What does it say?
Isaiah 44-45 continues the themes that undergird this section. There is only one true God, and there is no comparison between him and the lifeless gods fabricated by human hands. Isaiah 45:1 names Cyrus of Persia over 100 years before his birth. Jerusalem has not yet fallen to Babylon, but already God has Cyrus of Persia prepared to overthrow Babylon when its usefulness to God’s mission is done. The rest of Isaiah 45 is filled with hope for the future salvation of Israel.
Moving to Isaiah 46-47, God declares the doom of Babylon. Babylon’s gods Bel and Nebo have no comparison to Jehovah. Isaiah 47 taunts Babylon declaring that she will be shown as little mercy as Babylon has shown to others.
This section concludes in Isaiah 48 as God declares his patient, steadfast love for Israel. Though God has purposed peace and righteousness for Israel from the beginning (48:18), the nation has fully deserved all the suffering received. The end of this section and the next declares that there is no peace for the wicked.
What does it mean?
Though skeptics simply cannot accept it, God calls Cyrus of Persia by name over 100 years before he is born. This is breathtaking! Truly God is sovereign over the nations. Though the nations war and rebel against him, God is working his plan in everything that happens and he is never taken by surprise. This entire section is filled with proclamations of God’s almighty power (45:4, 7, 11, 17-19, 22; 46:10; 48:3). Paul quotes Isaiah 45:23 in Philippians 2:10-11.
An aspect of God’s sovereignty in this section is God’s ability to see the future as though it were today (45:4,11; 46:10). Against this background, God challenges the Babylonians to try and save themselves with their multitude of sorceries (47:12-13).
The power of Isaiah 48:18 should convict us today. If only we would obey God, God’s peace and righteousness would flow over us.
How will I respond?
Why should I ever be tempted to think that there is any true power besides God’s? He knows and controls the future. His power is over all. Why should I ever be in a panic over current world affairs when God is decidedly always in charge and never detours from his mission? Is there an aspect of world affairs that tempts me to panic? I will confess this to God today and renew my total trust in him. Does his peace and righteousness flood my life? If not, what step will I take today to obey him in everything?