Today the Lord makes clear who He is. “I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.” He calls out those who make false gods to worship. He says it is foolish to worship something you make with your own hands. ”Those who make an image, all of them are useless…Who would form a god or mold an image that profits him nothing?”
The people are spiritually blind, therefore – “They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand…A deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul…”
The Lord is sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die so that anyone who puts their faith and trust in Him will have their soul delivered. Later Paul will say, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”(Romans 10:17). When we hear the Word of God, we can either respond by trusting in Jesus and His sacrifice as payment for our sins or we can chose to ignore the Lord and be left to ourselves. “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 2:28). As C.S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done’”.
Isaiah goes on to give the people a word of hope – “Remember these, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me! I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
Soon, Jeremiah will foretell of Judah’s 70 year captivity in Babylon and then the Lord will deliver His people (Jeremiah 29:10). After 70 years in captivity, Cyrus, king of Persia, will make a decree releasing the people to return and rebuild Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). That is why Isaiah says today – “Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’”.
God is sovereign over all, including pagan kings. The Lord says He has held Cyrus’s right hand so that He might accomplish His purposes by subduing the nations. And this is not a hard task for the Lord bc as He says – “I have made the earth, and created man on it. I – My hands – stretched out the heavens, and all their host I have commanded.”
The Lord says, “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall take an oath”.
Isaiah then predicts Babylon’s fall to Persia. The Lord says “I was angry with My people…and given them into your hand. You showed them no mercy…Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasure…For you have trusted in your wickedness; You have said, ‘No one sees me’”. Well, God does see and He is going to humble Babylon with His judgment.
We end the reading with God pointing out the stubbornness of His people. However, the Lord is going to restore them for His name’s sake. “For My name’s sake I will defer My anger, and for My praise I will restrain it from you, so that I do not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.”
Nothing can stop the plans and purposes of the Lord! Keep reading.