Review Isaiah 45:1-7
Inspect the following to see what they teach regarding civil authorities: Jer 25:9-10; Dan 4:32; Rom 13:1
- Je 25:9-10 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.
- Dan 4:32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”
- Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
45:5-6 Summarize what people all over the known world might have thought about the Lord when Cyrus invoked the Lord’s name and listed the Lord as just another one of the many gods he “conquered” or “helped.”
- Note: Cyrus did not know God as the only God over all the earth, but considered him as God “in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:3)
45:6 God has a bigger audience in mind. Identify how this verse expands on the thought of 45:3.
- God is acting not just for the sake of Israel, but as testimony that ought to go out to all the world that he alone is God.
What comfort would this section give to believers in ancient Jerusalem? What comfort does it offer you?
Defend this statement: “God directs the destiny of nations.”
- Deuteronomy 28:49 The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand.
- Psalm 33:10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
- Isaiah 10:5,6,16 Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! 6 I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. 13 For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding. I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued their kings. 16 Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame.
- Acts 17:26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
Agree or Disagree: “God ought to bless America.”
- God does not carry out his purposes for the sake of the secular ruling authorities, but for his people over whom they rule. (i.e God does not “bless America” because the USA is intrinsically good.) It is only for the sake of his redeemed church that God blesses the efforts of any country or nation. It is only because of the work done by his messiah.
Criticize the following statements. Compose more accurate statements based on Isaiah 45:1-7 and on the basis of God’s working in history.
- “America was blessed by God because it was Christian.”
- “George Washinton overcame everything because he trusted in the Lord.”
Examine the following to review how God’s actions in history are centered on Christ (Acts 2:23, 3:18, 4:28)
- Acts 2:23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
- Acts 3:18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.
- Acts 4:28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
Isaiah 45:8-14 “No One Should Dare to Question God’s Plan”
Have you ever watched something like a basketball game or football game where someone in the bleachers was challenging the calls made by the referees? How did that person appear to you as they shouted across the stands to try to argue with those running the game? Have you ever experienced someone openly questioning God’s plans?
Is 45:8 Unless God causes rain to come down the earth lacks the water it needs for life. Explain how the same is true regarding righteousness. (Compare with Psalm 14:1-3, Ro 3:21-22, John 6:32-35; John 8:23)
- We are spiritual unable to do anything, God must intervene (see Is 59)
- The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. -Ps 14
- Romans 3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe
- 32 Jesus said to them,…the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” … 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. …38For I have come down from heaven -John 6
- But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world -Jn 8:23.
45:9-12 Share some ways you have experienced people questioning God’s plans and his ways.
- The people of Israel would have wondered why God chose to use nations like Babylon to bring them to exile and Cyrus and the Persians to release them. But God’s wisdom and planning are not up for debate.
- Today people might question what God planned regarding key doctrines such as the means of grace and the use of the sacraments.
- Today people might questions God’s plan for headship of men, human sexuality, and gender identity. Progressive Christians even question God’s use of masculine terms to refer to himself.
- We might question how God is going to work something bad for our good according to his promise in Romans 8:28.
45:9-12 Rate our ability to question him on a scale of 1 (no ability) to 10 (equal to God’s wisdom). How do you think most people want to rate and view their own wisdom compared to God?
- We are, of course, all a 0 in our ability to question our maker. Many consider themselves far more than they ought.
45:13 God’s plan was to use Cyrus, an unbeliever, to accomplish the restoration of Jerusalem. Cyrus’ decree to have Jerusalem rebuilt and the exiles returned would have felt out amazing, but still out of place for the people of Israel. But God had foretold it and fulfilled it. List at least three other times God used unbelieving rulers to accomplish his grand purposes.
- All the godless Greek and Roman rulers that followed after Cyrus cumulated in the “Peace of Rome” that set the stage for the coming of the Messiah.
- The decree for a census by Caesar Augustus caused Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, as prophesied.
- Pontius Pilate’s decision to have Jesus crucified fulfilled the prophesies like Isaiah 53 about a suffering Messiah who would die for sinners.
45:13 “But not for a price or a reward.” God worked it so that Cyrus didn’t demand any payment or tribute to allow the exiles to return to Jerusalem. God also didn’t demand his people pay him back for his gracious gift of restoration. Agree or Disagree: “God always operates on the basis of grace.”
- Grace is a wonderful thing! Undeserved love. Unearned. No payback required or asked. The Lord is gracious, abounding in love. He set the ancient people of Israel free without cost or demand of payment.
- This is how it was at the beginning. God gave the man and woman everything even though they had done nothing to earn it. All the blessings of Eden were a gift of grace.
- You could argue “disagree” if you speak about the basis of the law. The law is based on works and demands a price. But we could never meet that price. And we were set free from the demands of the law by the grace of God. Jesus paid the price with his own blood.
- In addition, all good things come from him. Even our life is a gift from him.