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!!
The capital city of Babylon was surrounded by massive walls. The Babylonians were certain that no one could invade their great city. However, Isaiah foretold that a man named Cyrus would conquer the Babylonian Empire by entering through the gates across the river that flowed through the city: Thus saith the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut (45:1).
Only the Spirit of God could have given Isaiah such amazing details concerning the defeat of Babylon. He also gave the astounding prophecy that Babylon, the glory of kingdoms . . . shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah (13:19-22).
At the chosen hour, the city of Babylon was conquered by the combined forces of the Medo-Persian Empire. The Euphrates River, which flowed through the city, was rerouted by the Medo-Persians, who entered on the dry riverbed through two gates which were left unlocked on that particular night (44:27).
Since Judah was small and powerless compared to the gigantic world empire of Babylon, Isaiah's prophecy concerning Jerusalem was even more astounding: Thou (Jerusalem) shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places (44:26). All this was foretold while the Temple was still standing, the walls were in perfect condition, and the nation was still enjoying freedom.
Furthermore it would seem most incredible that a Gentile world conquerer would be called to release the Jews from captivity and then urge them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. But the Lord said 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 (44:28). This took place at the end of Judah's 70 years of captivity.
The prophet's message reveals the foresight which God alone possesses. The Bible also reveals a perfect plan for our lives and it is of utmost importance that we read it daily and desire to obey it.
Only then can we be the people He wants us to be and be prepared to accomplish the purpose for which He created us: Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1-2).
Thought for Today:
The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings (Prov. 5:21).
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 Radio Sri Lanka Shortwave Broadcasts in Pakistan sponsored by Pauline Zuniga in honor of Persecuted Christians in Asia & Africa • Country: Zambia (10 million) in south-central Africa • Major languages: English and 70 indigenous languages • Religious freedom • 30% Roman Catholic; 25% Protestant; 24% ancestor worship, magic, and witchcraft; 19% cults • Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for others, knowing that God hears your prayer (II Chr. 30:18-20).
Optional Reading: James 4
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 10:28