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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Isaiah 45

 

 

Verses 1-16

Isaiah 45:1-4. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

Long before the period of Cyrus’s birth, this prophecy was written by Isaiah, and surely it must have flashed solemn conviction upon the heart of the king when he came to read words like these, in which his very name was mentioned, and all his exploits and successes, with which he vanquished his enemies, captured their strong places, and cut the gates of brass in pieces. Our God has all things present before him. To him there is no future. All things are in one eternal now with him, and hence he tells to his prophets the things that shall be.

Isaiah 45:5. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

It is a wonderful subject — the providential government of God over princes and potentates that know him not — how he raised up Cyrus on the behalf of his people, that they might be delivered; and though Cyrus did not know it, yet was he, as it were, an instrument in the hand of God — moved according to the divine will.

Isaiah 45:6-7. That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

It was to correct the Persian mistake into which Cyrus had fallen of a duplicate deity — one power creating light and another power creating darkness. “No,” says Jehovah, “I am God alone.”

Isaiah 45:8-9. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!

As many do in these days. Tongue-valiant men, who dare accuse the Most High and arraign him at their bar.

Isaiah 45:9. Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.

Let them strive with their equals, but who is he that shall come into conflict with the eternal God?

Isaiah 45:9-10. Shall the clay say to him that fashioned it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Quarreling with God is waste of time, is audacity and presumption. It must end in disaster to us, for the Lord is Lord of all.

Isaiah 45:11-13. Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. I have raised him

That is Cyrus.

Isaiah 45:13-14. Up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee: in chains shall they come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.

No other God. The day shall come in which this shall all be true, when men shall relinquish their idols, and believe in that one great invisible God, the maker of all things. For the present we see not this.

Isaiah 45:15. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

Throughout these long and weary years, man has forgotten or blasphemed his Maker, and God has sat still and borne it in the majestic patience of his infinity.

Isaiah 45:16. They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.


Verses 1-25

The first paragraph concerns Cyrus, and the great work for which God raised him up.

Isaiah 45:1-4. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called the by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

A remarkable prophecy, issued long before the time of Cyrus, foretelling that he should conquer Babylon, and destroy it; and, though for many a day Cyrus knew nothing about the Most High God, yet was he used, in the Lord’s hand, for wonderful purposes. Sometimes, a man may have been used of God for great ends without his own knowledge. When, however, he comes to the discovery of that fact, as he may if he will but think it over, should he not reverently bow before the Most High, and worship him who, though unknown to him, had been his Helper and his Friend?

Isaiah 45:5-6. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me. That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Those who believe in idols think that there may be lords many and gods many, but he who is a true follower of Jehovah knows that there can be no other god beside him. He filleth all space, and there is no room for another. There is but one Creator, one Preserver, and one God, who alone is to be worshipped.

Isaiah 45:7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I the LORD do all these things.

Cyrus was a believer in two gods, — one the god of light, and the other the god of darkness. Hence this declaration from God’s servant, the prophet, that there was no prince of darkness who was a god, but that all things were made by the one Most High God.

Isaiah 45:8-11. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

Note the tone which God uses. He speaks like a God, and claims to be above the questioning of his creatures. These verses remind us of what the apostle Paul wrote: “Nay but, O man, who art thou that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? “God is the great Sovereign over all, and he claims a sovereign’s place. He doeth as he wills, but he always wills to do that which is just and right.

Isaiah 45:12-17. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, surly God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols. But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

If you are God’s people, you have a God of whom you need never be ashamed, and one who will not leave you to be ashamed of your confidence and hope. Those that trust to false gods will be ashamed; those that rest upon themselves will be confounded; but stay thyself upon God, O man, and thou shalt never be ashamed, world without end!

Isaiah 45:18-19. For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain; I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Here is the glory of our God, — that his every word is true, and that he has never said, in any place, that which contradicts what he has spoken in public to his people. You may safely rest upon the God who is always the same, who never plays fast and loose with his promises, or speaketh anything in secret contrary to his pledged word. He is as true as he is sovereign; therefore, stay yourselves upon him.

Isaiah 45:20-21. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near, yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD?

He challenges all the idols to prove that they had uttered any true prophecy, — that they had spoken about Cyrus, or anybody else, from ancient times, so that the prophecy was literally fulfilled. There were dark double-meaning oracles, with which the false priests mocked their votaries, but the true words of God — his ancient prophecies — proved him to be the only real and true God.

Isaiah 45:21-23. And there is no God else beside me, a just God and a Saviour. there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Glory be to God, it will be so in the latter days. It shall come to pass that the truth shall be universally triumphant, and the one God, who made the heavens and the earth, shall be worshipped both by heaven and by earth, without any discordant note.

Isaiah 45:24-25. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/isaiah-45.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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