The Book of Isaiah
THE FOLLY OF STRIVING WITH GOD
Text: ISAIAH 45
1. Isaiah 44 ends, and Isaiah 45 begins with an interesting prophecy regarding Cyrus, the Persian king.
2. This is an amazing prophecy because God called Cyrus by name over 100 years before he was even born.
3. God as God calls prophets; God calls kings. God called Cyrus.
4. And just as prophets, priests, and kings were anointed for service, so Cyrus was anointed by God for the task God called him to do.
5. Cyrus was an instrument in the hand of God. God used Cyrus to restore the Jews to their land (44:28; 45:13). This is why Cyrus is referred to in Isaiah 45:1 as God’s “anointed” (cf. Scofield’s notes, p. 753).
6. Stressing the importance of Cyrus in the plan of God, WE Vines said that Cyrus’ restoration of the Jews “had a preparatory part in leading to the proclamation of a worldwide Gospel in these times” (Isaiah).
7. Since God raised up Cyrus to do God’s work, those that opposed Cyrus were opposing God’s program. God’s prophetic program is one of the great themes running through the book of Isaiah (cf. Isa. 45:9-13).
8. God has a program and it is my job and your job to be part of that program. It is foolish to disobey God. It is foolish to oppose God. I have entitled tonight’s message, “The Folly of Striving with God” (45:9).
I. THE GOD OF THE BIBLE IS THE ONLY TRUE GOD (45:5).
1. God’s purpose was that Cyrus might not merely know that God was the God of Israel, but that He was the only true God (45:5, 6).
2. He is the LORD of Israel, and He is the LORD God of heaven (cf. 45:3; Ezra 1:1-3).
3. God loosed the loins (slowed them down) of other kings, but He “girded” (strengthened) Cyrus (Isa. 45:1, 5).
4. There is only one true God (45:6, 18, 21, 22). All other gods are false gods. All of the other gods are dumb idols and devils (45:16, 20).
5. President George W. Bush was recently interviewed by ABC’s Charles Gibson Here is a verbatim transcript from that interview:
6. This indicates that President Bush does not really believe what the Bible teaches about God (cf. John 14:6).
7. God offers salvation to the whole world (45:22), but only those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are saved.
8. Isaiah 45:21 says, “And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.” We know from the NT, that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Saviour. In fact, the name Jesus means “Saviour” (cf. Matt. 1:21).
9. By comparing Scripture with Scripture, we can see that the prophet Isaiah is speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ in 45:23 (cf. Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10).
10. Years ago, when the JW came out with their NWT, they said in the preface that whenever they came to the word “Lord,” they would put “Jehovah” since they mean the same thing. But they were inconsistent and when they came to Rom. 10:9, Phil. 2:11, and some other Scriptures, they kept it the way it is because to insert “Jehovah” in these verses would be to admit that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God.
11. Some may misunderstand 45:7 – “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
12. The Hebrew word translated “evil” refers to “calamity” or “afflictions,” not to moral evil or sin (cf. Scofield, p. 754).
13. God creates these calamities as a punishment to sinners and as discipline for backsliding believers. Remember when Jonah disobeyed God’s call and boarded a ship going to Tarshish? Jonah 1:4 says, “But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”
14. The story of Jonah going to Nineveh, and the story of Cyrus, the Persian king (as well as many other stories recorded in the Bible) serve to remind us that the God of the Bible is the only true God.
15. “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). “From the rising of the sun, and from the west” (45:6) means the entire inhabited world (cf. Isa. 45:8).
16. During the millennial kingdom, heathens from around the world will acknowledge the true God (45:14).
II. GOD IS OUR CREATOR (45:7-9, 12, 18).
1. This is one of the great themes in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things.”
2. Isaiah 40:28 says, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?”
3. Isaiah 42:5 says, “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.”
4. Isaiah 43:15 says, “I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.”
5. The god of the Persians was the god of light. The God of the Bible “formed the light” (45:7). He created light and He created darkness.
6. There is a big battle today: Creationism (based on the Bible) vs. evolution (based upon an attack on the Bible).
7. Just recently I saw in the newspaper that they were showing on TV an old and very inaccurate portrayal of the 1925 Scopes trial, entitled Inherit the Wind. I think the play is on Broadway. The TV critic praised the movie and took a potshot at Creationists.
III. THE ONLY TRUE GOD IS THE GOD OF ISRAEL (45:3b, 15).
1. God is the God of Israel, and He is the Saviour of Israel (45:15-17).
2. During the OT, God was working through “the seed of Jacob” (45:19, 25).
3. God’s program today is the local church, but God is not through with Israel (45:17).
4. Romans 11:26 says, “And so all Israel shall be saved.”
1. It was almost 150 years ago, in England, that a fifteen year-old boy ducked into a church one Sunday morning. He had never been there before, and had no intention of going there that day.
2. But it was snowing hard and he could not attend his usual church on account of the storm. Inside there were only about a dozen or fifteen people that snowy morning, and the boy took a seat in the back.
3. Due to the storm, the pastor was unable to make it to church and so one of the members went up to preach. He was not an educated man and he was not an experienced preacher. And he was not prepared to preach that morning.
4. He read his text: Isaiah 45:22, and since he had nothing else to say, he kept repeating it. He said: “My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, Look. Now that does not take a deal of effort.”
5. On and on he went, and after about ten minutes or so, he looked at the boy in the back and said: “Young man, you look very miserable.” The young man had to admit that he felt very miserable.
6. The man continued, “And you will always be miserable – miserable in life and miserable in death – if you do not obey my text. But if you obey it now, this moment you will be saved.”
7. Then he began to shout, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ!” The young man did and was gloriously saved that Lord’s Day morning, January 6, 1850. He went on to become one of the greatest preachers of all time, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.