"Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?" (v. 11)

Isaiah 45:1-13 Tuesday 10 December 2013


God has revealed the plan to Israel to use Cyrus as the agent ofrestoration to home, city and temple (Isaiah44:26-28). However dissent seems to be the response to the ideato use a foreigner and a Gentile (non-Jew) to end the period ofexile. There is fear that the homecoming will be as subjects of apagan king, with the holy city of Jerusalem and the temple rebuiltunder his direction. God's response is to underline that there isno 'plan B' and that both creation and salvation are only possibleby the hand of the Lord.

By means of two pictures (verses 9-10), God underlines that as anation of created beings, Israel is entirely dependent upon thecreator. Clay is powerless to mould itself, but only becomes formedthrough the hands of the potter, and a child is unable to choose afather during conception, nor a mother during birth. Both the potand the baby are dependent entirely upon a power beyond themselvesfor their existence. Like a rebellious child, Israel is nowquestioning God's purpose for their future, suggesting they areforgetful of the divine grace of the past. Through Cyrus, God isproposing to offer Israel freedom and salvation from exile, but theexiles seem to have become choosy as to how they wish to be freedand saved.

God however will not be deflected from the divine purpose, andthat purpose includes raising Cyrus for the task (verse 13) everybit as much as it involves the freedom and restoration of Israel.There is no conflict, ultimately, between Israel's identity, theinstrument who has been chosen to restore its fortunes and thedivine nature of the Eternal One.

To Ponder

  • In what ways are you creative? When have you created somethingand "it was very good" (Genesis1:31)? How did you feel?
  • Which of the images offered in Isaiah (the pot, the baby) doyou find most helpful in reflecting on the relationship betweencreator and creation? Why? What other images of your own do youfind more insightful?

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