Turn to Me and Be Saved,

For I Am God and there is No Other

45: 18-25

   DIG: What lessons from 44:24-26 are repeated here? What is the purpose of this continual contrast between the LORD and idols? From this passage alone, what does ADONAI say about His character? His purposes? His desires? Where is 45:23 quoted in the New Covenant, and in reference to whom?

   REFLECT: How do these verses form the backdrop for Philippians 2:10-11? Accordingly, who are the descendants of Israel (see Galatians 3:29)? What do these verses indicate about the ultimate purpose of God’s judgments and acts in history? God calls all types of people to come to Him. How does that affect your prayers? Your priorities? Your sense of purpose? Your hope?

    Isaiah continues his near historical prophecy about the approaching deliverance for those Jews sitting in Babylon who needed hope. The LORD is our blessed hope (Titus 2:13); He is the Creator and the Revealer. God’s creative power is proof that what He predicted about Cyrus is true. For this is what the LORD says, He who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it (45:18a). In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the First Covenant, the word ki, meaning for or because, shows that what follows only confirms what went before it. And what went on before it was that ADONAI was the Potter and Isra'el was the clay; He was the Holy One of Isra'el and its Maker (45:9-11). Four different verbs underscore His creative powers, and two of them are repeated twice, to make the point that the heavens and the earth are the works of His hands. He created, and fashioned, and made and founded the earth.

    He did not create it to be empty, or chaotic, but formed it to be inhabited (45:18b). Some use this verse to prove that there is a “gap” between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 (see my commentary on Genesis Ah – The Supposed Gap Theory). I do not believe in the Gap Theory because of context, context, context. In Genesis 1:31, God saw all that He had made and it was very good. If the world had been laid waste between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 it would not have been very good. But I digress, in comparison to the true and living God, the idols that Isra'el had been worshiping continued to disappoint those who made them. Chaos did not exist before ADONAI, and ADONAI did not bring chaos into existence. He brought order in existence and created the world specifically for humans to live an orderly life. Who could the Israelites trust? God’s order or the idol’s chaos?

    Therefore, ADONAI communicated the truth to them by saying: I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, “Seek Me in vain.” I the LORD, speak the truth. I declare what is right (45:19). Another proof that what God had said about Israel’s salvation is the very nature of God’s Word. He is the Revealer and speaks only what is true. Isaiah said God had not spoken in secret because everything that has happened has been prophesied. Furthermore, He has not spoken out in a land of darkness, like what took place with the occult worship in Babylon. When the Babylonian prophets spoke they were in contact with darkness and the world of darkness. The LORD never told Isra'el to seek Him in vain. Because whenever sinners seek ADONAI, they will find righteousness and salvation. Jesus said it this way: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).

    Who could deliver Isra'el? The LORD or the gods? Far from Isra'el being concerned over whether God could deliver her from Babylon, it was the mighty Babylonians who needed to worry about whether the gods whom they had served could deliver them! Then Isaiah moved to his amazing conclusion. If Babylon wanted to be delivered from its coming destruction, it needed to look to the God of their captives, the God of Isra'el. It wasn’t like ADONAI was going to secretly whisk His people back to Judah. No, it was their own make-believe gods that would utterly fail the Babylonians.

    So the LORD called the peoples of the world to come together to test His true identity. Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Those fugitives seemed to look forward to the time when the judgments associated with Cyrus (45:1-3, 14 and 16) had already occurred. Those who were left after the destruction were invited to reflect on what all of it meant. Ignorant are those who carry about empty idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save them (45:20). Those fugitives were portrayed as carrying around sacred pieces of wood, praying to them even though all the evidence pointed to the fact that they were utterly useless.

    But what about Isra'el? Would she continue to trust in her idols that got her into trouble in the first place? This was a teachable moment, and Isra'el’s great tragedy became God’s great opportunity. This was a close analogy to the ark narrative in First Samuel 4-5. There, because of the magical trust in the ark, Isra'el was defeated and the ark taken. But that defeat then became a perfect opportunity to show the Philistines that God was not defeated just because Israel was. Likewise here, Isra'el’s captivity, the result of false trust in the Temple (Jeremiah 7:3-15), among other things, became an opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of God to the idols of Babylon.173 Isra'el was called upon to repudiate all idolatry. The idols are so helpless that they cannot even carry themselves. They must be carried by their worshipers to their temples, and in their processions into battle (Second Samuel 5:21).

    Isaiah then asked the Israelite exiles in Babylon to present their strongest case possible for idolatry. He said: Declare what is to be, present it – let them take counsel together. Who foretold the Babylonian captivity long ago? Who declared it from the distant past (45:21a)? The scene is reminiscent of Psalm 2:2 where the kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against His Anointed One. But their cause is just as hopeless here as it was there.

    Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me (45:21b). God alone had the ability to predict the future accurately. That had been at the heart of all the disputes between the LORD and Isra'el from the beginning (41:22-27; 43:9-10; 44:7-8). The real proof of ADONAI’s superiority is His sovereignty over history. To put it simply, God can make things happen, while the idols just sit there.

    Therefore, both the logic and evidence presented by Isaiah were indisputable. Since the LORD is the only revealer of things that came in the past and things that were coming in the future, He is the only righteous God and Savior. The gods of Babylon will not save the Jews, only ADONAI will save Jacob’s descendants. In the captivity the Israelites could count on the fact that God would deliver them from exile by the hand of Cyrus. There is none like Him. He is the Promise Keeper, and declares: I am the LORD, and there is no other (45:18c).

    Isaiah continued with his prophecy, declaring that one day the Gentile nations would know ADONAI in a personal way. We cannot go wrong if we remind ourselves again that Isaiah’s name means the LORD saves and conclude that the primary theme of the book of Isaiah is salvation. Isaiah 45:22, then, can serve us well as the key verse for the book as a whole: Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. The God of Isra'el turns to the Gentile nations and calls for them to turn to the LORD. This phrase means believe in the LORD and be saved. This is the consistent message of the Bible from beginning to end. In Genesis 12:3 we read: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. And then in Revelation 5:9 we read: They sang a new song, “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” This has always been a blind spot for the Jews (see Acts 10). But it will change at the end of the Great Tribulation (see my commentary on Revelation Ev - The Basis for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ).

    ADONAI swears by Himself because what He has uttered in all integrity, is a word that will not be revoked (45:23a). What He says is true and will never be retracted. There is only one God to whom the world owes allegiance, only one by whom oaths can be guaranteed. Thus, there is only one Judge and Savior of the whole world. This has implications for Israel, but it also has implications for the Gentiles. All will be judged and give an account of themselves to God (Romans 14:10-12), and before Him every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father (Isaiah 45:23b; Philippians 2:9-11). Yeshua Messiah alone will judge all mankind . The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son (John 5:23). And ADONAI alone will save all the earth. Thus, while bowing the knee may be the act of a condemned criminal, it is also that of a pardoned sinner!

    The only hope for Isra'el, for the world, and for you and me continues to be the LORD. He is not the Savior of Isra'el merely because He is Isra'el’s God. He is the Savior of Isra'el because He is the Savior of the world. Moreover, ADONAI declares: They will say of Me, “In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength. And all who have raged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame” (45:24). The implied far eschatological prophecy given here describes the final verdict given to the spiritual rebels in the courtroom of Jesus Christ (see my commentary on Revelation Fo – The Great White Throne Judgment). For the faithful remnant, the great white throne judgment will be something to look forward to, because it will vindicate their lives. Evil will be punished and their faithfulness will be rewarded.

    Recorded history will show that the vast majority of Jews have not accepted Yeshua as the Messiah. To this day most refuse to bow the knee and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. But at the Second Coming, all the righteous of the TANAKH will be saved (Romans 11:26a). At that time, during the Millennial Kingdom, when the world finally admits that its gods are nothing, all the descendants of Isra'el will be found righteous in the LORD and will rejoice in Him (Isaiah 45:25). He will be the One who vindicated them and who is glorified in them. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). All that is praiseworthy is a result of who God is and what He has done for Isra'el and for us.174 Will Cyrus physically deliver them from the Babylonian captivity? Yes, but that physical deliverance only foreshadows a far greater spiritual deliverance to come. We have reached a turning point in Isaiah’s book. From this point on Cyrus fades into the background and the rest of the story is dominated by the One who had chosen to use him.

    The righteousness of God is seen most clearly in His gracious gift of salvation. In the middle of the nineteenth century, Charles Spurgeon, the famous preacher-evangelist, not yet sixteen years old, was converted to faith in Christ after hearing a layman’s sermon on Isaiah 45:22. He said it was as if the LORD was speaking directly to him, saying: Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I Am God, and there is no other.175 ADONAI was the only one who could save Israel from Babylon, and He is the only one who can save us from our sin.

    The fact that there is only one God and only one way to heaven is just as fundamental and distasteful today as it was many centuries ago. This is a radically exclusive message. There is only one God and one Savior, and He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yeshua said it this way: I Am the Way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me (John 14:6). Wow, is that offensive to unbelievers. They say, “How narrow-minded,” or “How judgmental!” But the offense is real (Galatians 5:11). In reality, Messiah’s message is our only hope (Jeremiah 29:11-14). You must either accept it, or reject it. But you cannot ignore it.

 

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