Daily Bible Reading for February 28, 2014: Isaiah 45-50
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Context and Meaning: The last of verse of chapter 44 introduces the theme of chapter 45: Cyrus. Verses 1-6 address God's calling of Cyrus and his purpose. Verses 7-13 shows God as the creator of all things. Chapter 45 ends with God's promise that Israel will be restored. Chapter 46 is a pronouncement of judgment against idols. Addressed in this passage are pagan idols of Babylon, from who all idol worship is derived. Chapter 47 foretells of the decline of Babylon (1-5), Israel's deliverance into Babylonian hands (6-9), the destruction of Babylon (10-11), and the dilemma of Babylon (12-15). In chapter 48, God gives a final, longing call to Israel, the house of Jacob. God wants to bless the Israelites. He wants to bless us beyond our wildest dreams, yet because we deny Him, we cannot be granted His blessing. Chapter 49 begins by telling of the coming Messiah. He will restore and save Israel and her oppressors will face judgment. In chapter 50, Israel is asked to consider why they have been set aside by God. In Mosaic Law, a man can set his wife aside for the smallest pretext. God did not set the Israelites aside lightly. In verse 4 to 9, Isaiah predicts the humiliation Christ will receive. Isaiah ends the chapter, imploring those listening or reading to follow Christ.
World History: So who is this Cyrus and why is he so important? When Isaiah wrote this, Cyrus had not yet been born. It would be nearly 150 years before Cyrus was born. He was Cyrus II "the Great," who overthrew Babylon and founded the Persian Empire. He freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity and allowed them to return to Israel and rebuild the temple.