This is what the LORD says – the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.
This is just a taste of Isaiah 45. If there ever was any doubt in our minds that God is in everything, created everything and is the One True, Only God, that doubt must be dispelled by this chapter. If we find ourselves in the midst of trauma, financial loss, or deep in a dark depression, the promises of vs. 5 prevail over ANYTHING in the human condition in this fallen world. vs. 5 and 6 “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
If you have time today, read all of Chapter 45. Many blessings lie within.
The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory, that it may dwell in a shrine. He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among he trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. It is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” From the rest he makes a god, is idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says “Save me; you are my god.”
What a clear picture this is of the foolishness of idol worship. MAN cuts the tree, kindles a fire, cooks over it, warms by it, and then he bows down to this same wood for worship, salvation and hope. Man makes the wood serve him, he is master of the wood, and then he submits to this same wood for worship? We cannot conceive of this. Because of God’s salvation through Jesus, we have a new mind and heart. And that heart longs to know the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ.
But now, this is what the LORD says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; …vs. 11 I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.
This is great truth and wonderful promises. Scripture tells us Israel was instructed to write these things on their foreheads, and in their hearts. Because we are saved by the blood of Christ, these are our promises as well. How will we keep them foremost in our hearts and minds? A 3 X 5 card taped to the dash of the car perhaps, or the bathroom mirror?
You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.
Have you ever heard such a clear description of the human condition? See them, but soon forget them. Hear the words, but not listening. It happened to Israel; it happens to us. We cry out in our suffering and He answers, yet we struggle to remember the next time we are in trouble. Maybe it is like learning multiplication tables. You repeat and repeat and eventually, you remember instantly that 3 X 3 = 9. If we testify often to the great ways God has helped us, if we share these things with others, if thoughts of His comfort, help and glory are always close in our minds, perhaps like 3 X 3, we will remember easily and not forget: He is faithful.
But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen…
Just as God chose Abraham, The Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel, The Lord God almighty has chosen us. With that choosing comes a promise of salvation, a promise of protection – vs. 11 All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; – a promise of help – vs. 13 For I am the LORD, your God; who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – a promise of refreshment – vs. 18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.
We are the treasured children of God. He is Trustworthy, Kind and Holy. We can walk with Him in this world without fear, for He has chosen us.
vs. 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
vs. 25 and 26. To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens; Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
These verses are a great comfort. Thinking of the sky in our universe, with more stars than can be counted, (and science tells us new ones are appearing every day) we can clearly see Who is in charge. Enthroned under a canopy of the heavens, God is aware of all things. Princes, kings and presidents have terms of office that suit God’s purpose, and fulfill His plan.
Hezekiah shows a king from a foreign land everything: his wealth, his military strength, his palace, and his kingdom. When God warns Hezekiah that someday this will all be captured by the very same king, Hezekiah’s response sounds like , “Oh, well, at least there will be peace and security in my time.” Listen carefully, friends, to the Lord’s warnings and admonition to us. You know, that still small voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts? True wisdom does not pick out only that which we WANT to hear, but, instead listens to the full counsel of God.
Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.
When we suffer, there are two benefits. Wait…………benefits??? Yes. One: is learning to lean on the Lord when no one else can help. This creates intimacy between us and God. Two: is the ability to comfort others who are suffering as you have, and to share God’s comfort and intimacy with them. The second half of this verse deals with a LOVE so great that HE hides our sins behind His back, and in so doing, saves us from destruction. Thanks be to God for His great love.
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD; “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see, listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.
In vs. 14-17, we see that Hezekiah takes these things to the Lord. He praises God first, lays out the problems, asks God for help and winds up by acknowledging God’s sovereignty. What a wonderful path of prayer when we are challenged by difficult times, difficult people or even when we are challenged in our faith by unbelievers. Praise first, lay out the problem, ask for help, acknowledge God’s sovereignty.
Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
When I read this, I began to sense the king’s impending doom. He either has no idea that he is challenging the God of the universe, or he is so puffed up and arrogant that he doesn’t care. Our God’s promises are true. He never changes. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Lord Almighty. We can rest in this.