- 45:1-7—Cyrus is the king of Persia who conquered Babylon and ended the exile. The point here is: Cyrus was God’s instrument. The Jews in exile had accused God of neglect (forgetting that the Exile was divine judgment for their sins, not divine neglect). God is reminding them that while Cyrus set them free, he only did so because that was what God wanted him to do. Another crucial point here is that Cyrus wasn’t Jewish- he doesn’t worship God, and yet God still used him. God often works through people who have no idea they’re being used to fulfill God’s purposes.
- 45:8-10 – It is just as useless and out of place for us to question God’s work as it is for a pot to question the work of the potter.
- 45:11-25 – The Lord establishes that he is God and there are no other gods above or beside him. It’s an important point to make here because, like many ancient cultures, Persians would have considered their king to be at least partially divine. This particular passage is directed at Cyrus, not at the Jewish people.
- 46:1-13 – God points out the ridiculousness of worshipping something you’ve created yourself. He lists off a few reasons that these gods clearly have no power. Humans created them. They can’t even control themselves.
- 47:1-15 – God chastises the Babylonians for mistreating the Israelites when they were in captivity and explains that they will be punished.
- 48:1-11 – The Lord explains that he was refining the Israelites through their trials. This is often a painful process but is necessary for our growth and faithfulness.
- 48:12-22 – God explains to the Israelites how much they could have prospered if they had just followed him.