August 9

Read Isaiah 43 -- 46

In Today's Reading:

God's care for Israel; folly of idolatry; Jerusalem and the Temple to be rebuilt; God's purpose for Cyrus; power of the Lord and weakness of idols

When Isaiah was a prophet, Jerusalem was the City of God since the sacred Temple existed there. Consequently, the people felt very secure. Therefore, Isaiah's prophecy concerning the "ruins" of Jerusalem was rejected by the people. Through Isaiah, God foretold both the destruction and the rebuilding of the Temple while it was still standing, the city walls were in perfect condition, and the nation was enjoying freedom and prosperity. He also foretold: Thou (Jerusalem) shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places (ruins) thereof (Isaiah 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 no one could invade their great city. However, Isaiah correctly foretold that a man named Cyrus would conquer Babylon. But, 150 years before it took place Isaiah prophesied. Thus saith the LORD . . . of Cyrus, He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the Temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him . . . and the gates shall not be shut (44:24,28; 45:1-3).

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 the same fateful night that King Belshazzar of Babylon saw the handwriting of God on the wall (see Daniel 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 (Isaiah 13:19). At the end of the kingdom of Judah's 70 years of captivity, this was fulfilled exactly as foretold by the prophet. Even when foolish men who refuse to recognize our Sovereign Creator think they are the ones in control of world events, God is working out His master plan for the ages. This fact should eliminate any question regarding His 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 (Proverbs 21:1).

Christ Revealed:

As the Redeemer (Isaiah 43:1; 44:22-24). Through His death on the cross, Christ has redeemed (bought back) all who trust Him as their Savior (see I Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 4:4-5; Titus 2:13-14; I Peter 1:18-19).

Word Studies:

43:2 fire = oppression; kindle upon = consume; 43:13 let it = prevent it from happening; 44:9 delectable = cherished; 45:1 I will loose the loins = "I will weaken"; two leaved gates = double gates; 46:12 stouthearted = stubborn-minded.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Moody Literature and Radio Ministries · Government Official: Rep. John Sweeney (NY) · Country: Morocco (30 million) on the northwestern coast of Africa · Major languages: Arabic and French · Government very hostile to Christians and missions · 99+% Muslim; .5% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25).

Optional Reading: James 4

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:1