Isaiah 43-45: God's Sovereign Choice of Israel and Her Destiny

43:1 - Redeemed = "ga'al" = to buy out of slavery

43:2 - Compare with 43:16-17, 44:27

  • God will execute a "new exodus" in similar form to the exodus from Egypt

43:3 - God allowed Persia to conquer Ethiopia and Seba (possibly Sheba - 1 Ki 10:1-13) as a reward for releasing Israel from captivity from Babylon

  • See also Isa 45:14


  • A densely packed collection of God's self-proclaimed names:
    • "God"
    • "I am (He)" cf. 
    • "The Lord"
    • "Redeemer"
    • "Holy One (of Israel)"
    • "Creator of Israel"
    • "King"
  • The Babylonians flee from the Persians - this is God's judgment on Babylon
  • Chaldeans
    • Semi-nomadic people that lived in Southern Babylon
      • Abraham came out of this area (Gen 11:31, Gen 15:7)
    • Also known as the "New Babylonians", they ruled Babylonia from 626-539 BC 
      • They held the Israelites captive under Nebuchadnezzar II from 597-539 BC

43:19-21 - Sound familiar?  Isa 41:18-20

43:26 - God invites Israel to the courtroom

  • As with "plea bargaining", it is wise for Israel (and us) to plead guilty before God and come to him in honest repentance in order to receive a lesser sentence; in the case with God in fact, the sentence is forgiven (served by Jesus instead)

44:3-5 - Israel will no longer be in fear of identifying with the name of God

  • Recall our discussion of the oppression of Israel throughout history

44:28 - Prophecy of the use of Cyrus to deliver Israel from captivity

  • In this way, he is an image of the Good Shepherd (Christ) who will ultimately deliver God's people from the captivity of sin
  • "His anointed" - same Hebrew word as in Ps 2:2 and Dan 9:25-26 referring to the Messiah
  • God uses Cyrus as a type of Messiah to deliver Israel
  • Right hand [2]:
    • Is 41:13 - God strengthens Cyrus in order to carry out His will
    • Luke 20:42-43 - the right hand is a place of authority - God is taking control of that place here
    • The right hand is representative of power (Ex 15:6)
    • Rev 1:12-20
  • Open the double doors... gates
    • Conflicting historical accounts:
      • Heroditus and Xenophon - city was besieged and entered through the dry riverbed, then opened the gates from the inside
      • Babylonian Chronicles and Cyrus Cylinder - following an initial attack, there as an uprising and fleeing of the Babylonian king, Nabonidus, after which the Persians were able to enter the city without battle
    • Either way, God provides means for Cyrus to the take the city
45:4-5 - "though you have not known me"
  • Cyrus is an example of how God uses and blesses underserving people.  Cyrus was not a God-honoring person.  God sovereignly chose him and then blessed him with success.
  • Not for Cyrus's gain, but so that "they may know ... Me" - for God's own glory and evangelism to the nations
45:8 - God describes the ultimate goal of his evangelism - righteousness and salvation for the entire world
  • That righteousness would both "pour down" and "spring up" - permeate everything
    • This describes God's future kingdom
  • God uses Cyrus, the type of Messiah, to hint at the coming salvation that Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, will bring
  • God is justified in using whomever he chooses, including Cyrus who does not know Him, for his purposes
  • Four examples
    • Potsherd - a broken piece of ceramic material, as at an archaeological site
    • Potter can make anything he chooses from the clay
    • Handiwork - no hands: an ironic play on words
    • Child can't speak back to parents about why they were brought forth
45:14 - cf. 43:3
  • Not just a reward to the Persians, but again, God's ultimate desire for them to see Him in it
  • "in vain" = chaos, confusion, emptiness
    • Instead, God formed it to be inhabited
  • "have not spoken in a dark place"
    • And not just inhabited, but for his creation to hear and see Him
    • God has not left his creation to its own destructive patterns, but provided a remedy
45:20-22 - "A just God and a savior"
  • Emphasizing three distinctions compared to idols
    • God has actual power
      • Power used justly
        • And with the goal of saving his people
  • "There is none besides me ...  there is no other" - God is unique in this
45:23-25 - "Every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess"
  • Quoted by Paul directly (Rom 14:5-13) and loosely (Phil 2:9-11) with multiple levels of meaning
    • Isaiah - Every nation will come to the knowledge that righteousness is only found in God
    • Romans - We must each give an account to God for our actions and motivations
    • Phil - Jesus is the one who brings about this hope of righteousness for all men
  • Those who do not accept God's righteousness will still give an account to Him and ultimately come to the knowledge of it
    • "And shall be ashamed" (v. 24) of their incorrect thinking

God's proclamations of his sovereignty:

Isa 43:5-7, 10-13 (cf. Job 42:1-2), 19, 44:6-8, 24-28, 45:5-9, 12-13, 18-19, 22-25

  • "Thus says the Lord" - a common phrase used by Isaiah in passages to stress the divine authority of God's word [1]


  1. J. F. Walvoord, R. B. Zuck; "The Bible Knowledge Commentary"; 1985