Isaiah 45 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
In the previous chapter Isaiah mentions by name the anointed one, a messiah and the shepherd of nations that the Lord would use to overthrown the Babylonian Empire and to bring the Jews back to their homeland in order to build up the house of God. In 539 BC, Cyrus the Great would enter the city of Babylon and take captive Nabonidus thus ending his hegemony over the nations. Not long afterward he would decree the Edict of Restoration concerning the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the holy temple as seen in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23. Cyrus would acknowledge that it was at the Lord’s bidding that he made this decree and would encourage the surrounding nations to provide raw materials to support the Jews in building up the temple of God. In this chapter, Isaiah seems to be addressing some of the murmurings concerning the Lord’s choice of such a messiah for Israel. They were looking for a strong national leader; instead the Lord raised up a heathen king to be their help.
There are a number of wonderful passages in this chapter explaining God’s mysterious providence unto His people. In verse seven, the Lord says ever so plainly, “I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.” When a believer begins to understand how our good and gracious God is the one who brings us both our darkest days as well as our brightest and the one who orders the bad as well as the good, there is such a peaceful resignation to our trials and afflictions when we understand that God has a good purpose behind them.
Then, in vv.9-11 Isaiah speaks of the absurdity of potsherds complaining to the potter of why he is making them in a certain way or why he is using them in a certain manner. The Lord is pointing out that he can use King Cyrus in any way that he wants. Likewise, he can use the Jews in any way that he wants. He is the one who commands them, not the other way around. Paul picks up on this argument in his treatment of the sovereignty of God in election in Romans chapter nine. Again, when we truly understand something of the sovereignty of God in election, we are greatly humbled and greatly encouraged to know that God can use anyone to accomplish his great work no matter how weak and foolish we are.
Likewise, in v.14 it is thrilling to know that God can take a broken piece of pottery who has been humbled, even humiliated, and use it in such a glorious manner to lead others to Christ. Again, Isaiah foresees the nations such as Egypt and Cush wanting to join the fellowship of the saints in Jerusalem saying “Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.”
The next few verses then point out again the foolishness of pursuing idols when the Lord is the maker of heaven and earth and the ruler over all the nations of the world. And what an inconsistency it is for the nations to be searching out the fellowship of the one true God all the while the nation who claims God as their own is worshipping idols instead. May it never be….for the Lord has promised that His word shall go forth and not return empty. “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance unto the Lord.” Certainly we are familiar with these words as they recorded for us twice in the New Testament in Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10. What a shame it would be for those growing up in the church to turn to idols when those growing up in pagan lands are coming by the millions to bow down before the Lord Jesus Christ and to attach themselves to the Church of the Living God. May the Lord have mercy upon His people and open their eyes to such a glorious salvation in His Son.