Isaiah 40:1-48:22 The Lord Is At Work

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        THE LORD IS AT WORK
    Isaiah 40:1-48:22        April 19 2009

    Cyrus was nominated, in the foregoing chapter, to be
God’s shepherd; more is said to him and more of him in
this chapter, not only because he was to be instrumental
in the release of the Jews out of their captivity, but
because he was to be therein a type of the great
Redeemer, and that release was to be typical of the
great redemption from sin and death; for that was the
salvation of which all the prophets witnessed. We have
here, The great things which God would do for Cyrus,
that he might be put into a capacity to release God’s people
(Isa.45:1-4). The proof God would hereby give of his
eternal power and godhead, and his universal, incontestable,
sovereignty (Isa. 45:5-7). A prayer for the hastening of this
deliverance (Isa.45:8). A check to the unbelieving Jews, who
quarrelled with God for the lengthening out of their captivity
(Isa. 45:9,10). Encouragement given to the believing Jews,
who trusted in God and continued instant in prayer, assuring
them that God would in due time accomplish this work by
the hand of Cyrus (Isa.45:11-15). A challenge given to the
worshippers of idols and their doom read, and satisfaction
given to the worshippers of the true God and their comfort
secured, with an eye to the Mediator, who is made of God to
us both righteousness and sanctification (Isa.45:16-25). And
here, as in many other parts of this prophecy, there is much
of Christ and of gospel grace.

    1. The deliverance of the Jews by Cyrus. (Isa. 45:1-4)

Isa. 45:1   “This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to
Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations
before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors
before him so that gates will not be shut: 45:2   I will go
before you and will level the mountains ; I will break down
gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 45:3   I will
give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret
places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of
Israel, who summons you by name. 45:4   For the sake of
Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by
name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not
acknowledge me.

    Cyrus is called God’s anointed; he was designed and
qualified for his great service by the counsel of God. The
gates of Babylon which led to the river, were left open the
night that Cyrus marched his army into the empty channel.
The Lord went before him, giving entrance to the cities he
besieged. He gave him also treasures, which had been
hidden in secret places. The true God was to Cyrus an
unknown God; yet God foreknew him; he called him by his
name. The exact fulfilment of this must have shown Cyrus
that Jehovah was the only true God, and that it was for
the sake of Israel that he was prospered. In all the changes
of states and kingdoms, God works out the good of his
church.

    2. God calls for obedience to his Almighty Power.
         (Isa.45:5-10)

Isa. 45:5   I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from
me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have
not acknowledged me, 45:6   so that from the rising of the
sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none
besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. 45:7   I
form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity
and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. 45:8  
“You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the
clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let
salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I,
the LORD, have created it. 45:9   “Woe to him who quarrels
with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the
potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter,
What are you making?’ Does your work say, He has no
hands’? 45:10   Woe to him who says to his father, What
have you begotten?’ or to his mother, What have you
brought to birth?’

    There is no God beside Jehovah. There is nothing done
without him. He makes peace, put here for all good; and
creates evil, not the evil of sin, but the evil of
punishment. He is the Author of all that is true, holy,
good, or happy; and evil, error, and misery, came into the
world by his permission, through the wilful apostacy of
his creatures, but are restrained and overruled to his
righteous purpose. This doctrine is applied, for the
comfort of those that earnestly longed, yet quietly
waited, for the redemption of Israel. The redemption of
sinners by the Son of God, and the pouring out the Spirit,
to give success to the gospel, are chiefly here intended.
We must not expect salvation without righteousness;
together the Lord hath created them. Let not oppressors
oppose God’s designs for his people. Let not the poor
oppressed murmur, as if God dealt unkindly with them.
Men are but earthen pots; they are broken potsherds, and
are very much made so by mutual contentions. To contend
with Him is as senseless as for clay to find fault with
the potter. Let us turn God’s promises into prayers,
beseeching him that salvation may abound among us,
and let us rest assured that the Judge of all the earth
will do right.

    3. The settlement of his people . (Isa. 45:11-16)

Isa. 45:11   “This is what the LORD says — the Holy One of
Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you
question me about my children, or give me orders about
the work of my hands? 45:12   It is I who made the earth
and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out
the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. 45:13   I will
raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his
ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles
free, but not for a price or reward, says the LORD
Almighty.” 45:14   This is what the LORD says: The
products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and those
tall Sabeans — they will come over to you and will be
yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in
chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you,
saying, Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there
is no other god.’ “ 45:15   Truly you are a God who hides
himself, O God and Savior of Israel. 45:16   All the makers
of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go
off into disgrace together.

    Believers may ask in prayer for what they need; if for
their good, it will not be withheld. But how common to
hear God called to account for his dealings with man!
Cyrus provided for the returning Jews. Those redeemed
by Christ shall be provided for. The restoration would
convince many, and convert some; and all that truly join
the Lord, find his service perfect freedom. Though God be
his people’s God and Saviour, yet sometimes he lays them
under his frowns; but let them wait upon the Lord who
hides his face. There is a world without end; and it will be
well or ill with us, according as it shall be with us in that
world. The Lord we serve and trust, is God alone. All that
God has said is plain, satisfactory, and just. As God in his
word calls us to seek him, so he never denied believing
prayers, nor disappointed believing expectations. He
gives grace sufficient, and comfort and satisfaction
of soul.

        Summary:

        They are taught to trust God further than they can
see him. The prophet puts this word into their mouths, and
goes before them in saying it (Isa.45:15): Verily, thou art
a God that hidest thyself.
    God hid himself when he brought them into the trouble,
hid himself and was wroth, (Isa.57:17). Note, Though God
be his people’s God and Saviour, yet sometimes, when they
provoke him, he hides himself from them in displeasure,
suspends his favours, and lays them under his frowns: but
let them wait upon the Lord that hides his face, (Isa.8:17).
     He hid himself when he was bringing them out of the
trouble. Note, When God is acting as Israel’s God and
Saviour commonly his way is in the sea, (Psalms. 77:19).
The salvation of the church is carried on in a mysterious
way, by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts working on men’s
spirits (Zec. 4:6), by weak and unlikely instruments, small
and accidental occurrences, and not wrought till the last
extremity; but this is our comfort, though God hide himself,
we are sure he is the God of Israel, the Saviour. (Job 35:14).

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