Day 21 March 20
Day 21 March 20
Passage: Isaiah 45: 9 - 13
It is a matter of fact that God commissioned Cyrus to accomplish His will. This was a very controversial action indeed. The speeches began from Chapter 40 onwards, but Cyrus' name was only mentioned towards the end of Chapter 44. This delayed revelation was an intentional arrangement. After all, the prophet's revelations were beyond common sense. On one hand, there was the feeling of being abandoned by God for 50 years; on the other hand, many could be equally skeptical about Persia after undergoing the violence of Assyria and Babylonia. However, the most difficult part was to accept a Gentile as God's anointed shepherd instead of a descendent of David. How did Isaiah convince them? Simply by reminding them that He is the indisputable God.
The prophet emphasized that if they argued with God's revelation, it meant that they were against God Himself. His thoughts are different from our thoughts; His ways are different from our ways. Therefore, one who argues with his Creator is like the clay questioning the potter (verse 9), or like the baby challenging the parents (verse 10). Can't God discipline His own children? Can't the potter shape the clay as he wishes? Since God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth (verse 12), He is sovereign in His judgment on the Babylonians as well as the restoration of the Israelites. We may be uncertain about the destiny of a piece of clay, just like we are unsure about the future of a growing child. The mind of the potter is to transform the clay into a worthy and a useful vessel. As long as God continues to mold us, there will always be the possibility of becoming a special vessel. History is shaped like clay, so is man. No matter Jews or Gentiles, noble or lowly, all are like clay in God's all powerful hands.
In the Jewish political, racial and religious thinking, Cyrus might not be the ideal candidate of God. It might even appear ridiculous. However, the prophet solemnly reminded them of the importance of God's sovereignty and at the same time challenged them to expand their perspectives. "How dare you question me about my children! How dare you tell me what to do with the work of my hands!" (verse 11). Can you imagine? Cyrus was God's child too. Cyrus' achievement was also God's accomplishment. God's deeds are wonderful and immeasurable by human ways.
Prayer: God, we often dare to argue with you and forget how great you are. Your hands stretched out the sky and created the universe. We humbly acknowledge that you are the Divine Potter to do whatever you want with us, the clay.
第二十一天 Mar 20