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, the people felt very secure. Jerusalem was the City of God and the sacred Temple stood there. Therefore, the people rejected Isaiah's prophecy concerning the "ruins" of Jerusalem. Through Isaiah, God foretold both the destruction and the rebuilding of the Temple while the nation was still enjoying freedom and prosperity. He also foretold: The cities of Judah . . . shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places (ruins) (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 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 the same fateful night that King Belshazzar of Babylon saw the handwriting of God on the wall (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. This fact 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 (Proverbs 21:1).
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 (I Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 4:4-5; Titus 2:13-14; I Peter 1:18-19).
43:2 fire =b> oppression; kindle upon =b> consume; 43:13 let it =b> prevent it from happening; 44:9 delectable =b> cherished; 45:1 I will loose the loins =b> "I will weaken"; two leaved gates =b> double gates; 46:12 stouthearted =b> stubborn-minded.
Pray for Staff: Rita Guerra · Government Official: Rep. John Sweeney (NY) Country: Gambia (1 million) in West Africa Major languages: English and Mandinka Religious freedom 87% Muslim; 10% animism and ancestral spirit worship; 2% Roman Catholic; .7% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Intercede fervently in prayer for others (James 5:16).
Optional Reading: James 4
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 84:11