Friday, January 7, 2011

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 9, 2011

(The only wise GOD, our SAVIOR through JESUS CHRIST)
(Isaiah 45)

The sovereignty and uniqueness of GOD is a recurring theme throughout the book of Isaiah. It is rife with divine declarations by GOD, such as, “I AM”, “I will”, “I AM the LORD”, “I AM the ONE, and “There is no other”. Here in Isaiah 45, that theme seems to resonate much more rapidly than perhaps, in any other chapter of this prophetic book.
In the opening lines of Isaiah 45, verses 1-3, two vivid prophecies concerning GOD’s plans for the great Persian king, Cyrus, serve as a segue to several more statements in verses 5-7, regarding HIS uniqueness as being the Almighty GOD of the universe. Here, we also see GOD’s clear condemnation of anyone who may dare to challenge HIS claim of absolute control over all things. The very fact that GOD communicated this message through HIS prophet, Isaiah, over 150 years in advance, surely separates HIM from all the idol gods, that even HIS very OWN chosen Israelites, had began giving homage to.
It is historically unlikely that Cyrus had ever even heard of YAHWEH, the GOD of the Israelites, because, at that time in history, the Israelites were one of the least among the many nations in his empire. And it is even more unlikely that Cyrus had ever communicated with any of GOD’s prophets in the past. Yet, GOD would choose this ungodly king to fulfill HIS OWN purpose, which was to secure the release the Israelites to return to their homeland following their 70-year time of punishment and captivity in Babylon.
In the Hebrew, the word translated in verse 8 as “righteousness” is “tsedek”, and, in this particular occurrence, as in Isaiah 41:2, it means “victory”. The word “salvation” here in this same verse, is from the Hebrew word “yesha”. Both of these words point to a “spiritual prosperity” that can only come from GOD. As believers, we gain “victory” through our “surrender” to CHRIST JESUS by accepting the free gift of “salvation”. And, as obedient believers, we celebrate our “victory” over sin and death, and are able to walk in the “righteousness” of CHIST JESUS for the remainder of our lives here on earth.
And so we see that neither of these words is used in their normal abstract sense in this instance, but rather, they refer to concrete realities that are as visible as the sky above, and as tangible as the earth that we walk on every day. They are both “distinctive acts of GOD”, not unlike what HE continues to use today, in our world of lost humanity, to conquer evil, and, to re-establish the peace that was long ago forfeited by the sins of man, beginning with Adam and Eve.
Through these divine acts of intervention, GOD would re-establish order, where there was now chaos. HE would remove HIS beloved Israel from a mostly oppressive captivity in Babylon, back into the serenity of their own inherited homeland, and then, HE would re-build a new, more beautiful Jerusalem, from out of the ruins of a city, long ago rendered ugly, by the adulterous acts of its chosen inhabitants.
And finally, verses 14-25 comprise a collection of prophecies declaring a monotheistic theme that is in keeping with the word of GOD throughout. Gentiles, as well as Jews, will all bow down to the only wise GOD in the end. And just because a person doesn’t believe in GOD, does not mean that GOD does not exist. Unfortunately, according to this passage, many proud unbelievers will have to be permanently bound for hell, in chains, before they finally acknowledge that GOD the FATHER of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST is the only GOD.
As it is expressed in the New Living Translation of the Christian Bible, after the LORD had called all the unbelievers to court to state their case, GOD sums up HIS OWN argument with this claim of being “The only true GOD”. There HE states, in verses 21b-23, that, “For there is no other GOD but ME, a just GOD and a SAVIOR, no, not one! Let all the world look to ME for salvation! For I AM GOD; there is no other. I have sworn by MY OWN name, and I will never go back on MY word: Every knee will bow to ME, and every tongue will confess allegiance to MY name”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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