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Isaiah 45:1-13

Talks for Growing Christians

The Sovereign Works and Ways of God

Isaiah 45:1-13

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Lesson Number 36

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Because God is sovereign, His works include all things.
  2. Because God is sovereign, His ways should not be questioned.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t blame God for evil!

Questions

  1. How do critics of the Bible try to explain away Isaiah 44:28?
  2. Was Cyrus a believer, since he was referred to as the Lord’s anointed and “My Servant”?
  3. What does it mean to be sovereign?
  4. What strategy did the Persians use to conquer Babylon?
  5. How does Romans 9:19-21 relate to this passage?

Answers

  1. This is an amazingly accurate prophecy predicting Cyrus by name more than 150 years before his time. Critics try to say the entire book was written later, or that certain “prophecies” were inserted into the text at a later date, after the events took place.
  2. No, verses 4-5 emphasize that Cyrus did not know the Lord; He was a polytheist. He was referred to as God’s shepherd and His anointed because he was the means of leading God’s people back from their captivity in Babylon. God can use even pagan emperors to accomplish His purposes.
  3. To be sovereign means to have complete and supreme power, authority, and control.
  4. The Persians diverted the Euphrates River that ran through the city of Babylon. The Persians troops were able to thus get into the city and open the gates from inside, according to Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian.
  5. Both passages emphasize that since God created the universe, He certainly has the sovereign right to rule it.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Isaiah 45:6 indicates that through God’s sovereign use of Cyrus and the Persians, all people worldwide would come to know the supremacy of the God of Israel. Discuss how this would come to pass.
  2. Because God is sovereign, His ways should not be questioned. He can do anything He wants in line with His perfect character and plan. When do you most often find yourself questioning God’s ways? Refer to Isaiah 55:8-9.

Challenge

  1. How would you answer someone who blames God for evil, since He created man who does evil? Remember, God allows and permits His created to sin, since human beings are free moral agents with the capacity of choice.

Key Verses

  • “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held – to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut.” Isaiah 45:1
  • “Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’” Isaiah 45:9

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