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Amazing text today – one that makes liberal scholars gag and scramble to try to explain away its validity. How could Isaiah 150 years before the time of King Cyrus specifically write down by inspiration from God that it would be Cyrus whom God would raise up to deliver His people from the Babylonian Captivity? The Jews had not yet even been captured by Nebuchadnezzar. They were still in their homes in Jerusalem worshiping in the temple that had not yet been destroyed. But God has a point to make. He has something very important to communicate.

“Thus says the Lord” introduces the 3 different sections

Grogan: The assertion “This is what the Lord says” (v. 24) punctuates this section of the prophecy (cf. 44:24; 45:1, 11, then again in 18)


Maybe you are struggling today with whether God is really in control of your situation. Look at all of the trouble that abounds in the world. Look at all the world leaders with so little regard to God. It seems like everything is out of control.

Our God is still on the throne …

Almighty God is he

And He cares for His own through all eternity ..

First and last sections are like bookends – presenting the credentials of the Lord to speak with authority regarding prophecies of the future; guts are in the middle section


Matchless credentials – in the business world I have the opportunity to review many resumes – people try to present their credentials in as impressive fashion as possible – sad how many people even lie about their credentials

A. (:24a) General Credentials of the Lord – by Way of Demonstrated Relationship

1. Relationship as Sovereign Lord

“Thus says the LORD,”

Not just Lord over His people; but Lord over all the pagan nations as well as we will see Him directing the course of history by using Cyrus to accomplish His purposes

2. Relationship as Saving Redeemer

“your Redeemer,”

Needed twofold redemption:

– Physical sense from Babylon

– Spiritual sense – they had failed to be faithful to the Lord as His ambassadors and messengers to the world – testifying of His uniqueness and superiority over the idols

3. Relationship as Special Designer – Israel, His Elect Nation

“and the one who formed you from the womb,”

The personal touch of the Lord in forming Israel as a nation

“from the womb” – indicates that everything that took place came from the divine initiative, not human will

Young: the reference is to the prenatal period (cf. Job 3:11; Jer. 20:17). Even before Israel was born, God was forming her. Translated into history, this would refer to all the period before the actual constitution of Israel as a nation. It would include the time of bondage in Egypt and also the period of the patriarchs.

Beall: There follows in vv. 24b-28 a series of nine participles, all describing the work (and the uniqueness) of the Lord: v. 24b contains three phrases, all beginning with participles; vv. 25- 26a contain three lines, all beginning with participles and ending with a verb in the imperfect; and vv. 26b-28 all contain a participle of the verb “to say” with the definite article and end with a verb in the imperfect

B. (:24b-28) Specific Credentials of the Lord – by Way of Demonstrated Superiority

three groups of 3 participles

Take a look at the Lord’s resume; what are His major accomplishments . . .

1. (:24b) Creator/Control Credentials – Reference to remote past

3 participles: “maker of” “stretcher of” “spreader of”

a. Comprehensive Summary

“I, the LORD, am the maker of all things,”

Think of how much God must hate the theory of evolution;

b. Unassisted Creator of the Heavens

“Stretching out the heavens by Myself,”

Took counsel with nobody; no assistance or help

c. Unassisted Creator of the Earth

“And spreading out the earth all alone,”

God is the one who should receive the glory; as another Earth day approaches this week – April 22 – we see that mankind has come to worship the creation rather than its creator

Each participle is now amplified with another verb

Frustrates two types of alterative sources for guidance:

2. (:25-26a) Guidance/Wisdom Credentials – Reference to the present

Where should you look for a true word from God??

a. Exposer of False Claims of the Occult – Don’t trust in the false spiritualists

“Causing the omens of boasters to fail,

Making fools out of diviners,”

Court magicians, soothsayers – relies on access to supernatural powers

Motyer: pretentious talk of fortune-tellers

Constable: God embarrasses astrologers, diviners, and fortunetellers by controlling history in ways that deviate from past patterns. Ancient and modern prognosticators usually base their predictions on the belief that things will work out in the future as they have in the past. But Yahweh can move future events in entirely new directions. Archaeologists have discovered many predictions of the future of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires among Babylonian writings, but they are consistently optimistic; none are messages announcing the fall of these kingdoms. He can do things never before done.

Beall: In addition, He makes the diviners (those who make a claim based on the supernatural–the word is used of Balaam [Josh 13:22], the witch of Endor [1 Sam 28:8], the false prophets [Jer 27:9; 29:8; Mic 3:7], and of Philistine soothsayers [1 Sam 6:2]) fools.

b. Frustrator of Human Wisdom – Don’t trust in human resources

“Causing wise men to draw back,

And turning their knowledge into foolishness,”

Wise man relies on knowledge and study and expertise

Motyer: It would be foolish to claim that such wisdom is always nonsense, but in this context Isaiah has in mind people’s attempts to probe and give meaning to the future and the meaning of history.

Young: David had prayed that God would turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness (the same verb is used as here) – 2 Sam. 17:14

c. Confirmer of Predictive Prophecy – Look to divine revelation

“Confirming the word of His servant,

And performing the purpose of His messengers.”

Nation = servant

Messengers = International ambassadors

3. (:26b-28) Performance/Prophetic Credentials – Reference to the future

God says 3 things; 3 decrees: take these 3 in reverse order – from the decree to the accomplishment – God can get the job done – nothing frustrates His purposes

Parunak: ; puts article on last 3 phrases = the predicate; first 6 participles are part of the subject giving Lord’s credentials; His ability to do what He has predicted – pay attention to me; I am saying 3 things

a. (:26b) With Respect to Accomplishing the Restoration of Jerusalem and Judah

“It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’

And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.’

And I will raise up her ruins again.”

Parunak: The purpose that God wants to accomplish; remember the start of Lamentations – city sits empty – how sad; God wants to dwell in the midst of His people; cf. Garden of Eden; tabernacle in the wilderness; God always picks a place and decrees that worship to Him be offered there; Deut. 12:5, etc. ; 1 Kings 11:36; everything else here is a means to that end

b. (:27) With Respect to Overcoming Obstacles

“It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up!’

And I will make your rivers dry.”

Parunak: How does this get you from Cyrus’ decree to Jerusalem being inhabited?? 43:16-17 – importance of the historical memory of the Exodus – and the drying up of the Red Sea; a reenactment of the Exodus; great emblem of overcoming all the obstacles that stood in the way; obstacles were faced when Jews came back from Babylon as well; whatever obstacles lie between the decree and the enactment don’t matter; pagan kings are just doing God’s good pleasure

Constable: God is the one who dried up the Red Sea during the Exodus. He could likewise dry up rivers in the future to bring His will to pass (cf. 48:21). Herodotus wrote that Cyrus overthrew Babylon by diverting the Euphrates River that ran under its walls. He then used the riverbed to storm the city. Young claimed that cuneiform records from the region have shown that Herodotus’ account was in error. God’s promises covered both the rebuilding of Judah’s cities (vv. 26, 28) and the exiles’ return home.

c. (:28) With Respect to Decreeing the Divine Mission of Cyrus in Rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple

“It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.’

And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’

And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’”

Constable: The title “My Shepherd” was one that God used of the Davidic kings (cf. 2 Sam. 5:2; 1 Kings 22:17; Ezek. 34:23). The fact that He used it here of a pagan monarch shows that God would use pagans to fulfill His wishes— since the Davidic kings had proved unreliable (cf. 7:13; 39:7). This was indeed a new thing that God had not done before (cf. 43:19).

Having established His credentials, what does the Lord say in this instance regarding the prophetic future of using Cyrus as His instrument to deliver His chosen people:

Parunak: “She shall be built and she shall be founded with a temple” – the building of the temple was the foundation of the city; purpose of Jerusalem is where God connects with men; Jerusalem doesn’t start with a wall but with a temple


A. (:1) Divine Mission of Cyrus Introduced

1. Divine Initiation of Mission of Cyrus

“Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed,”

Constable: Yahweh shockingly referred to Cyrus as His “anointed” (Heb. mashiah), a title normally reserved for Israel’s prophets, priests, and kings. One exception is Hazael whom Elijah was to anoint as King of Aram (cf. 1 Kings 19:15-16). Hazael was also the Lord’s anointed. It also refers to the Messiah. The Israelites thought of their anointed leaders as those whom God uniquely raised up to accomplish His purposes. By calling Cyrus His anointed, the Lord was teaching them that He was the Lord of all the earth, not just Israel. He could and would use whomever he chose to deliver His people.

Oswalt: Above all, the oracle is not really addressed to Cyrus, but to the despairing Israelites who cannot see how the glowing promises of restoration can possibly be kept. [and why God would use a pagan king as His anointed and His shepherd to carry out His purposes]

Young: God has put His Spirit on Cyrus to equip him for the performance of this task

2. Divine Purpose of Mission of Cyrus

“Whom I have taken by the right hand,”

Oswalt: expression of choosing and of intimate fellowship (cf. 42:6; Ps. 73:23) And of control; hand of special favor

a. Conquer Nations

“To subdue nations before him,”

Motyer: this is a specifically Davidic motif (Ps. 1, 110)

b. Cause Kings to be Powerless and to Fear

“And to loose the loins of kings;”

Oswalt: to be stripped of one’s weapons’ belt, which in turn leaves the robe hanging down freely where it can entangle the legs

c. Liberate God’s People

“To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:”

B. (:2-4) Cyrus’ Victory Orchestrated by the Lord

1. How the Lord Will Accomplish the Victory of Cyrus

a. Paving the Way for Victory

“I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;”

b. Obliterating All Obstacles

“I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars.”

c. Rewarding Cyrus with Spoils of Victory

“And I will give you the treasures of darkness,

And hidden wealth of secret places,”

2. Why the Lord Guarantees the Victory of Cyrus

a. Exalting the God of Israel

“In order that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.”

but no reason to think that Cyrus ever converted to the faith; might have just added the God of Israel to his appendage of deities

Oswalt: this does not predict conversion . . . just as the pharaoh came to recognize that the God of Israel is the Lord without ever coming to faith in him, so Cyrus could well acknowledge that he had been commissioned by the God of Israel without surrendering himself to the exclusive worship of the Lord.

b. Exalting the Elect Nation of Israel

“For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one,

I have also called you by your name;”

c. Exalting Cyrus Himself as God’s Instrument to Accomplish His Will

“I have given you a title of honor

Though you have not known Me.”

C. (:5-7) Uniqueness of the Lord Declared and Demonstrated

1. Uniqueness Declared

“I am the LORD, and there is no other;

Besides Me there is no God.”

2. Uniqueness Demonstrated in Success of Cyrus

a. Success Attributed Solely to the Lord

“I will gird you,

though you have not known Me;”

takes care of Cyrus, provides for him – as God does for us

Motyer: he does not require the willing or knowing co-operation of those he so uses . . . the Lord’s sovereignty is absolute, neither overriding responsibility nor requiring conscious co-operation.

b. Worldwide Recognition of the Lord’s Uniqueness

“That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun

That there is no one besides Me.”

Young: Obviously the return from exile did not accomplish this end …

Looks forward to end-time fulfillment

3. Uniqueness Declared and Demonstrated

a. Uniqueness Declared

“I am the LORD, and there is no other,”

b. Uniqueness Demonstrated

1) Creation of Light and Darkness

“The One forming light and creating darkness,”

2) Sovereign Over Good Times and Bad Times

“Causing well-being and creating calamity;”

Oswalt: What the prophet is saying is that if bad conditions exist in my life, they are not there because some evil god has thwarted the good intentions of a kindly but ineffectual grandfather-god, who would like me to have good conditions but cannot bring them about. They are there solely as a factor of my relations to the one God.

c. Uniqueness Declared

“I am the LORD who does all these.”

D. (:8-10) Sovereign Rights of the Lord as Creator /Controller Affirmed

1. (:8) Creator Sovereignly Ordains Righteousness and Salvation

“Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it.”

Beall: V 8 is a transition verse, both looking back to vv. 1-7 and forward to 9-10. The heavens are exhorted to pour down righteousness and salvation, because the Lord Himself has created it.

vv. 9-10 declare a woe on any who would seek to strive with his creator. It is foolish for the potsherd or clay to strive with the one who makes it, or for the child to say to the father or mother, what are you doing?

Young: Verses 8-10 constitute a unit, each verse beginning with the Hebrew letter, He; vs. 8 serves as a statement of the truth and the two following verses point out the folly of disbelief in the truth

2. (:9-10) 2 Examples of the Sovereignty of the Creator = Impermissible Questions

a. (:9) Vessel Complaining Against Potter

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker– An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands ‘?”

Oswalt: To disagree with God’s ordering of one’s life or one’s world is not merely a matter of preference or outlook. At bottom, it is a refusal to let God be God, a reversal of roles, in which the creature tries to make the Creator a servant to carry out the creature’s plan.

b. (:10) Child Complaining Against Parents

“Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’

Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’”

Grogan: The point at issue in the quarrel (v.9) is probably God’s disclosure to his people that he would deliver them through pagan Cyrus. We cannot accuse God of using inappropriate means to achieve his ends.


A. (:11a) General Credentials – by Way of Demonstrated Relationship

Beall: In vv. 11-13 the Lord replies to those who would be so foolish as to ask these questions. It is the Lord, the Holy One of Israel who speaks, the Creator. “My sons” and the “work of My hands” probably refer in this context to Israel. God is the one who created the world, and who raised up Cyrus as well (v 13) to build Jerusalem. Yet, Cyrus received no reward or tribute of any kind for doing this–a further evidence of the Lord’s sovereignty over the deliverance of His people.

1. Relationship as Sovereign Lord

“Thus says the LORD,”

2. Relationship as Saving Redeemer

“the Holy One of Israel,”

3. Relationship as Special Designer

“and his Maker:”

B. (:11b-13) Specific Credentials – by Way of Demonstrated Superiority

1. (:11b) Performance/Prophetic Credentials

“Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons,

And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.”

2. (12) Creator/Control Credentials – Creator of Earth and Heaven and Man and Angels

“It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it.

I stretched out the heavens with My hands, And I ordained all their host.”

3. (:13) Guidance/Wisdom Credentials –

Ordaining the Divine Mission of Cyrus with Respect to Jerusalem

“’I have aroused him in righteousness, And I will make all his ways smooth;

He will build My city, and will let My exiles go free, Without any payment or reward,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

Motyer: divine sovereignty in creation is matched by equal sovereignty in history


All of mankind is under the control of the one and only sovereign God, their Creator, whether they acknowledge that fact or not. God implores us to “Turn to Him and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” 45:22 Even the pagan rulers of our day owe their very existence to God and are ultimately accomplishing His purposes – just as Cyrus.

What comfort for those of us who have submitted to the Lord’s sovereignty. Our lives are in His hands. Our present as well as our future is governed by His loving hand of Providence.

Our God is still on the throne …

Almighty God is he

And He cares for His own through all eternity ..

He alone is God and there is no other.