Saturday 02 April 2022

Bible Book:

'I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me.' (v. 5)

Isaiah 45:1-13 Saturday 2 April 2022

Psalm 112


God has revealed the plan to Israel to use Cyrus (King of Persia) as the agent who will restore the Jewish people's home, their city (Jerusalem) and the Temple (Isaiah 44:26-28). However there is a mixed reaction to the idea of using a foreigner and a Gentile (non-Jew) to end the period of exile. There is fear that their homecoming will be as subjects of a pagan king, with the holy city of Jerusalem and the Temple rebuilt under Cyrus' direction. God's response is to underline that there is no 'plan B' and that both creation and salvation are only possible by the hand of the Lord.

By means of two pictures (verses 9-10), God underlines that as a nation of created beings, Israel is entirely dependent upon the creator. Clay is powerless to mould itself, but only becomes formed through the hands of the potter. Likewise, a child is unable to choose a father during conception, or a mother during birth. Both the pot and the baby are dependent entirely upon a power beyond themselves for their existence. Like rebellious children, Israel is now questioning God's purpose for their future, suggesting they are forgetful of the divine grace of the past. Through Cyrus, God is proposing to offer Israel freedom and salvation from exile, but the exiles seem to have become choosy about how they wish to be freed and saved.

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

To Ponder:

  • In what ways are you creative? When have you created something and "it was very good" (Genesis 1:31)? How did you feel?
  • Which of the images offered in Isaiah (the pot and the baby) do you find most helpful in reflecting on the relationship between creator and creation? Or are there other images that you find more insightful?
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