InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Read | Isaiah 45:6-9
God Uses Cyrus
1Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed,
Whom I have taken by the right hand,
To subdue nations before him
And to loose the loins of kings;
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:
2“I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;
I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.
3“I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden wealth of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I,
The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
4“For the sake of Jacob My servant,
And Israel My chosen one,
I have also called you by your name;
I have given you a title of honor
Though you have not known Me.
5“I am the LORD, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God
I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
6That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other,
7The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the LORD who does all these.
God’s Supreme Power
8“Drip down, O heavens, from above,
And let the clouds pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit,
And righteousness spring up with it.
I, the LORD, have created it.
9“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker–
An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth!
Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’
Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?
10“Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?'”
11Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
“Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons,
And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.
12“It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it
I stretched out the heavens with My hands
And I ordained all their host.
13“I have aroused him in righteousness
And I will make all his ways smooth;
He will build My city and will let My exiles go free,
Without any payment or reward,” says the LORD of hosts.
14Thus says the LORD,
“The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush
And the Sabeans, men of stature,
Will come over to you and will be yours;
They will walk behind you, they will come over in chains
And will bow down to you;
They will make supplication to you:
‘Surely, God is with you, and there is none else,
No other God.'”
15Truly, You are a God who hides Himself,
O God of Israel, Savior!
16They will be put to shame and even humiliated, all of them;
The manufacturers of idols will go away together in humiliation.
17Israel has been saved by the LORD
With an everlasting salvation;
You will not be put to shame or humiliated
To all eternity.
18For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited),
“I am the LORD, and there is none else.
19“I have not spoken in secret,
In some dark land;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in a waste place’;
I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
Declaring things that are upright.
20“Gather yourselves and come;
Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations;
They have no knowledge,
Who carry about their wooden idol
And pray to a god who cannot save.
21“Declare and set forth your case;
Indeed, let them consult together
Who has announced this from of old?
Who has long since declared it?
Is it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me.
22“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.
23“I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
24“They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength ‘
Men will come to Him,
And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.
25“In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
Will be justified and will glory.”
Yesterday’s reading affirmed that God is in everything from natural disasters to family disputes. Nothing touches a believer’s life unless it comes through His permissive hand. And He brings about good from even our worst experiences (Rom. 8:28). But believing in divine sovereignty over all the events of earth implies a connection between holy God and our sin. Then, just how are they related?
Read this carefully: God neither instigates sin nor leads anyone into temptation. He is holy, so He can’t be in the presence of sin. He is just, so He demands payment for wrongs. And He’s loving and merciful, so He desires that all people know Him and His saving grace. To lure people into wrongdoing and then judge them for disobedience would be contrary to His character.
At times people point out the King James translation of Isaiah 45:7, which says that God makes peace and creates evil. While I love the KJV’s poetic language, I teach from the New American Standard Bible because it’s the most accurate translation. The NASB says God is the One “causing well-being and creating calamity . . . ” Even before we make a wrong choice, the Lord knows what the repercussions will be. And He uses the evil circumstances related to our sin as a teaching tool.
We have a certain amount of free will—the Lord allows us to step out His will and pursue our own agenda. He knows that sin reveals the flesh’s weakness and arrogance. Once we realize our frailty, He teaches us to die to self and to rely upon Christ’s strength (Gal. 2:20).