Isaiah 44-45:  Summary

Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one. 44:8

Israel is God’s chosen servant and need not fear.  Then a loud voice powerfully affirms God’s uniqueness and scorns those who worship idols rather than the living God.  Israel is called to remember the contrast between the true God and idols and act accordingly.  Demonstrating His own superiority, the Lord preannounces the appearance of a ruler who will call for the temple to be rebuilt, and names Cyrus, even though his empire lies 150 years in Israel’s future.

Chapter 45 continues this theme, echoing God’s promises and defining things Cyrus will do for the Jews.  Lest some object to God’s use of a pagan ruler, the Lord reminds the listener of His rights as the Father (in the sense of originator or Creator) of Israel and as the potter whose skill shaped earth’s clay.  Following a brief outburst of praise, God reminds the listener that He who created the earth formed it to be inhabited.  He has revealed Himself, despite man’s reliance on dumb idols.  He cries out, “turn to Me and be saved.”  His Word will have its impact to the ends of the earth.  It will bring shame to those who rage against God, glory to those who believe.

Cyrus 44:24-45:7 Isaiah predicted the fall of Judah to Babylon.  Now he predicts the fall of Babylon and the return of the Jews to their homeland.  To decisively demonstrate His superiority to idols, the Lord reveals the name of the Persian conqueror who will overthrow Babylon and issues a decree that not only releases the Jews from captivity but authorizes them to rebuild the Jerusalem temple.  Some commentators, who deny the possibility of such detailed predictive prophecy, have insisted the mention of Cyrus is evidence of postexilic authorship of the second part of Isa.  But in the context the naming of Cyrus is evidence of something far different.  It is proof of the power of Israel’s living God and a guarantee that history itself is moved toward His intended end.

 

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