The Scriptorium

Former Things and Future

God remains faithful, but His people must trust Him.

Concerning Babylon: Isaiah 46-48 (2)

Pray Psalm 105.1-4.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!

Read Isaiah 46.8-13.

1. Why does God call on His people to remember the things He has said in the past?

2. What seems to be the connection between righteousness, salvation, and God’s glory?

The immediate prospects for the people of Judah and Jerusalem were not good. They had seen the nation of Israel overrun and carried away captive. And while God granted them a reprieve from the power of Assyria, the threat of Babylon loomed. The nation of Judah was diminished in numbers and strength. It could not hope to stand against Nebuchadnezzar.

And yet, God was making promises of a great salvation to be realized “in that day”. Because His people can be so short-sighted, and forgetful of His blessings in the past, God called on them to “remember” and to “recall to mind” His former promises and faithfulness (vv. 8, 9). He is God. There is none like Him (v. 9). The promises He made in the past have not yet been entirely fulfilled, but He insists they shall not fail (v. 10).

When God calls Cyrus – “a bird of prey from the east” (v. 11) – to deliver them from Babylon, then they will know that His promised salvation “shall not be far off” (v. 13). Cyrus, God’s anointed one, represents the faithfulness of God in two ways: God is faithful to return His people from their captivity in Babylon; and He is faithful to bring His righteousness and salvation to them, when He shall beautify them as His people (v. 13).

God continually calls His people to look back and see His faithfulness, look forward to His as-yet-unfulfilled promises, and look to Him as we look around at our present circumstances, trusting in His unfailing Word and love.

1. God’s great promises to His people begin in Genesis 12.1-3. How do these promises apply to us today?

2. What are some ways that Christians can “remember” and “recall” all the ancient words and deeds of God? Why should we do so?

3. Meditate on Psalm 48.1-3. When God saves His people, His righteousness in them makes them a thing of beauty. How should we think about this with respect to our church?

See how he once again announces salvation to them and does not allow them to despair, lest they be overwhelmed by unrestrained sorrow and be moved too far away from the hope that they will be saved, if only they stop running. Cyril of Alexandria (375-444 AD), Commentary on Isaiah

Set Jesus before me today, O Lord, and all the great and precious promises that inhere in Him, so that I…

Pray Psalm 105.

Thank God for His faithfulness. He has fulfilled all that He promised from long ago, and He has many exceeding great and precious promises yet in store for us (2 Pet. 1.4). How will you live toward those promises today?

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 105 (Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Give thanks unto the Lord Most High; call on His Name, before Him cry! 
Make known His deeds in every land; sing praise for all the works of His hand. 

Glory in God, rejoice in heart, all you who seek His holy part. 
Him and His strength and presence seek; His works proclaim, His judgments speak. 

You holy children of Abraham, You chosen ones of Jacob, stand! 
He is our Lord, of wondrous worth; His judgments are in all the earth. 

He will His covenant faithfully guard – His oath, the promise of His Word. 
That which He to our fathers swore, He will perform forevermore! 

He brought His people from Egypt alive, and made their joy and song revive. 
He made the nations’ land their own, and all the wealth that they had known. 

To them He granted the promised land, the portion of His gracious hand. 
Though they were few, and wandered far, He kept them close within His heart. 

So let us all in our Savior confide, and in His holy Law abide. 
Let us observe His glorious Word, and praise our sovereign, faithful Lord!

T. M. Moore

Where do the prophets fit with the rest of Scripture? How can I be a better student of God’s Word? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better approach to and understanding of the Scriptures. Watchthis brief preview video, then register at The Ailbe Seminary and enroll in this free online course.

Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore