Sunday, October 29, 2017

Israel the Servant (Part X)

"Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; that confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." (Isaiah 44:24-28)

Israel has great hope because she is kept under the watchful eye of the God Who can do anything. In the womb of a ninety-one year old Sarah, God formed Isaac. When it seemed as though Rebekah would be barren, God answered Isaac's prayer and formed Jacob (Israel); and none of these things should surprise the God-fearing man because the Lord made all things. He "stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in (Isaiah 40:22)." He spoke the word and the earth was brought into existence through the create powers of Christ. God is the One Who disrupts the signs of the fortune tellers, prognosticators and necromancers as seen in the book of Daniel. When Haman plotted against Israel and cast the Persian lot day by day in anticipation of Israel's annihilation, it was God that intervened and led Haman to his death and delivered Israel from Persia's armies. Furthermore, only God can turn evil wise men backward while guiding the humble wise men to the birthplace of His own Son (Matthew 2:1-11).

The Lord continues the display of His magnificence by foretelling, through Isaiah, of Cyrus' decree that the Jews should return and Jerusalem's temple should be rebuilt. He promises His people great deliverance and uses a play on words when He compares their future deliverance to that of the Exodus when God literally dried up the sea and made a way of deliverance. God's naming of Cyrus many years before his birth is just one more awesome display of His power. The mention of this future monarch sets the tone for the next chapter where the Lord reminds the world that even the most powerful king is nothing higher than a servant of the most High.

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