The Lord Is At Work Isaiah 45:1-7, 9-13 April 19, 2009
Do you recall a time in your life when God seemed very distant and not at work in your life? I recall times
when I felt all alone without any action of God in my daily life. Times like this give a person a very lonely feeling. But then the evidence of God’s working in my life became very clear. When I recognized how God had been working it really gave me embarrassment. It taught me to believe The Lord Is At Work, even when I do not see the details.
1. The Lord Is At Work In His . . Preferences. Isa. 45:1-4
A. Preferences Of The . . Man To Call. Isa. 45:1a & 4
1 The Lord says this to Cyrus, His anointed, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations
before him, to unloose the loins of kings,. . . 4 I call you by your name, because of Jacob My
servant and Israel My chosen one. I give a name to you, though you do not know Me.”
B. Preferences Of . . Doors To Open. Isa. 45:1b & 2
“. . . to open the doors before him and the gates will not be shut: 2 "I will go before you and level the
uneven places; I will shatter the bronze doors and cut the iron bars in two.”
C. Preferences Of How To . . Reveal Himself. Isa. 45:3
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches from secret places, so that you may know that
I, the Lord, the God of Israel call you by your name.
Does it surprise you that the Lord sometimes projects unusual preferences for His work? He preferred to use a King who did not know Him to open and close doors, and to reveal himself to this king in ways that pleased Him. God gave Cyrus His anointing even though this man did not possess a personal knowledge of Him? This certainly is unusual and represents the only time a Gentile received an anointing. The Lord wanted the King to proceed in a certain way so He chose the doors to open for the advancement He wanted Cyrus to make. These preferences included how He revealed Himself and called Cyrus by name. The Lord used Cyrus to accomplish mighty acts of conquest and a peaceful return of Israel to Jerusalem to rebuild it. We need to apply these acts to our lives and realize God’s power works through His choices and if He chooses us He can produce through us whatever He desires.
2. The Lord Is At Work In His . . Power. Isa. 45:5-7
A. Power Of His . . Strength. Isa. 45:5
5 I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God but Me. I will strengthen you, though you do
not know Me,
B. Power Of His . . Sovereignty. Isa. 45:6-7
6 so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is no one but Me. I am the
Lord, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I, the
Lord, do all these things. HCSB
The Lord obviously works through the strength and sovereignty of His power. No one else enjoys the kind of power available to the Lord and His power is self-contained. He is the Lord! In His sovereignty He formed the light and success, but He also creates darkness and disaster. Sometimes I find it difficult to explain disaster, but I am submissive to the Lord’s actions whether they seem good or bad in the immediate time frame.
3. The Lord Is At Work In His . . Productions. Isa. 45:9-13
A. The Production Of His . . Children. Isa. 45:9-11
9 "Woe to the one who argues with his Maker— one clay pot among many. Does clay say to the one forming it: What are you making? Or does your work say: He has no hands?
10 How absurd
is the one who says to his father: What are you fathering? or to his
mother: What are you giving birth to?" 11 This is what
the Lord, the Holy One of Israel and its Maker, says: "Ask Me
what is to happen to My sons, and instruct Me about the work of My hands.
B . The Production Of His . . Creation. Isa. 45:12
12 I made the earth, and created man on it. It was My hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
C . The Production Of His . . Conditions. Isa. 45:13
13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and will level all roads for him.
He will rebuild My city, and set My exiles free, not for a price or a bribe," says the Lord of Hosts. HCSB
I believe the Lord allows us to question Him but we better refrain from arguing or quarreling with Him.
A humorous cartoon could be drawn of a piece of pottery arguing with the potter. We look that way if we argue with our Maker. He produces His children and does not need man’s instructions. In my view the creation of the earth envelopes so many elaborate details that all work together; I ask who else could have produced it? When we focus on the Lord creating the earth, stretching out the heavens, creating man; He certainly can produce a man like Cyrus that He can use to accomplish His will. Certainly The Lord Is At Work! Amen? Amen!
a [anointed] Hebrew:
(OT:4899), anointed; a consecrated person; Messiah. The "anointed" not only refers to the Messiah, but also to kings, priests, and prophets of Israel (1 Sa 2:10,35; 12:3-5; 16:6; 24:7,11; etc.). The title in connection with Cyrus refers to appointment to an office and a setting apart to a specific work, not especially to holiness and character. Cyrus, however, is called a righteous man in the sense of doing right to God's people (Isa 41:1-3,25; 44:28; 45:1-4,13).
b [have holden]
Fourteen Things about Cyrus (Isa 45:1)
1. God would raise him up (Isa 41:2; 45:13).
2. God would call him (Isa 41:2).
3. God would make him ruler over kings.
4. God would give nations to him to destroy.
5. God would hold his right hand (Isa 45:1).
6. God would subdue nations before him (Isa 41:2; 45:1).
7. God would loose the loins of kings (Isa 45:1).
8. God would open the two leaved gates before him.
9. God would be before him (Isa 45:2).
10. God would make crooked places straight.
11. God would break the gates of brass.
12. God would cut the bars of iron in sunder.
13. God would give him the treasures and riches of Babylon (Isa 45:3).
14. God would direct all his ways (Isa 45:13).
c [nations before him]
Fourteen Nations Conquered by Cyrus (Isa 45:1)
d [loose the loins] Ancients dressed in large, loose, flowing robes thrown over an undergarment or tunic which was shaped to the body. This outer robe was tied with a sash for working, fighting or running. Hence, "to gird up the loins" meant to get ready for action. Loosened loins referred to rest, peace, or feebleness. Here it meant that God would weaken the resistance of kings before Cyrus so they would be easily overthrown.
e [leaved gates] Hebrew:
(OT:1817), something swinging; door; gate; leaf; lid. The idea here is that the two doors or double gates of the streets running down to the Euphrates were open, so the Medes and Persians could enter unhindered. Besides the immense brass gates there were walls running along the banks of the river to protect the city from an enemy trying to enter it by the river channel. Had those gates in the walls been closed, the enemy would have been bottled up in the channel and easily destroyed. Only God could have foreseen such an event 200 years before it happened.
a [I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight] This verse and others like it teach that God causes victories and defeats on earth; that battles lost or won on earth are the result of those lost or won in the heavenlies; and that over every kingdom of this world there are good and bad spirits who seek to carry out the will of their master (note, Da 4:13; note, Da 10:13). God promised to remove everything that would hinder the conquest of Cyrus.
b [gates of brass] Predicting the material the gates would be made of 200 years in advance only magnifies the infinite power and knowledge of God. Herodotus tells us that the gates of the inner walls of Babylon leading to the river were of brass, and that there were 100 such gates in the outer walls — 25 gates on each side of the city.
c [bars of iron] The brass gates of Babylon were locked with bars of iron. Even great iron plates covered them in some places. God's help to Cyrus was recognized by him as well as by all pagans who saw the great success of his arms. Cyrus acknowledged that God had given him all the kingdoms of earth (Ezr 1:2).
a [the treasures of darkness] It was the custom for conquerors to hide treasures taken in battle, and not to use them except in necessity. In Babylon there were many spoils of war and great riches laid up by the kings who had plundered many nations — Egypt, Assyria, Judea, and many other countries (Jer 50:13).
b [riches of secret places] The gold and silver Cyrus took in his conquests (not counting the jewels, gold and silver vessels, and other precious things) amounted to $353,427,200, according to Pliny. (Editor's note: We have endeavored throughout this work to update as many of Dake's facts and figures as possible. However, we were unable to locate the Pliny reference to determine how Dake arrived at this figure. Most likely, Dake's estimates were based on values of gold and silver around 1960 A.D..)
c [that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel] Again God called attention to the fact that only He could foretell the name of the man who would fulfill this prophecy 200 years after it was predicted (Isa 45:3,4).
Election (Isa 45:4)
In Scripture there is not the slightest reference to an election of God whereby one person is chosen to be saved and another is not. There is no teaching that a man is saved because of God's choice alone; there must also be the choice of the individual to meet God's terms of salvation. It is the plan of God that is elected, chosen, foreknown, and predestined — not the individual or national choice of man to conform to that plan. The plan is the same for all alike; and everyone without exception is invited, chosen, elected, foreknown, and predestined to salvation, on the sole basis of the individual's choice and total conformity to the gospel to the end of life (see note, Lk 18:7). Otherwise, one will be lost, and there can there be no exception to this divine plan. God's part in salvation for all men has been completed, and whoever meets His terms will be saved. The whole program of salvation is simply that of becoming born again — becoming a new creature in Christ (Mt 18:3; Jn 3:1-8,14-18; 2 Co 5:17-18) — and of living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world ever afterward (Gal 5:18-21,24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:7; 2:29; 3:5-10; 5:1-4,18). If one sins after becoming born again he must repent and turn from sin again or he incurs the death penalty like all other rebels (1 Jn 1:9; 2:1-2). No man who lives or dies in sin will be saved (Mt 7:19-21; Ro 1:29-32; 8:1-13; 1 Co 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; Col 3:5-10).
The word "election" is used in connection with Israel as a chosen nation with but one exception (1 Th 1:4). In Ro 9 it deals with the choice of God in Jacob over Esau; and all such individual choices of God are based upon the disposition and attitude of the individual in conforming to Him and His will. Not even Jacob would have been chosen if he had behaved toward God as Esau did. One becomes a special subject of God's dealings when he chooses to be and as long as he chooses to be. As long as one rebels against the choice all must make to be saved, no benefits of the election of God can apply to him.
The word "elect" also refers to Israel as the chosen nation of God in all scriptures other than Lk 18:7; Ro 8:33; Col 3:10; Tit 1:1; 2 Jn 1,13 where it can be understood as pertaining to all Jews and Gentiles who conform to the predestined plan of God. Thus, Scripture makes it clear that only those who meet the terms of such a plan become the elect of God to share the blessings thereof; and those who choose not to conform to it will receive the predestined curses of rebellion. These simple facts should answer all questions on election, predestination, foreknowledge and like subjects. Truly God is "just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Ro 3:26) and the Judge of those who don't believe (Mt 16:15-16; Lk 13:1-5; Jn 3:16-18; 1 Ti 2
b [I have surnamed thee] Cyrus became known as "Cyrus the Great" as a result of God's blessing in making him conquer.
c [not know me] After God's call of Cyrus he did know God (Isa 44:28; Ezr 1:1-6).
a [That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me] See note b, Jos 2:11.
a [I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil]
Four Acts of God (Isa 45:7)
1. I form light. Hebrew:
(OT:216), illumination; luminary; lightning; day; morning; sun. Light is the form of radiant energy that acts on the retina of the eye and renders objects visible. Light is the absence of darkness. As bodies of illumination it means the sun, moon, and stars which were created to rule day and night (Ge 1:14-18). The sun is the great source of light and heat; without it the world would be in perpetual darkness and eternal frost. Light as mentioned here evidently refers to the radiation that comes from the countless luminaries in the universe, all of which testify to the unimaginable power, wisdom, and glory of God.
2. I create darkness. Darkness is the total absence of light.
3. I make peace. Freedom from war or civil disorder; harmony in human and divine relations; quietness; tranquility. God is the Author of peace and Christ is called "the Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6-7). All real and lasting peace comes from God; it originated with Him.
4. I create evil. The Hebrew word for "create" is
(OT:1254) and here it means to bring about; bring into existence. The Hebrew word for "evil" is
(OT:7451). It is never rendered "sin," but "evil" (Isa 45:7; Ge 2:9,17; 3:5,22); "calamity" (Ps 141:5); "adversity" (1 Sa 10:19; Ps 94:13; Ecc 7:14); "grievous" (Pr 15:10); "sorrow" (Ge 44:29); "trouble" (Ps 27:5; 41:1; 107:26); "distress" (Ne 2:17); "bad" (Ge 24:50; 31:24; Lev 27:10-14); "affliction" (2 Ch 20:9; Zec 1:15); "misery" (Ecc 8:6); "sore" (Dt 6:22); "noisome" (Eze 14:15,21); "hurt" (Ge 26:29); and "wretchedness" (Nu 11:15). The idea is that God has made the law of sowing and reaping, and evil results will come when men sin. God has decreed that misery, wretchedness, sorrow, trouble, and distress will come as a result of sin (Gal 6:7-8).
(OT:7451) is translated "evil" 442 Times and never with the idea that sin is created by God. If people sin and reap for it, the responsibility for both is theirs. God simply made the law and penalties for breaking the law which will always be in force.
a [Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it] The 55 th prophecy in Isaiah (Isa 45:8, unfulfilled). Next, Isa 45:13. Three predictions — unfulfilled:
1. There will come righteousness from heaven like dew and rain from above (Ps 85:11-12)
2. Salvation will abound among men as fruit from a fertile earth when dew and rain fall upon it
3. Righteousness will spring up among people with the salvation that is so common throughout the earth
a [Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker] Woe to the man who rebels against God, or refuses to honor his parents (Isa 45:9-10).
b [Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? ... What begettest thou? ... What hast thou brought forth?] Questions 116-119. Next, Isa 45:21.
a [Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me]
Two Commands to Israel (Isa 45:11)
1. Ask Me to show you things to come concerning My sons.
2. Command Me concerning the work of My hands. This literally means that men have the authority to pray in such faith that they can direct the Almighty to do for them those things which they want and need. God would rather do things for His people than to withhold from them. To command God is an expression of the highest relationship, friendship, and cooperation to the same end in life. It is a rare privilege to command Him, and if exercised properly in fervent, respectful petition, there is nothing that will be impossible to the believer (Isa 45:11; Mt 17:20; 21:22; Mk 9:23; 11:22-24; Jn 14:12-15; 15:7,16).
b [my sons] Another proof of sonship and the new birth in the O.T. (see note, Gal 4:29).
a [I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded]
Ten Acts of God Chart 1 (Isa 45:12)
1. He made the earth (Isa 45:12), 2. created man 3. He stretched out the heavens.
4. 5. He raised up Cyrus (Isa 45:13).
2. He created man upon it.
3. He stretched out the heavens.
4. He commanded all the host of them.
5. He raised up Cyrus (Isa 45:13).
6. He created the heavens.
7. He formed the earth (Isa 45:18).
8. He established the earth.
9. He created it not in vain (Hebrew:
10. He formed it to be inhabited.
a [I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways ...] The 56 th prophecy in Isaiah (Isa 45:13-17; Isa 45:13 fulfilled; Isa 45:14-17 unfulfilled). Next, Isa 45:23.
The 56 th Prophecy in Isaiah
b [him] Cyrus (Isa 45:1-4,13; 41:2-3; 44:28; 46:11).
c [my city] "My city" was Jerusalem and "My captives" the Jews that were to go into captivity to Babylon and then later be gathered back by Cyrus to make a nation again (Ezr 1).
d [not for price nor reward] Cyrus was to decree a voluntary deliverance of the Jews, not buy them as slaves or free them for a price (Ezr 1:1-6).
(from Dake Annotated Reference Bible © 2007 by Dake Publishing. All rights reserved in U.S.A. and Other Countries.)
LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE
45:1-8 This is the only place in the Bible where a Gentile ruler is said to be "anointed." God is the power over all rulers, and he anoints whom he chooses for his special tasks. Cyrus's kingdom spread across 2,000 miles (the largest of any empire then known), including the territories of both the Assyrian and the Babylonian Empires.
Why did God anoint Cyrus? Because God had a special task for him to do for Israel. Cyrus would allow God's city, Jerusalem, to be rebuilt, and he would set the exiles free without expecting anything in return. Few kings of Israel or Judah had done as much for God's people as Cyrus would.
45:7 God is ruler over light and darkness, over good times and bad times. Our lives are sprinkled with both types of experiences, and both are needed for us to grow spiritually. When good times come, thank God and use your prosperity for him. When bad times come, don't resent them, but ask what you can learn from this refining experience to make you a better servant of God.
(from Life Application Study Bible Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)