Isaiah 43 -- 46
At the time when Isaiah was a prophet, the people in Jerusalem felt very secure since it was the City of God, where the Temple stood. Isaiah's prophecy concerning Jerusalem was shocking: Say to Jerusalem, You shall (again) be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, you shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places (ruins) (Isaiah 44:26). He foretold both the fall and the rebuilding of the Temple while it was still standing, the city walls were in perfect condition, and the nation was enjoying freedom, prosperity, and security.
At that time, Babylon, the capital city of the Chaldean dynasty, was surrounded by massive walls about 300 feet high and wide enough for chariots to ride atop it two abreast. The Babylonians were certain that no one could ever successfully invade their great city. However, Isaiah also foretold that a man would conquer Babylon by entering through gates across the river that flowed through the city. Even his name, Cyrus, was given in advance to reassure the Jews that God was still in control of human events. The Lord foretold: I will dry up your rivers . . . Cyrus . . . shall perform all My pleasure. . . . Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will . . . open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates will not be shut; I will go before you . . . that you may know that I, the Lord, which call you by your name, am the God of Israel (44:27-28; 45:1-3).
Only foreknowledge from God could have given Isaiah such remarkable details concerning the defeat of Babylon by a king named Cyrus more than 150 years before it was to take place. Isaiah had already given astonishing details that it would never be rebuilt, but would remain desolate, proclaiming: Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited (13:19-20).
Just as Isaiah predicted, Cyrus of Persia, who had previously conquered the Medes and created the great Medo-Persian Empire, conquered the city of Babylon. At the chosen hour, the Euphrates River, which had flowed through the center of Babylon, was rerouted through a bypassing canal, and the Medo-Persian armies entered on the dry riverbed through two gates which had been left unlocked and unguarded the night Belshazzar saw the handwriting on the wall (44:27; Daniel 5:5,30-31).
Even more remarkable was Isaiah's prophecy regarding a Gentile world conqueror who would release the Jews from captivity and then urge them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple (Ezra 1:1-4). But the Lord said: Cyrus, he is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure (Isaiah 44:28). And this was fulfilled exactly as prophesied at the end of Judah's 70 years of captivity. This should help us all to recognize that God is working out His master plan for the ages, even when ungodly men think they are in control of this world. It should also eliminate any question of His loving concern and care for His followers. Furthermore, the Bible reveals that God has a perfect plan for our lives and it is of utmost importance that we read His Word daily to both know and receive His personal revelation for us. Only then can we become the person He wants us to be in order to accomplish the purpose for which He created us.
We can rejoice that the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turns 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 Savior (I Cor. 6:20; I Pet. 1:18-19).
43:2 fire means oppression; kindle upon means hurt; 43:12 showed means announced; 43:13 let it means prevent it from happening; change it; 43:20 dragons means wolves; owls means ostriches; 43:23 small cattle means sheep; 44:9 delectable means cherished; 45:1 I will loose the loins means "I will weaken"; two leaved gates means double doors; 45:9 potsherd means earthen vessel; 45:16 confounded means disgraced; 46:4 hoar hairs means gray hairs; 46:12 stouthearted means stubborn-minded.
Government Officials: Sec. William Daley (Department of Commerce) and Rep. John Sweeney (NY) · BPM Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WTRM-FM, Winchester, VA · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Letha Hash's brother, Henry Rogers · Country: Afghanistan (16 million) in central Asia · Major languages: Pastu and Afghan Persian (Dari) · A capital offense for a Muslim to accept Christ as Savior · 99% Muslim; .3% Hindu · Prayer Suggestion: During times of trouble, pray constantly and ask for patience (Romans 12:12).
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 1:8