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Bible Pathways 8/9/2001

August 9

Read Isaiah 43 -- 46

When Isaiah was a prophet, in Jerusalem the people felt very secure since it was the City of God where the Temple of God stood. Therefore, Isaiah's prophecy concerning Jerusalem was shocking. God had said to him: 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). Isaiah 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 invade their great city. However, Isaiah foretold that a man named Cyrus would conquer Babylon by entering through gates across the river that flowed through the city. This prophecy was given 150 years before it took place 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 shall 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 God could have given Isaiah such remarkable details concerning the defeat of Babylon. Isaiah had already said: Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah (13:19-20).

Isaiah prophesied that Cyrus of Persia, who had conquered the Medes, would conquer 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 King Belshazzar and all his leaders were drunk and saw the handwriting on the wall (44:27; Daniel 5:5,30-31).

Isaiah also prophesied that the Lord said: Cyrus, he is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure (Isaiah 44:28). This Gentile world conqueror would release the Jews from captivity and then urge them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-4). And this was fulfilled exactly as foretold by Jeremiah the prophet at the end of Judah's 70 years of captivity. Even when men may think they are in control of this world, God is working out His master plan for the ages. This fact should eliminate any question of His loving concern and care for His followers. God has a perfect plan for our lives and it is of utmost importance that we read His Word daily in order to fulfill His will. Only then can we become the person He wants us to be in order to accomplish the purpose for which He created us.

It is a fact that the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turns it wherever 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 Savior (I Cor. 6:20; I Pet. 1:18-19).

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

Prayer Needs:
Government Officials: Sec. William Daley (Department of Commerce) and Rep. John Sweeney (NY) · BPM Staff: Karen Hawkins · Pray for Global Focus and Dr. Larry Reesor · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in memory of Dr. Hash's mother, Iva Ann McElroy · Country: Suriname (431,000) on the northeastern coast of South America · Major languages: Dutch and English · Very limited religious freedom · 27% Hindu; 22% Roman Catholic; 20% Protestant; 20% Muslim; 6% witchcraft and spirit worship · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that you would be sanctified through the truth of the Word of God (John 17:17).

Optional Reading: James 4

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 6:12-13

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