The Pulpit Commentary

Isaiah 45:8 (Isaiah 45:8)

THE BLESSED RESULTS OF ISRAEL 'S DELIVERANCE . The restoration of Israel to their own land will be followed by a great increase of righteousness and salvation. They will be, as it were, showered down abundantly from heaven, while at the same time they will spring in profusion from earth's bosom. Jehovah, who has caused the deliverance, will also cause these results to follow from it.

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Isaiah 45:8 (Isaiah 45:8)

Drop down, ye heavens ; literally, distil , ye heavens (camp. Deuteronomy 32:1 ; Job 36:28 ); or rain down on the thirsty earth your gracious influences. Let righteousness, or God's law of right, descend afresh from the skies as a boon to mankind—a boon for which they have been long waiting. And … let the earth open . Let earth make due response, opening her gentle besom, as she does in spring, and blossoming with human righteousness, the fruit and evidence of salvation. To the prophet's rapt gaze the excellence of the post-Captivity times, when all idolatry had been put away, seemed, in comparison with earlier ages, the reign of justice and truth upon earth. I the Lord have created it; i.e. "I, Jehovah, have wrought the change by the larger outpouring of my Spirit" (camp. Isaiah 43:3 ).

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Isaiah 45:1-8 (Isaiah 45:1-8)

Cyrus the anointed of Jehovah.

I. THE REASON OF THE DIVINE FAVOR TO CYRUS . Cyrus is the only king out of Israel who bears the title of Jehovah's anointed. He is solemnly set apart as an instrument to perform an important public service in the cause of Jehovah. It does not necessarily imply the piety of Cyrus. For the purposes of Jehovah he is upheld, "grasped by the right hand," that he may subdue nations before him—from the Euxine to Egypt, from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. The girdles of mighty kings will be unloosed before him. See this said of Belshazzar ( Daniel 5:6 ); then were the "two-leaved gates" of Babylon left open, amidst the revelry, and the conqueror broke in unopposed (Herod; 1:191). The treasures of the city are laid open before him.

1 . The object was that he might acknowledge Jehovah. "He hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth" ( Ezra 1:2 ). "Son of Cambyses, Heaven favours you manifestly, or you could not thus have risen superior to fortune". None but the Omniscient could have known the person and the name of him who was to conquer Babylon and deliver his people

2 . The next object was the deliverance of the chosen people. "The fates of the empires and kingdoms of the world are divinely disposed of with a view to the Church." But all the progress and prosperity of true religion are summed up in the knowledge of Jehovah : that he is the sole God ; that he is the Creator and the providential Ruler of the world. The alternation of day and night is Jehovah's ordinance. So also is that of peace and war, success and misfortune, good and evil. This is pure monotheism, opposed alike to pantheism and to dualism. That the world may be converted to true religion is the final and all-comprehensive object.

II. SONG OF PRAISE . "The appearance of the shepherd of Jehovah, and the thought of the blessings of which he is to be the medium, inspires the prophet with a joyous strain of psalmody." The form of the expression is borrowed from the Eastern religions, the fertility of the earth being due to the impregnating influence of Heaven ( Psalms 85:11 ; Hosea 2:21 , Hosea 2:22 ). Righteousness, in the sense of salvation ( Isaiah 51:5 , Isaiah 51:6 , Isaiah 51:8 ; Isaiah 56:1 ; Isaiah 59:17 ; Isaiah 61:10 , Isaiah 61:11 ; Isaiah 62:1 ), descends upon the souls of men. And they will break forth into "fruits of righteousness" to the glory of God. Prepared for repentance and the reception of the truth from the Holy Spirit, they will be, even as the earth is, made mellow and adapted for the reception of seed by rain and dew. "A Church smiles under the influence of a revival of religion, and society puts on the aspect of loveliness like the earth after abundant showers.'—J.

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Isaiah 45:6-8 (Isaiah 45:6-8)

An old perplexity.

From very ancient times, through very many generations, there has presented itself to the human mind the perplexity which arises from the antagonism of forces. We find everywhere—

I. OPPOSITE ASPECTS OF HUMAN LIFE . Here are light and darkness, peace and evil ( Isaiah 45:7 ). On the one hand are signs and indications of a marvellous and minute benevolence. In the sea, in the soil, in the forests, in the air, and on the earth; in fish, in insects, in beast, in bird, and, above all, in the life and in the mind of man,—are innumerable, inestimable evidences of Divine beneficence. But, on the other hand, there are drawbacks, there are shadows, there are evils, the number of which we cannot count, and the nature of which it is difficult to exaggerate. Pleasure is matched with pain; joy is followed by sorrow; hope is shadowed by fear; peace is waited upon by strife; life is swallowed up by death.

II. THE PERPLEXITY THUS OCCASIONED . What is the secret of this strange contradiction? What is the explanation of it? Shall we find intellectual rest in dualism ? or shall we fall back upon fate— upon the blind action of unintelligent forces? or may we rise to the belief in one overruling God? Who shall read the riddle of the unintelligible world?

III. THE ARGUMENT FROM THE ISSUE . Go far enough on, and we shall find that which enlightens and relieves us; we must look to "the end of the Lord" ( James 5:11 ). The end of the Lord is found:

1 . In righteousness. ( Isaiah 45:8 .) At last, in the history of men, families, and nations, the pure and just are exalted, while the wicked are consumed and perish.

2 . In salvation. ( Isaiah 45:8 .) To the suffering ones comes rescue from poverty or oppression; to the sinful ones comes redemption from penalty, reinstatement in the home and kingdom of God.

IV. THE SATISFYING TRUTH . After all, only one thing will decide the question—God's revealing Word. It was his declaration through the prophets, "I am the Lord;" "I the Lord have created it." It is the word, the life, the work of Jesus Christ, who reveals to us an ever-present, overruling Father of mankind.—C.

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