Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, and more specifically, is found in the forty-fifth chapter of the book. When I awoke this morning I remembered that this particular chapter was set forth for examination today, and I immediately began meditating upon the context and subject surrounding it. When I awoke this morning I remembered the subject and context of this chapter was one whom the Lord would raise up on behalf of His people. I remembered that this chapter contained within it a prophetic declaration concerning one who had not yet been created, nor formed by the Lord of hosts. This particular chapter within the book of Isaiah is one that contains a tremendous amount of synergy and energy—especially when you consider it in context of what surrounds this second portion of the book of Isaiah. If there is one thing you must come to terms with and understand regarding the second portion of the prophetic book of Isaiah is that it contains a tremendous amount of foresight—declarations concerning that which was decreed by the Lord, yet that which had yet to come to pass and be fulfilled. Within the prophetic book of Isaiah we find the prophetic as being directed toward the transgression, the iniquity, the idolatry, the rebellion and the sin of Israel and Judah. The prophet Isaiah prophesied according to the word of the Lord and prophesied concerning their transgression before the Lord, thus calling the people to repentance and submission before the Lord. The prophet was also directed to prophesy concerning the nations and peoples which surrounded Israel and Judah—i.e. Damascus, Egypt, Philistia, Edom, Moab, Babylon, Ammon, etc. There is also contained within the prophetic book of Isaiah a strong Messianic undercurrent as dispersed throughout and intermingled within the prophetic book of Isaiah are Messianic prophesies—prophetic utterances that created an expectation and anticipation for the Messiah which was to come. What is so incredibly important to recognize and understand concerning the prophetic book of Babylon is that it essentially created an expectation for three distinct individuals—the first being John the Baptist who would be the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, the second being Jesus the Christ Himself who was Immanuel, and the third is one that not many consider. The third expectation that was set forth in the prophetic book of Isaiah was the expectation concerning one by the name of Cyrus whom the Lord of hosts Himself would raise up in the earth on behalf of His people whom He chose.
As I read these words, I can’t help but be caught up in the strong reality surrounding the expectation for the emergence and arrival of one whom the Lord would deliberately and intentionally raise up on behalf of His people. This forty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah decrees and prophesies concerning one named Cyrus whom the Lord would raise up in direct connection to and on behalf of His people. If you read this chapter carefully, you will undoubtedly encounter the expectation and anticipation that surrounds the language within it. Within the prophetic book of Isaiah we do discover prophetic utterances concerning the forerunner of the Messiah, and even the Messiah Himself, but we also notice the anticipation and expectation concerning one whom the Lord would raise up even before the Messiah would be manifested within and upon the earth. While the house of Israel and Judah would await the arrival and manifestation of the Messiah who had long been prophesied of, the Lord promised to raise up one on their behalf who would be used as an instrument in His hands. There would be an anticipation and expectation which the Lord of hosts would cause to rise up within the hearts and minds of His people—an expectation and anticipation that would arise long before that expectation would actually be fulfilled. One of the single greatest realities surrounding the prophetic book of Isaiah is that it generates a powerful sense of expectation and anticipation within the hearts and minds of His chosen people. For several centuries the house(s) of Israel and Judah would live with a very real sense of expectation that the Lord was going to both do and release something in their midst. I am convinced there were a number of men and women within and among the house of Israel and Judah that patiently waited and longed for the fulfillment of that which the Lord had promised and decreed unto them. I can’t help but get the strong sense that there are men and women right now who are anxiously waiting and anticipating the fulfillment of that which the Lord has promised and decreed. There are men and women right now whop are spending their days anxiously awaiting the fulfillment of that which the Lord has decreed and promised—not only that which He has decreed and promised in His word, but also that which He has decreed and promised within their hearts and spirits in their person time of devotion and prayer.
The more I read the prophetic book of Isaiah, the more I become immersed in the concept of expectation and anticipation. I can’t help but think of how many men and women right now are living their lives without hope as if there was nothing to hope for. I can’t help but think of how many men and women are living in a deep and dark place of despair as a dark cloud of hopelessness and helplessness seems to hover over and consume them. There are a number of men and women who are walking through their days as though they have absolutely nothing to look forward to—nothing that causes hope to rise up within the very depths of their heart and spirit. There are men and women right now who have absolutely no expectation, nor anticipation within their hearts, and are living their lives doing nothing more than merely existing. I am convinced that one of the darkest and most dangerous places to live in is a place without hope—a place of complete and utter despair. I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the apostle Paul in the fifth chapter of the epistle he wrote to the Roman congregation—“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; AND EXPERIENCE, HOPE: AND HOPE MAKETH NOT ASHAMED; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:1-6). This reality is further confirmed in the preceding chapter when the apostle Paul writes concerning Abraham who was not only the father of all nations, but also the father of faith. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) BEFORE HIM WHOM HE BELIEVED, EVEN GOD, WHO QUICKENETH THE DEAD, AND CALLED THOSE THINGS WHICH BE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE. WHO AGAINST HOPE BELIEVED IN HOPE, THAT HE MIGHT BECOME THE FATHER OF MANY NATIONS; ACCORDING TO THAT WHICH WAS PSOKEN, SO SHALL THY SEED BE. AND BEING NOT WEAK IN FAITH, HE CONSIDERED NOT HIS OWN BODY NOW DEAD, WHEN HE WAS ABOUT AN HUNDRED YEARS OLD, NEITHER YET THE DEADNESS OF SARA’S WOMB: HE STAGGERED NOT AT THE PROMISE OF GOD THROUGH UNBELIEF; BUT WAS STRONG IN FAITH, GIVING GLORY TO GOD; AND BEING FULLY PERSUADED THAT, WHAT HE HAD PROMISED, HE WAS ABLE ALSO TO PERFORM. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:16-25).
WHO AGAINST HOPE BELIEVED IN HOPE! Did you catch that? Please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of those words, for those words provide us with a tremendous challenge that is before us in this generation. Abraham believed in hope against hope, for he had nothing but the promise and word of the Lord to sustain him. BEING NOT WEAK IN FAITH! STAGGERED NOT AT THE PROMISE OF GOD THROUGH UNBELIEF! WAS STRONG IN FAITH! GIVING GLORY TO GOD! BEING FULLY PERSUADED! Tell me dear brother, dear sister—do these words describe you? Are you one who right now against hope believes in hope? Are you one whom it can be written that you are not and have not been weak in faith? Are you one of whom it can be said that you have staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief? Are you one whom it can be said, and even written, that you are strong in faith? Are you one who gives glory to God being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was and is able also to perform? I absolutely love the words we read in this passage of Scripture, for they bring us face to face with the potential despair and hopelessness we may be dealing with and facing right now. What an absolutely incredible challenge is before us to against hope believe in hope in order that we might become that which the Lord has promised and decreed us to be. If you read this passage, you will notice that the promise given unto Abraham was not only a promise to bless him with an heir, but to also take and transform him into something so much greater and far beyond what he could have thought or imagined. The promise given unto Abraham was not only a promise concerning a seed that would be brought forth in the earth, but also a promise of transformation, as the Lord would take and cause him to become the father of many nations. The promise given unto Abraham not only concerned that which would be brought forth from him, but also that which he would become within and among the generations to come. Abraham chose to believe in hope against hope in order that he might become. Stop! Pause right there. WHO AGAINST HOPE BELIEVED IN HOPE, THAT…HE…MIGHT…BECOME. Abraham believed in hope against hope in order that as a result of that hope he might become that which the Lord had called him from Ur of the Chaldeans to become. Oh beloved, are you willing to believe in hope against all hope in order that you might become that which you have been called and created to be? It would appear to me that Abraham was able to become he whom the Lord called and chose because he chose to believe in hope against all hope. In other words, hope is incredibly vital and critical in our being transformed into that one we have been called to be. The question that we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are aware of who and what we have been called to become, and whether or not we are willing to believe in hope against hope to bring that reality into existence.
The thought that is before me right now is how many men and women are staggering in their faith, and are doing so for a variety and number of reasons. There are men and women who right now are absolutely and incredibly weak in the faith and are considering ourselves beyond that which the Lord is able to do. The apostle Paul writes that not only did Abraham consider not his own body as being dead, but he also considered not the deadness of Sara’s womb. Oh, how many of us are living in a continual and perpetual state of death and decay because we are writing off as dead that which the Lord has retained and reserved life within? How many of us are living in a constant place of hopelessness because we are unable to look past that which we perceive as being dead, dying, decaying, or decrepit. Abraham was not weak in his faith as he chose to overlook and even ignore the deadness of his own body, and the deadness of Sara’s womb. How absolutely incredible is it that the apostle Paul writes concerning Abraham that he was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that what the Lord had promised, He was able also to perform. As true as this is concerning the promise of a son and seed, it is also true concerning the work which the Lord began in us. Consider the words of the same apostle in his epistle to the Philippians congregation when he wrote “being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Oh, do you believe that the Lord is able to perform that which He has begun in you? Do you believe that the Lord is able to perform that which He has promised you? The apostle Paul not only references the Lord’s ability to perform that which He had promised, but he also wrote concerning the Lord’s ability to perform that which He had begun. Oh that we would bring ourselves in alignment with that which the Lord has promised and that which the Lord has begun within us. I believe with all my heart the Lord is calling His people out from the darkness of hopelessness and helplessness. I believe with all my heart the Lord is calling men and women out of the place of despair and into the place of believing in hope against hope. The Lord is calling men and women into a place of being fully persuaded and confident that He is not only able to perform that which He has promised, but also that which He has already begun to do.
Abraham was one who lived twenty-five years with a very real and powerful sense of expectation and anticipation as the Lord not only promised to bless him with a son, but also promised that he would cause him to become the father of many nations. Abraham was one who spent twenty-five years living with the expectation that the Lord was going to fulfill that which He had promised unto him twenty-five years earlier when he still lived in Ur of the Chaldeans. The forty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah also contains within it a very real and very powerful expectation and anticipation, as the prophet prophesied of one whom the Lord would raise up at the appointed time on behalf of His people. By the time the prophetic book of Isaiah concludes, the house of Israel and Judah were not only looking forward to and expecting the manifestation of the Messiah, not only the manifestation of the forerunner of the Messiah, but they also had the expectation that the Lord would raise up another who would be the instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring about His plan(s) and purpose(s). The house of Israel and Judah lived with the expectation concerning one whom the Lord not only promised to raise up, but one whom the Lord even called by name. What we read in this particular chapter is a powerful prophetic word concerning one whom the Lord not only foretold before his time would come, but also named before he even emerged. How absolutely wonderful it is that the Lord didn’t merely declare the manifestation of this one who would be used as an instrument in His hands, but He also called this one by his name. Centuries before this one would even emerge on the face of the earth, the Lord called him by his name—something that is absolutely incredible and wonderful to consider. This God—the One who calls things into existence which are not, and is able to bring them about. Oh, consider the words of the apostle Paul in the first chapter of the first epistle he wrote to the Corinthian congregation—“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputed of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that Gloria the, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).
RELEASING THE DECREE FOR YOUR RELEASE! RELEASING THE DECREE OF YOUR RETURN! RELEASING THE INSTRUMENT OF YOUR RELEASE! RELEASING THE INSTRUMENT OF YOUR RETURN! This particular chapter within the prophetic book of Isaiah is one that should produce within our hearts and spirits a powerful sense of hope and encouragement, as within this chapter the Lord prophesies concerning the instrument that would bring about their release from captivity and their return unto their inheritance. What’s more, is that within this chapter, the Lord not promised and decreed the instrument of their release centuries before they even entered into captivity and went into exile. This particular chapter found within the prophetic book of Isaiah is truly remarkable, for the Lord decreed in advance the instrument that He would personally raise up and bring upon the earth to bring about the release of His people from their captivity. Even before the enemy and adversary invaded the inheritance of the people of God, the Lord already prophesied and decreed the instrument He would raise up to bring about their release from captivity. Isn’t it interesting to consider the reality that even before the children of Israel entered into captivity, the Lord had even decreed the appointed and determined length of time for their captivity. Through the prophet Jeremiah the Lord declared and decreed that there was seventy years appointed for their captivity—seventy years for the iniquity of Babylon to be filled up, and the Lord would respond by bringing them low. If you study the prophetic language and writing contained within Scripture you will not only discover the instrument of their release from captivity, you will not only discover the appointed time of their captivity, but you will also discover the appointed end of their captor. What a tremendous expectation and anticipation surrounded this chapter as even before they entered into captivity, the Lord already made a way for their release and return. THE LORD HAS ALREADY MADE A WAY FOR YOUR RELEASE! THE LORD HAS ALREADY MADE A WAY FOR YOUR RETURN!
Dear brother, dear sister—know this for certain, that the Lord has already decreed and made a way and for your release, but the Lord has already decreed and made a way for your return. Consider what the prophet Isaiah declares concerning this Cyrus whom the Lord would raise up. “For Jacob my servan’t sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, thou thou hast not known me: that they may k now from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” (Isaiah 45:4-7). “Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: He shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 45:11-13). “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek the me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the Lord? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:19-22).
The Lord has already decreed the instrument of your release from captivity. The Lord has already decreed the instrument of your return to captivity. The Lord has already decreed the instrument of your release from captivity, your release from bondage, your release from slavery, your release from oppression. I absolutely love this chapter, for the Lord released in the earth the instrument of their release from captivity even before they entered into captivity. The Lord released the instrument of their release from Egypt within the land of Egypt, and then brought that instrument back to Egypt to accomplish the deliverance He desired and intended. Even before the children of Israel came to the waters of the Red Sea, the Lord had already made a way for them beneath the waters, and already ordained their path in the midst of the mighty waters. Even before the children of Israel entered into captivity and went into exile, the Lord already released in the earth the instrument that would bring about their release from captivity, and their return unto the Lord. The Lord decreed that instrument that would bring about their release from captivity, their return to the land of their inheritance, and the rebuilding of the Temple. RELEASED AND RETURNED TO REBUILD! There are men and women right now whom the Lord desires to release from their captivity in order that they might return to the place of their inheritance, and in the midst of that inheritance, rebuild the Temple of the Lord which has lied in ruins for quite some time. I don’t care what you are going through right now, nor what you are experience, for the Lord has already made a path beneath the waters, and hath made a way in the mighty waters. Regardless of what you are facing and experience, the Lord has already decreed the instrument of your release, and that same instrument will be the instrument of your return to the place of your inheritance. Oh that we would get this within the depths of our heart and spirit, and that we would come out of that place of utter hopelessness and helplessness. Oh that we would rise up and hope again. Oh that we would rise up and believe again. Oh that we would rise up and be confident again. Oh that we would rise up and be persuaded again. Oh Lord, raise up a generation that does not stagger in faith, but is instead persuaded that you are able to perform that which you have promised and that which you have already begun in the earth.