Isaiah 46-50 is our passage for this week. After so many chapters talking about the destruction and judgment of God on Judah and Israel; there is a light of Hope in these chapters. King Cyrus will be given the power to defeat Babylon; just like the image given to King Nebuchadnezzar depicted. It is interesting the power is given to a “gentile” king to punish/discipline God’s people. But when the power given is abused or goes too far, then God judges or removes the “grace” position of the ruler. While Israel and Judah are not innocent; there is a limit to what the Heavenly Father will allow to be done.
God enabled the Babylonian empire to grow and dominate the world; but the power was from God, not the kings – obviously many of the kings would take pride and credit for the multitude of conquests. However, they all will be reminded that there is not power except that which is given by God. God will give power to rule; but he will also remove it if it violates His character. In the case of Babylon,pride, merciless and idolatry were the sins that cause d God to judge them harshly. The idol worship is prevalent in all countries including Judah. The Ten commandments really only needed to be two – have no other gods and do not make idols; both of which Israel and Judah broke in daily practice. Matthew 22:37-38, the Great Command says that we are to love the Lord our God with all our, body, mind, soul and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves. I believe if we will obey this commandment, all else of the christian life will fall into place.
Repeatedly God reminds Judah, that He is God and there is no other. He [God] has been from the beginning; all His words and works were prophetic in relating what was going to happen. Some may be cynic thinking that “looking back and prescribing what has been said to today’s situation” isn’t predictive at all. So God says, I am telling you think that have never been said before, so you will know that I have surely planned it.
Babylon was keenly interested in the occult; in chapter 47:12-13, spells, sorceries, astrologers, new moons and prophesy by the stars is revealed. Today in America and other parts of the world, the same things prevail. Why is it that we take the benevolent graces of God, then turn our back on Him, claiming He is no longer God? No matter how much Israel and Judah hear from the prophets they are just stubborn and stiff-necked. But even through all this negativity, God is Faithful. He will not destroy His people, a remnant will prevail. In fact the whole world will benefit from His provision of a Savior. Every knee will bow [Phil 2:10-11].
Jesus is the Savior, chapter 49, is Jesus the pre-incarnate Son of God speaking to the Father. Jesus is the direct result of the Father putting life in the womb – a phrase that is used no less than 5 times in our reading this week. Verses 1-4, reflect God’s working through Jesus. Now Isiah 52-53 really bring forth the prophecy of Jesus’ death, but that will be next week. In the providence of God, He provides a redeemer in His own Son. Verse 6 illustrates that work the Father has for the Son during His earthly ministry. The message for us from these chapters is this; God has not forgotten His people. While they have left Him and committed great sin; even having gone through severe punishment – God was at work reconciling the world back to Himself through His Son Jesus. In chapter 50:6-7 we find some more descriptions of what Jesus will have to endure as the Savior.
So while these chapters hold a clear restoration image for the then Judah; we also find that there is an equally clear message of Redemption for mankind. Mankind will not only be restored to God’s people, we will be restored to spiritual eternal life. Praise the Lord He has not forgotten us!