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced;
     they will go off into disgrace together.

v.17 …when godly Israel will be restored by the living God

v.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.


v.18 Realise it is the Creator of the world who speaks

v.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—


[Note:  God may have seemed to be hidden while Israel goes into exile but He will be seen and those idol-makers who mocked His name will be made to look foolish when He is seen to be on the move, the Creator bringing salvation to His people.]



v.18b-24a The Lord speaks His word


v.18c The Lord declares His uniqueness

he says: “I am the Lord,
     and there is no other.

v.19 He declares, I am the One who spoke to my people Israel

v.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.


v.20 He calls them, come to me, ignore the idol makers & worshippers

v.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.

v.21 He challenges, no one else declared that this was to happen

v.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.


v.22 He calls them to come to Him, the unique God

v.22  “Turn to me and be saved,
     all you ends of the earth;
     for I am God, and there is no other.

v.23 He has decreed that every knee will bow before Him

v.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.

v.24 He declares, then the world will know, salvation is in Him alone

v.24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
     are deliverance and strength.'”

[Note:  The Lord speaks powerfully into the situation declaring His uniqueness and His power, calling people across the earth to turn to Him.]



v.24b,25 The Outcomes


v.24b All enemies of God will eventually bow before Him

All who have raged against him
     will come to him and be put to shame.

v.25 All Israel will be restored & rejoice in Him

v.25  But all the descendants of Israel
     will find deliverance in the Lord
     and will make their boast in him.


[Note:  The end of all things is decreed: all those who opposed God will be revealed in their folly while the descendants of Israel will know His salvation and joy.]



[Concluding comments: Flowing on from chapter 44, the Lord reveals that His means of restoring Israel in the future will be by using the pagan king, Cyrus. The Lord justifies this declaration by reminding listeners that not only is He the Creator of the whole world who has the power to do whatever He likes, but He's also the one who brought Israel into being and who spoke to them throughout their history. He IS to be believed.


For the listeners in Isaiah's day two questions would arise: first, why will Israel need restoring and, second, who is Cyrus? It would be something like between a hundred and a hundred and fifty years before Judah were taken into captivity and then Cyrus send them home again. (see 2 Chron 36). Maybe the very presence of this prophecy, written on the scrolls, no doubt taken to Babylon, was part of the way the Lord turned Cyrus's heart to sending Israel back to their land to first rebuild the temple and then later to rebuild the city. Again, was the presence of this prophecy something that helped Jeremiah catch the Lord's heart prior to the Exile and destruction of Jerusalem?]



Continue to Chapter 46