Isaiah 45:8-13

There is a picture of ‘showers’ of ‘’righteousness’’ falling down from the sky in (8). How we want such holy rain to fall on the nations of our world! This verse speaks of heaven affecting earth. God pours out something good that causes ‘’salvation’’ to ‘’spring up’’ and ‘’righteousness’’ grows with it; for God saves people to glorify Him by right living. That way this sin-cursed earth gets ‘flooded’ with righteousness. Salvation, of course, is God’s idea. It is His invention. It’s all of Him. People can’t be saved and live righteously without a sovereign work of God’s grace in their hearts. (By the way, salvation and righteousness are closely linked in Isaiah: 46:13, 51:5, 56:1; and, indeed, throughout the Bible.) ‘’Open up, heavens, and rain. Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness! Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation; sprout right living. I, GOD, generate all this.’’ The Message. I really would like it to rain heavily today if we can have this sort of cloudburst!

The salvation spoken of in Isaiah 45 mainly concerned the captives being saved from exile in Babylon. (But when we take the Bible’s big picture we know that there is a greater dimension to the doctrine of salvation, finally and fully revealed in Jesus.) Maybe it would seem strange to God’s people that He would use the fearful pagan emperor, Cyrus, to deliver them (9-13; see Isaiah 29:16 and Jeremiah 18:1-10). Perhaps they would want to question God on this matter. Maybe there would be a sense of God fumbling His work. So the exalted, sovereign Lord of history, the Creator of the universe, reminds them that He is God and they are not! He knows what He is doing, even when others may not understand. The object lesson from the starry universe has been similarly, if more gently, used in 40:26-31. ‘’Does clay talk back to the potter: ‘What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!’…Are you telling me what I can or cannot do? I made earth, and I created man and woman to live on it. I handcrafted the skies and direct all the constellations in their turnings. And now I’ve got Cyrus on the move. I’ve rolled out the red carpet before him. He will build my city. He will bring home my exiles. I didn’t hire him to do this. I told him. I, GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies.’’ The Message. God was going to raise up Cyrus in His ‘’righteousness’’ (13). It was not wrong for the Lord to use him; He would employ him to bring about right. All the time this powerful man would be under God’s control and not realise it!

There may come times for us when we do not understand what God is doing, and we are tempted to question Him. How appropriate, then, are these words for us: ‘’We must will and dare to believe that God is doing his very best for us, and doing it in the very best way.’’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Great verses through the Bible, p.286.

Prayer: Let your showers of righteousness pour down on this needy world today Sovereign Lord.