Highlights In Today's Reading:
The Lord's love and mercy burst forth in these chapters as He assures Israel that they will be redeemed, be restored, and be His witness. The seventy years taught the Israelites the destructive evils of all false gods. But Babylon will be destroyed — never to be rebuilt — and Israel will be forgiven of its sins and return to their land. He prophesied of Cyrus (44:28 — 45:1-4). In Chapter 46 we see how powerless idols are in contrast to the greatness of the power of God. You will love today's reading.
Only the Spirit of God could have given Isaiah such amazing details about a man named Cyrus at least 150 years before he was born. Thus saith the Lord . . . I am the Lord . . . that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof. . . . That saith of Cyrus, He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure (Isaiah 44:24-28).
When Isaiah foretold: I will raise up the decayed places thereof, there were no decayed places in Jerusalem to be raised up. The Temple was still standing; the walls were in perfect condition; and the nation was still enjoying freedom and prosperity. Furthermore, it seemed most unlikely that a world conqueror would release the Jews and then urge them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple for the God of heaven and even help finance it and restore the Temple vessels (Nehemiah 1:4; Ezra 1:2). No prophecy seemed more unlikely to be fulfilled. Yet, all these things happened exactly as Isaiah foretold.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35). The city of Babylon was divided into two sections by the river Euphrates. There were solid walls surrounding all of it that were over 300 feet high and about 80 feet wide, broad enough for four chariots to be driven abreast on the top. Cyrus dug an immense canal north of Babylon and diverted the river Euphrates into it. Then he marched his army at night through the two-leaved (folding) gates across the entrance in the vacant river bed which had been left unguarded.
Who told Isaiah such minute details and named a man that would rule a kingdom which, at that time, did not exist, achieving a conquest of a world empire and setting free a slave nation that, at that time, was still enjoying its freedom in its own land? Who would have prophesied that in 150 years the Lord God would dry up thy rivers (Isaiah 44:27) and that the Euphrates would be diverted from flowing through Babylon and kept guarded by folding gates (45:1)? How could Isaiah foresee that the guards of Babylon who always closed the gates at sunset and stood guard throughout the night would neglect on that particular night to close them except he was led by God who knows all things that will come to pass?
Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 106:1).
Thought for Today:
No matter how high the walls of opposition, God knows how to win the battles of our lives.
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 Country: Bhutan (2 million) in the eastern Himalayas of central Asia • Major languages: Tibetan and Nepalese dialects • Public worship, evangelism, and proselytization are illegal • 50-70% Buddhist; 24-45% Hindu; 5% Muslim; <1% Protestant/Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for others (Num. 14:13-19).
Optional Reading: James 4
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:12