Isaiah 45 — Part 5 — The Denial, The Obedience & The Reward
“Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah. 45:9-13
As foolish as it may be to consider a clay pot objecting to the way the pot maker fashioned it, it is equally as absurd for men to question God about what He has created, to chide Him for not making them in the way they think they should have been made. We were not created for our pleasure, rather, for the pleasure of God. And yet, in God’s omnipotent purpose and design for creation, man was created to enjoy life and to live in a continual all-fulfilling communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, God invites His creation, His people to seek Him about His purpose for life, indeed, for their lives. “Command ye me,” simply means, “ask Me” of things to come where the nation is concerned, and of your individual lives. “Ask Me” what is the nature and purpose of all creation. Why is there air? Where does air come from? What shall become of this nation? What is Your plan and purpose for my life? These are the kinds of questions God invites from us. Indeed, any question about anything is invited before God. But, to question God’s sovereign intent so as to criticize His integrity, or to speak as a judge against His nature and manner of creation is to seek to set one’s self in the place of God.
It was God’s expressed purpose to create man in His image and after His likeness. It was His expressed intent for man to dwell on Earth in peace, in the perfect setting for life and joyful procreation, in Eden. The stars, the planets, the galaxies and beyond are all His creation according to what pleases Him.
Likewise, in His absolute sovereignty, He raised up Cyrus in His righteousness, to be His instrument for the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple, and for release of those held in captivity in Babylon and every nation where His people have been scattered.
And Cyrus would accomplish these things not through deceit, bribery or mercenary reward. He will do these things with a deep settled conviction of a heart that believes that God is God alone and His will is paramount. The reward for Cyrus was the peace of knowing he had been an obedient servant.
“And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, “Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, “Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” Luke 17:7-10
If Israel had understood this prophecy they would have found through simple obedience the eternal peace and favor of God they so desperately desired. But, they would not and therefore fell continually into disobedience seeking their own pleasure and not the pleasure of God, Who is sovereign forever.
The phrase “…saith the Lord of hosts,” is a reference to Jesus as the commander of the armies, the angels of Heaven who move at God’s command.
“Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.” Psalm 103:20
God is the One who conquers kingdoms by the hands of men, whom He has chosen for His purpose. David was chosen to be King over all of Israel and to subdue kingdoms and those who God gave to Him. He was God’s particular choice not a random selection made by men. He was obedient to His calling and God was with Him and thus, he was called a man after God’s own heart. [Acts 13:22]
Jesus, the Righteous One, was raised up as a man, to be God’s Sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. God was with Him and directed all that He did.
“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30
For us, this is the transformation that we are being conformed to by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us to become more like Jesus. Our part is to be willing to be changed and to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in setting aside our wills, our desires, our self-seeking ways to submit ourselves wholeheartedly to pleasing God.
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Mark 8:34
Denying self is just good sense, first, because it pleases God, and secondly, because it results in great benefit, favor and reward for us. Doing the will of God is an act of faith because we are not always aware of the whys and wherefores. We simply act or refrain from acting because we know it is right to do in the eyes of God, whether we are seen by men in the process or not. Our faith is simply to obey the Father.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Whenever the question of obedience to “God” is raised we can initially feel a sense of being under the constraints of a rigid taskmaster at best or a cruel tyrant at worst. But God, our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is neither of these. He loves us and His only purpose is to bring us into the fullest realization and the deepest fulfillment of our Holy, intended purpose. He wants us to be blessed and to be a blessing, perpetuating life and abounding in joy, righteousness and peace in the Holy Spirit. [Romans. 14:17]
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” Hebrews 10:35