Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Colonnade and shops in Bath, England

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Aug 7, Isa 45-48

Today's readings are Isa 45-48.

The way God will redeem Israel is by a king named Cyrus (Isa 45). This will be King Cyrus of Persia, who God will raise up for the specific purpose of delivering Israel and Judah out of captivity and sending them back to Jerusalem. Lest there be any misunderstanding, Isaiah makes it clear that the Lord is the only savior, all salvation happens by His hand alone. 

Isa 45:6-8 can be a challenge to those who believe God is neither omnipresent (present everywhere in creation) nor omnipotent (having power and authority over all things). Vs 7 clearly states that God forms light and darkness. The darkness mentioned here is not necessarily evil even though there are times darkness is used as a metaphor for evil. Regardless of how darkness may be used as a metaphor, its creation is credited to God. Much the same can be said of the calamity mentioned in the second half of vs 7. Both darkness and calamity are subject to God's sovereign authority and power. Nothing happens outside of God's will. Nothing occurs that is beyond His power. 

Isa 46-47 are prophecies against Babylon and the Chaldeans, the warrior nations that have taken Israel and will take Judah into captivity. God asserts Himself in these passages reducing Babylon's reign to a very short seventy years. 

We find that all this happens to Israel and Judah to refine them in Is 48:7-11. God refines His chosen people for His own sake, to put His glory on display (Isa 48:9-11). 

In the rest of the chapter, He calls them to obey His commandments, flee for Babylon and return to Him. From here on through the rest of the Scriptures, Babylon will become synonymous with sin and the fallen world. 

We would do well to remember the reason Israel is refined. It is for the sake of God's reputation. While this may seem rather selfish to some, it is actually an assurance of our own sanctification and salvation. As we have seen repeatedly in the Scriptures, God is faithful and true. He promises to refine and bring home all of His faithful children. We can count on Him being true to that promise for the sake of His name and reputation. This takes the burden of maintaining our salvation, or trying to accomplish our own sanctification, out of our hands and places it securely in His.

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