I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. — Isaiah 45:5-6
“You’ll feel as if you are at the top of the world,” my husband promised. At times it was necessary to focus on that thought while driving up a very steep and narrow dirt road with many rocks and an extremely sharp drop-off to the side of us! However, as we neared the summit of the Steens Mountains in southeastern Oregon, we came to grassy pastures and eventually a view that spanned miles. The deep gorges, the magnitude and vastness of what we saw, were awesome. To me, loudly and clearly it said, “God — the Creator!”
You’ve had similar experiences as you viewed nature — a sunset that took your breath away, the spray of a waterfall that created a rainbow, a tiny flower popping out of a crevice between the rocks. Nature speaks clearly of God, and it seems hard to believe that anyone can miss that message. Yet some people do!
In ancient times, people worshiped many gods, attributing various natural phenomena to different deities. In the focus verses, God was proclaiming that He was, and is, not one of many gods. He is the One and only God!
While people today may not espouse the idea of many gods, their concepts of who God is are just as foolish. Some people are convinced that there is no God at all. Others allow that God exists in some form or other, but make Him impersonal (like “Mother Earth” or an “energy” that makes electrons behave as they do). Still others think that any version of God will do as long as a person is sincere in his beliefs. In short, people act as if whatever they themselves think about God will make it so!
The reality is that God is just who and what He says He is. The focus verses record what God says about Himself, and this theme is repeated over and over in Isaiah 45. God is Lord of all, and there is no power remotely comparable to Him. What people think or say about Him does not change the fact of His existence or alter His character. God is who He is — and He will have the final say.
In reflecting on the greatness of God, and at the same time His concern for each of us personally, the songwriter expressed it in these words: “He’s big enough to rule the mighty universe, yet small enough to live within my heart.”(1) May we rejoice in our God and show Him our appreciation by serving Him with all of our hearts!
The last verse of the previous chapter and the first eight verses of chapter 45 contain the prophecy concerning King Cyrus. It is interesting to note that Isaiah lived about 740-680 B.C., while Cyrus was not to reign until 559-530 B.C. Thus, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah was naming a specific leader and foretelling events that would occur over 150 years into the future. Isaiah foretold that Cyrus would be “anointed” by God to restore the Israelites to their own country and to assist in the rebuilding of the Temple — all for no selfish benefit of his own. Yet at the time this was written, the Temple had not yet been destroyed nor had the people been taken into captivity.
Verse 5 points out that God selected Cyrus for this important task although he was not of Jewish heritage and had little, if any, background in their religion. By comparison, none of the kings of Israel (the ten northern tribes) and few of the kings of Judah had ever been used by God in such a dramatic way. In verse 7, the words, “I . . . create evil” are a reference to God’s allowing of calamities and catastrophes, not to moral evil.
While the prophecy concerning Cyrus proved to be accurate, these verses also pointed to the day when Christ would come. Verse 22 indicates something more than a restoration of people to their rightful earthly inheritance. Christ would make it possible for people to be saved spiritually and made eligible for eternal benefits which were otherwise lost by the fall of man.
Repeatedly in chapter 45, God points out that He is Lord over all, and that beside Him there is none other. By using Cyrus, God was also showing that He was God of the entire world, not just of Judah or Israel. This thought is reinforced by verse 6, which states that God rules “from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me.” In the same vein, verse 22 is a call for people from all over the world to be saved.
In verses 9 and 10 God uses a little irony. Should the wet clay on the potter’s wheel yell out to the potter, criticizing what he is doing? Or would a newborn infant scream out to his mother and father in protest of their roles in bringing him into the world? God wanted Israel to see that these ideas were no more foolish than when humans protest against God and question His right to rule over them. God created the world, and He definitely has the right to set the rules and boundaries for mankind!
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The message of consolation: The Holy One of Israel comforting, redeeming and enriching
A. The promise of deliverance (comfort)
4. The consolation of Israel
c. The proclamations of God
(2) The restoration of Israel by Cyrus (44:24 — 45:7)
(3) The reality of God’s sovereignty (45:8-17)
(4) The invitation to salvation (45:18-25)
Perhaps today you will “see” God in nature or by His moving in your life. Whatever each moment brings, you can know that God is God, and there is no God beside Him. Yet He wants to walk with you if you will let Him.
1. “How Big Is God” by Stuart Hamblen. Copyright 1959 by Hamblen Music Company.