Where Is God?

KEY VERSE: “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” —Isaiah 44:22

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 44:21 to 45:8

THE PROPHET ISAIAH lived during the reigns of Uzziah, Jothan, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Little is known about his birth except that his father was Amoz. It is generally believed that Manasseh, successor to Hezekiah, put him to death.

What is important to our lesson is that Isaiah, as a true and loyal prophet of the Lord, was able to predict so many events in the experience of the nation of Israel. Israel was favored of God and was the only nation ‘known’ by him. “You only have I known of all the families of the earth.” (Amos 3:2) In spite of this favor they constantly forsook God and fell into idolatrous worship of false gods. The ten-tribe northern kingdom was worse in this respect than the two-tribe kingdom of Judah and Benjamin. Isaiah lived in Jerusalem and prophesied of events that would occur from his day down to the establishment of God’s kingdom.

It was during Hezekiah’s tenure of office that the ten-tribe kingdom was taken captive by Assyria. Isaiah predicted the punishment of the northern kingdom and of Judah, and the punishment of their captors. Assyria laid siege to Jerusalem, but God helped Hezekiah to resist captivity and destruction by sending his angel to destroy Sennacherib’s army. See II Kings 18:28 to 19:37. However, when emissaries came from Babylon to see King Hezekiah he showed them all the treasures of his dominion and the Temple. When Isaiah went to the king to ask who these emissaries were, and what they had seen, he told Hezekiah that all this treasure would be taken to Babylon. Also, that his descendants would be taken captive and made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. (II Kings 20:12-19) This was prophesied approximately one hundred years before it took place.

Isaiah constantly called Israel’s attention to Jehovah, the true God, and to his mighty power. “I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” (Isa. 44:24) He wanted Israel to know that when the calamities occurred which would cause them to ask, ‘Where is God?’, they were to remember his prophecies of God’s favor returning to them. Thus he said on this occasion concerning God: “I am the Lord … that confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof.”—Isa. 44:24-26

In this prophecy, Isaiah mentions Cyrus as the ‘Lord’s anointed’, who would permit the Temple to be rebuilt, and Jerusalem to be restored. (Isa. 44:28; 45:1) This is a remarkable prophecy, calling by name someone who would not appear on the scene until Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by Babylon. Babylon itself was conquered by the Medes and Persians 170 years later. It is reasoned that Daniel called Cyrus’ attention to this prophecy of Isaiah, and that it led to his proclamation to free the Israelites.

Isaiah’s prophecy concerns God’s kingdom when Jesus, as the true anointed of God, will accomplish the fulfillment of our Key Verse—the redemption of Israel—by blotting out their sins through the ransom merit of Jesus.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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