Highlights In Today's Reading:
Here are powerful promises of the Lord's love and protection plus the prophecy of our Savior's redeeming work and Jerusalem's restoration. Is Cyrus introduced? Note the warning against false idols in chapter 46. Don't miss 46:13! What a promise!!
When Isaiah was a prophet, in spite of their unfaithfulness, the people felt very secure in knowing that Jerusalem was the City of God and the sacred Temple stood there. Therefore, because of their misplaced confidence, the people rejected Isaiah's prophecy concerning the "ruins" of Jerusalem.
Through Isaiah, God prophesied both the destruction and the rebuilding of the Temple while the nation was still enjoying freedom and prosperity. He also prophesied: The cities of Judah . . . shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places (ruins) (Is. 44:26).
At that time, Babylon, the capital city of the Chaldean dynasty, was surrounded by massive walls about 300 feet high. The Babylonians were certain that they were invincible and no one could successfully invade their great city. However, Isaiah foretold that a man named Cyrus would conquer Babylon 150 years before it took place. Thus saith the Lord . . . of Cyrus, he . . . shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the Temple, Thy foundation shall be laid (44:24,28).
Babylon thought itself invincible because of its walls, as well as the great brass gates spanning the Euphrates which ran through its center. However, God declared exactly how the city would be taken by the armies of Cyrus. The river would dry up and the Lord would see that the gates across it would be left unlocked. And that is exactly what happened when Darius, the Mede, under the rule of Cyrus entered the city by channeling the river around it the same fateful night that King Belshazzar of Babylon saw the handwriting of God on the wall (Dan. 5:1-31).
Only God could have given Isaiah such remarkable details concerning the defeat of Babylon by saying that Babylon . . . shall be as . . . Sodom (Is. 13:19). At the end of the kingdom of Judah's 70 years of captivity, this was fulfilled exactly as foretold by the prophet. This prophetic fulfillment should dispel all doubt regarding the Lord's loving concern and care for His followers.
It is a fact that even the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will (Prov. 21:1).
Thought for Today:
The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth (Ps. 37:21).
As the Redeemer (Is. 43:1; 44:22-24). Through His death on the cross, Christ has redeemed (bought back) all who trust Him as their Savior (I Cor. 6:20; Gal. 4:4-5; Titus 2:13-14; I Pet. 1:18-19).
43:2 fire =oppression; kindle upon =consume; 43:13 let it =prevent it from happening; 44:9 delectable =cherished; 45:1 loose the loins =weaken; two leaved gates =double gates; 46:12 stouthearted =stubborn-minded.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Lt. Col. Walter W. Swanson • Staff: Mike Moore • Country: Togo (5 million) in western Africa • Major languages: French and several African languages • Limited religious freedom • 41% belief in false gods and voodoo; 32% Roman Catholic; 19% Muslim; 8% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Sing praises to the Lord; tell others what He has done (Ps. 9:11).
Optional Reading: James 4
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:12