In Isaiah 45:14-17, the prophet is speaking to God’s people during their exile in Babylon. Isaiah prophesied this message years before the Babylonians actually captured Judah and took the people into captivity. In verse 14, he addresses the citizens of Jerusalem, who were destined to be scattered, but also to return to Israel. This would all be hard to believe at this point in history, since the Babylonians already ruled the world. But Isaiah says, “Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.” (Isaiah 45:14).
Isaiah says of God in verse 14, “Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel.” God’s plans for his people were hidden from them in their present circumstances. “No one who saw the captives from Judah struggling to rebuild their shattered lives in Babylon would guess their significance. They were not a nation – scarcely even the remnant of one, since all their national institutions had been destroyed” (Bible Speaks Today – BST). One day, however, they would be free to go back and rebuild their nation.
God later anointed the Persian king, Cyrus to defeat the Babylonians. He called Cyrus “my Shepherd [who] will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid'” (Isaiah 44:28). All this shows how God controls history.
When Jesus spoke of the kingdom, he spoke of its hiddenness. “It is like a treasure in a field, or yeast in flour, hidden from view, but destined to dwarf everything else into insignificance” (Matt. 13:33, 44 -BST). In the political climate of our day, when God is literally being removed from the public space, it is good to remember that the Kingdom of God reigns in our land. Jesus is Lord of history. We are part of his kingdom reign. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Rev. 10:10).
Today voices opposed to the gospel message, behaving with almost religious zeal, want their view of social good and history to prevail. God will use these contemporary secular movements for his purpose, just as he used the powerful and wicked Persian king, Cyrus. God said of Cyrus, “I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me” (Is. 45:4).
The overcoming church will become smaller in the days to come. Believers might seem to lose their voice and influence. But remember: God is at work. His kingdom will prevail. We have Jesus’ promise to Peter which he meant for us too: “…You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it” (Matt 16:18).
In days when the Church faces opposition from within and without, it is vital for us to be informed and formed by the message of the gospel, and not be led astray by the dominant cultural narrative.
These three commitments are vital: First, total surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. You are going to be challenged regarding your allegiance. Make Jesus Lord of all your life.
Second, commit firmly to a biblical worldview. You will not be able to relax your commitment. Be a “self-starter” in scripture. This means thinking through what you believe (and why) according to scripture.
Thirdly, be filled with the Spirit of God. Continually cry out for God to fill and renew your spirit, so you can be strong in heart and mind for the battles to come.
Devotions from Judy’s heart