Sermon 2867. The Life-look
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 1904.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JANUARY 9, 1876.
"Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22.
I HAVE preached a good many times from this text. [The following sermons by Mr. Spurgeon upon this passage, have been previouslypublished-No. 60, Volume 2-Sovereignty and Salvation and No. 2805, Volume 48-Life for a Look]. I hope to do so, if life isspared, many more times. It was about 26 years ago-twenty-six years exactly last Thursday-that I looked unto the Lord andfound salvation through this text. You have often heard me tell how I had been wandering about, seeking rest and finding none,till a plain, unlettered lay preacher among the Primitive Methodists stood up in the pulpit and gave out this passage as histext-"Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth." He had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled himto keep on repeating his text and there was nothing needed-by me, at any rate-except his text! I remember how he said, "Itis Christ that speaks. 'I am in the garden in an agony, pouring out My soul unto death. I am on the tree, dying for sinners-look unto Me! Look unto Me!'
"That is all you have to do! A child can look! One who is almost an idiot can look! However weak, or however poor a man maybe, he can look! And if he looks, the promise is that he shall live." Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting underthe gallery and he said, "That young man there looks very miserable." I expect I did, for that is how I felt. Then he said,"There is no hope for you, young man, or any chance of getting rid of your sin but by looking to Jesus." And he shouted, asI think only a Primitive Methodist can, "Look! Look, young man! Look now!" And I did look and when they sang a hallelujahbefore they went home, in their own earnest way, I am sure I joined in it. It happened to be a day when the snow was lyingdeep and more was falling, so, as I went home, those words of David kept ringing through my heart, "Wash me and I shall bewhiter than snow"-and it seemed as if all Nature was in accord with that blessed deliverance from sin which I had found ina single moment by looking to Jesus Christ!
I have always felt inclined, when this time of the year comes round, to preach from this text. I have sometimes thought-"Theywill suppose I must go over the same ground again and give them the same sermon and so, perhaps, I shall not have so attentivean audience." I cannot help it if it is so, for I must preach from this text. As it was blessed to me, I hope it will be blessedto somebody else. I wanted to preach from it last Thursday night, on the exact anniversary of my spiritual birthday, but Iwas led to take another text and I am glad I was, for, when I entered my vestry tonight, I found on the table this note-"Mr.Spurgeon, I want to tell you that your 'good news' [Sermon No. 2866, Volume 50- "Good News"] last Thursday, was the meansof reclaiming a wanderer. How good of Jesus to take such an one as I am back and give me the joy I had when first I knew Him!"The writer enclosed a thanksgiving offering and blessed the name of the Lord. So, this text has been reserved for tonightand who knows but that there has come here somebody who was not here on Thursday night, and whom the Lord intends to bless?I only hope it may be so! Indeed, I knowit will be so!
Let us read the text again. "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no other."This message is addressed, as you perceive, not to the Israelites, but to the Gentiles-to the nations at the very ends ofthe earth. Alas, many of these nations have long been looking to their idols. They do not feel at rest. They know
that they lack something and very earnestly are devout heathens looking to their false gods for what they need. They makegreat sacrifices and spend vast sums of money upon their idol temples-but salvation does not come and cannot come throughthese false gods. Jehovah bids them look to Him, that they may be saved. Some among the nations are throwing off the yokeof superstition, but, sad to say, they seem to be falling into skepticism instead. The Hindu, when educated, turns from hisidols only to make an idol of his own judgment. Many men worship their own wisdom. They hope, by searching, to find out theAlmighty unto perfection-and this theory and that they promulgate and say- "This form of thought and the other will emancipatethe human mind." Ah, it is not so! "The world by wisdom," in the old Socratic and philosophic days worked out that problem,and the result was that they "knew not God," but, "professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." And that is whereman, with his great thought and wisdom, always drifts to some absurdity or another. Only Jehovah can save mankind! Philosophyis powerless in this matter.
The nations have been looking long, first to this thing and then to that, to save them. Sometimes they have looked for somegreat conqueror who will break the yoke of oppression and set the people free. But how often have they been deceived and theidols of the democracy have turned out to be the grossest tyrants that ever lived. Then there are various international andother societies formed by which men are to lift themselves up by confederation. They will look there, too, in vain-thoughall men should join hand in hand, they cannot do it. If they looked to God, there would be accomplished what all mankind wouldnot be able to perform! One man advises this policy. Another pleads for that form of government. One has this idea and theother has another. And, every now and then, there seems to be a craze for something or other. Just now we are told that civilizationwill do away with war and I know not what besides. All evil is to be extinguished by the growth of commerce. But the Lordof Hosts has willed it that nothing shall save the nations but Himself and this poor, bleeding earth needs to be told, againand again, that, for her wounds-and she has many of them-there is no healing liniment but that which flows from the hands,feet and side of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! From the crown of her head to the sole of her foot, she is full of "wounds,and bruises, and putrefying sores," and for all these there is no cure but the blessed balm that flowed from Jesus' hearton Calvary-no remedy but the one Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. "Look unto Me," He says, "and be you saved, all the ends of theearth: for I am God, and there is no other." O Lord, turn the eyes of the nations to Yourself and to Your Son! When this happens,then shall the day of the world's salvation have fully come!
The general principle holds good in each particular case. As it is with the nations at the ends of the earth, so must it bewith me, so must it be, dear Friends, with you. There is no salvation but by looking unto God in Christ. Let us try to turnthat thought over, not merely with the view of thinking of it, but that we may carry it into effect-that if there is salvationto be had, we may have it, and have it at once. O God, grant that it may be so!
First, we shall ask, What does the word, "Look," mean in reference to God? Secondly, for what part of salvation are we tolook to God Thirdly, what is our encouragement to look?'And, fourthly, when is the best time to look?
I. First, Jehovah says, "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth." WHAT DOES THIS WORD, LOOK, MEAN? It meansa great deal more than I can tell you, but, among other things, it means this-
First, consider that there is a God and enthrone Him in your mind as a real Person, the one living and true God. You havebeen trying to cure yourself of your spiritual maladies. Now think of God as the great Physician of your soul. Let your mindturn towards Him. You are like that young man who left his father's house and whose circumstances became so bad, through hisown fault, that he was obliged to take up very low and mean employment. And yet, with all that he did do, he did not earnenough to fill his belly. The best thing that he could do was to remember that he had a father-and the happiest day for himwas when he came back to his father and received a loving welcome from him.
You say that you are not happy, you are not at rest, your conscience is disturbed and you have tried ever so many things inorder to get peace. Now, think about your God. Think about the loving Father who receives His wandering prodigal childrenand as you think of Him, you will have begun to look to Him. While you are thinking about Him, I wish you would remember thisconcerning Him-that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Thinkof that wonderful Truth that God came here in human flesh and blood and, for us men and for our salvation died a cruel deathupon the tree. Turn that over and over, again, for it is there that your only hope of salvation lies. Do think of that. Readoften-
"The old, old story
Of Jesus and His love."
Think over all the details of it. Accustom yourself to look towards God in Christ Jesus in your thoughts and contemplations.By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, this will breed faith in you. Set your face that way-look at God as He has revealed Himselfin the Person of the great Propitiation, Jesus Christ, His Son.
Looking to God means, however, more than that. When you have considered Him and taken Him into your calculations, then addressyourself to Him. Speak to Him! Tell Him where you are and what you are. Tell Him what you feel and what you do not feel, whatyou ought to feel and what you wish to feel. Tell Him what you want which you have not yet got. If you cannot pray, tell Himso. If you cannot repent and cannot believe, tell Him so. Only speak to Him, for that speaking will be a turning to look andI find that the Hebrew word used here is not so well expressed by the word, "look," as by the phrase, "turning to look." IfI want to look at the clock above my head, I must turn to look at it. In that fashion, I want you to turn towards God, toconsider Him and then to speak to Him. Tell Him that you are a wretch undone without His Sovereign Grace. Tell Him whateveryou know to be the truth-do not mock Him with mere words that do not come from your heart, but let your heart speak to Him.Address Him, for that is looking to Him.
Only, mind that you get to God. The mischief is, dear Friends, that we often stop somewhere short of God when we are seekingsalvation. A Romanist, for instance, erects a crucifix and bows down before it. The original intention of the crucifix, nodoubt, was to help the person who used it to remember the death of Christ-but frequently the thought rests on the crucifix,instead of upon the Christ. If the Romanist says that he does not worship the image, it is not true, because there is a certain,"Our Lady of Lourdes," and another, "Notre Dame de la Garde," and other, "Our Ladies." Why is it that the Virgin Mary, ina certain church, or a certain town, works great cures and gets more worship than "Our Lady" in a certain other place? Thefact is, it is the image that is worshipped, and so is it with the crucifix-that gets the Romanists' worship-not the Christ.They stop there.
But why do I talk about this to you Protestants? Why, because many of you do the same in other respects! You say, "Now, ifI am to be converted, I ought to read the Bible." Yes, that is quite right. Read the Bible, but, if you stop at the Bible,you will no more get to God than if you stop at the crucifix! What you need is to get to God through what you read and notmerely o come to the Book. The Bible, or the most gracious words, or the most appropriate collects, or the most pious prayerscannot save you! You must pass through these things, which ought to be helps, and not make them into barriers, for, if youmake them into barriers by stopping there, you never will be saved. You have to get to God, dear Heart-to God in Jesus Christ-andI pray you, do not stop till you feel, "I have spoken to God in Jesus Christ. I have confessed to Him my sins. I have soughtHis forgiveness. I have asked Him for mercy." You are sure to get it if you have done so.
But if you stop at this point-"I have prayed so often, I have read so much," these very readings and praying will get to beidols and they will keep you away from God! I used to, when seeking the Lord, often read Doddridge's "Rise and Progress ofReligion in the Soul," and an admirable book it is. I also red Baxter's '"Call to the Unconverted." I would wake up as soonas the sun was up in the morning that I might read these books! But I must confess that for many a day I stopped at Doddridge's"Rise and Progress" and Baxter's "Call."" When I had read so much and tried to feel what those good men said, there I stuck.Oh, that I had gone to Christ before! Oh, that I had got away from Doddridge's "Rise and Progress" and Baxter's "Call," andgone to Jesus Christ Himself! I am not finding fault with those books-I commend them, but I find fault with myself for makingso bad a use of the books. In like manner, I do not find fault with prayer or the reading of the Scriptures-God forbid! ButI do complain of putting prayer and the reading of the Scriptures into the place of getting to God, for it is looking to Himas He is revealed in Jesus Christ that will save the soul and nothing short of that, be it what it may, will do so! Therefore,looking to God means that we are to consider God and then to address ourselves to Him.
In the next place, to look to Him means that we must know that if we are ever to be saved salvation must come from God alone.Learn this O Man, that you are helpless and hopeless apart from God-that you are shut up and cannot come forth, bound withfetters of iron, and laid like the dead in their graves, numbered among the slain like those that go down into the pit-andno arm can help you but the arm of the Omnipotent! Nothing can save you but the blood of Jesus Christ!
Then, next, to look to Him means expect that He will save you. Oh, what a step that is for anyone to take! I would that, byGod's Grace, you might take it, saying, "Nobody but God can save me. Salvation comes from Him, but He is gracious, He hasgiven His dear Son to die for sinners. I, a sinner-the most unworthy, perhaps, who ever lived-will, nevertheless, dare tohope that I shall be saved. No, more-
"'He has promised to receive
All who on His Son believe'- "so I will now trust His Son and look to Him to give me full and free salvation because I trustHim." Joseph Hart's hymn puts it-
" Venture on Him, venture wholly, Let no other trust intrude! None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good."
Some have objected to the verse because, they say, it is not a venture. It is very easy to be too critical. It is a ventureto the sinner' s thoughts-it appears to him to be a venture-and you must not expect him to talk as you wise men talk! Do notput into a sinner' s mouth words that would be above his range of thought. I know it seemed a wonderful venture to me. I thought,"Can it be true that this is all I have to do? Have I to believe God's Grace in Christ and trust myself only to that?" Why,if the minister had said, "You must go home and take a whip and flog yourself-20 lashes will do"-I tell you I would have laidthem on as heavily as I could, for I would have felt, "I will make sure work of it" and they would have been 20 of the sweetestcuts that ever a man endured! If they made me smart, I would have blessed God for them, so long as I received mercy throughthem. But there was nothing in the Gospel about lashing myself-nothing even about lashing my conscience-I was simply toldto look to God as He revealed Himself in Jesus Christ-and I did so and thus I was saved!
Possibly someone asks, "Does that faith make any difference to a man?" It makes all the difference in the world! Suppose youhave a bad servant who is always doing wrong things and you find out that the great reason why he so provokes you is thathe does not believe in you and has no respect for you? But, one day you convince him of your kind feeling towards him andprove to him that all you wish is for his good and that you have been seeking his good all the while you have had him. Nowthat man is saved from his ugly temper by believing you to be good and kind and, from the moment when this change takes place,there is nothing too much for him to do for you! That is just the effect that faith in God has upon a sinner's moral character.Before you believe in God, you do not care much about Him. It is true that you may do a few good works with the hope of therebygetting salvation-just as your servant does as much or as little as he dares do for the sake of his wages. But, oh, when onceyou believe in God and serve Him out of love, then you become like those old-fashioned servants that our grandmothers usedto have-we cannot get them now. They used to serve their masters and mistresses from motives of affection-those old body-servantsthat the squires and dames used to have who would cleave to them, wages or no wages, because they loved them so! What a grandthing it is to have faith in the heart! It will save a man entirely from his old ways, his old lusts and his old sins by makinghim love God and serve God out of love, which is the mightiest transforming motive that was ever implanted in the bosom ofa lost soul! This is how God saves men-by leading them to trust in Him in Jesus Christ.
II. Secondly, FOR WHAT PART OF SALVATION ARE WE TO LOOK TO GOD?
For every part of it, from beginning to end and, first, for the pardon of sin you must look to God in Christ, for who canpardon an offense except the person who was offended? If somebody over there has offended a Brother, yonder, it would be nouse for me to say to that person, "I forgive you the offense." The other Brother might say, "The wrong was not done to you,it was done to me! Only I, who have been offended, can forgive the offense." So, if you need the pardon of your sin, it isevident that it can only come from God. But you tell me that you feel as if you were not fit to be forgiven? Very well then,if there is such a fitness-I know there is none-but if there is any truth in what you mean, that fitness must be given youby God and you must look to Him for it-
"True belief and true repentance-
Every Grace that brings you nigh-
Come to Jesus Christ and buy."
Possibly you say to me, "It is not merely that I need to have my sins forgiven-I want to become a new man." You must lookfor that, also, to God. I think that the best man to clean a watch is the watchmaker-and the best person to renew the heartis the God who made the heart. He who made you can alone remake you. There is no power under Heaven except the power thatcreated you, which can create you anew in Christ Jesus! So you must look to God for that.
But you say, "Well, if I were made a new man, I fear that I would go back to my old sins. Must I not trust to something tokeep me ?" No, to nothing but God, for all the bonds and all the devices that men make to keep themselves from sin are ofno more strength than a spider's web. God must keep you alive as well as make you live. "For I am God," He says, "and thereis no other." Rest in the almighty power of God to keep you from going back to sin after He has rescued you from it.
You know, also, that you must be perfect, or you can never enter Heaven. How are you to become perfect? Well, you must lookto God for that, too, for He, the perfectly Holy One, can sanctify you wholly-spirit, soul and body. May your faith embracethe whole of salvation and see it to be all in God in Christ-and look to God in Christ Jesus for it all!
III. Our third question is, WHAT IS OUR ENCOURAGEMENT TO LOOK TO GOD?
I tried to show you what it was to look-to consider God, to speak with Him, to trust in Him as He is revealed in Christ Jesusand to rest wholly in Him. You say, "What is my encouragement to do that and to expect that thus I shall be saved? May I doit? I know that trusting in Christ saves men, but mayI trust Him?"
Your encouragement to do this is, first of all, God's command--"Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth."We, certainly, almost beyond the inhabitants of any other country, might have been called "the ends of the earth." There wasa time when England was reckoned to be the Ultima Thule-the far-off land. It was supposed that there could be nothing beyondthe British Islands. When the Prophet spoke, these were the very ends of the earth, so, surely, God commands you, my dearHearer, to look unto Him, inasmuch as you belong to the ends of the earth! If you tell me that you come from America, well,you also come from the ends of the earth. Do you say that you come from Australia? That is another of the ends of the earth.Some of you sail round the world-well, sometime or other, you have been at the ends of the earth and you know that when Godsends His command to the ends of the earth it always includes everything within its bounds. He certainly commands the middleas well as the ends. Those who are farthest off from Him are bid to look unto Him and, as He commands you to do it, what betterwarrant can you desire than His command? The Gospel command is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved."You never ought to say, "May I believe?" for God commands you to do so, and threatens you with punishment if you do not, forHe says, "He that believes not shall be damned." The only warrant for a sinner's believing is the command of the Gospel! Oh,that you might be encouraged by that!
The next encouragement for you is God's promise-"Look unto Me, and be you saved"-as much as to say, "As surely as you look,you are saved. When you look, you are saved." Does it not mean that? If anyone said to you, "Sit down and eat and be filled,"you would not say, He only means that I am to sit down at a bare table"-you would feel sure that he meant that there shouldbe something on the table of which you might freely eat. So, Sinner, do but look to the Lord! Turn your eyes in confidenceto God in Christ Jesus, for there is no other God and no other Savior-and when you have done this, you shall be saved at once!
Still further to encourage you, you have the fact of His Godhead- for I am God." You need a God to save you. You have a greatload of sin resting upon you, but the Omnipotent can lift it off your shoulders. Then, there are the bonds of iniquity-theold habits of 40 years, perhaps of 50 years-but Christ can tear away the iron net, break the chains and set the captive freein a moment, for He is God! Were the Savior any less than Divine, I would not dare to encourage sinners to believe in Him!But here is a Divine Savior infinitely strong and infinitely gracious, so, you blackest, foulest, vilest sinner, why shouldyou not obey the command of my text and look unto Him, expecting mercy and favor from Him?
Another encouragement to you comes from Gods character. He knew that you sinners would be afraid that His justice would standin your way and that, though able to save you, He might not do it because you have been such great sinners and He must punishyou. So kindly read what He says in the latter part of the 21st verse-"There is no God besides Me: a just God and a Savior:there is none besides Me." God can justly save you by His wondrous plan of Substitution. If you look unto Him, He will notmar the integrity of His government or the severity of His justice in order to save you,
for, by the blood of His dear Son, His Law has been so magnified and made so honorable that He can be as just in pardoningas He would have been just in punishing! This Doctrine of the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ is the marvelous mystery of theGospel, the greatest of all revealed Truths of God and this ought to take away from the guilty conscience everything thatmakes it fear to trust God! God's justice is satisfied by Jesus' death-therefore, trust Him! I implore you, trust Him! Didyou know the joy that faith brings-could you but understand the peace, the liberty, the transport, the bliss which simpleconfidence in Christ will bring to you-you would not need my pleadings, but you would say, Blessed Jesus, I rush into Yourarms, accepting You as my Savior and rejoicing in Your great salvation!"
IV. Our last question was to be, WHAT IS THE BEST TIME IN WHICH TO LOOK TO THE LORD?
I answer-the best time is God's time. And when is God's time? What does the Holy Spirit say is the best time? "Today, if youwill hear His voice, harden not your hearts." This is God's time-today. I do not remember, nor do I think there is in thewhole Bible, a single precept addressed to the sinner requiring him to repent and believe tomorrow, or next week. The Gospelpromise runs, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." But it does not say, "Believe next February." Or,"Believe next March," or, "next year." It is understood that every Gospel precept or command is for this present moment. GodHimself, my Hearer-not I, poor, feeble man, but God Himself says to you, Let the wicked forsake His way, and the unrighteousman His thoughts; and let Him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon Him; and to our God, for He will abundantlypardon." And He says this to you at this very moment!
What is your answer? What reply shall I give to Him who sent me to you with this message? Will you have Him to be the Savior,or will you not? Say one or the other, whichever you will! If I may plead with you, I urge you to say, "Yes." from your veryheart. But I shall be almost satisfied if you will say one or the other, for that will bring you to the point. But if yousay, no," it may be that, having taken up that position, you may begin to think where you are and you will go home saying,"I have refused to look to Christ. I have refused the great salvation and deliberately said, 'I will not look for salvationin God through Jesus Christ.'"
I wish, Sinner, that you would even do that rather than act as so many do who say, Go your way for this time. When we havea more convenient season, we will send for you." For that tends to quiet conscience, although the convenient season nevercomes and Felix is most infelix. There is nothing felicitous in what he says. Happy by name, he is most unhappy in his fatalprocrastination concerning this all-important matter! I must have an answer to give to Him that sent me. Will you now be savedor not? God sets the time-the time is now-so, say, Yes," or, No."
Let me, however, remind you that the present is the only time you have. The past is gone-the future may never come. Shouldit come, it will be present when it does come. On this winged hour all eternity hangs. Possibly you are thinking of what youwill do when you get home-but you do not know that you will get there. Do not many fall in the street never to rise again?You are calculating upon what you will do tomorrow. The image of death will be on your face when you are asleep-are you quitesure that you will ever awake from that form of death into real life again? May not that bed become your sepulcher? You haveplanned what you intend to do on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday-yet you know not what a day may bring forth! There is a seat,just there, that may speak to some of you. There used to sit, in that pew, one who was well known to you. He came home frombusiness feeling slightly unwell. The doctor was sent for, but our friend was dead before he arrived. Why should not thatwhich has happened to many others who have attended here, happen also to you, or to me? Be you also ready, for in such anhour as you think not, the Son of Man comes."
If I knew how to preach to you so that I might win men to believe in Jesus Christ, God knows that there is nothing that Iwould not say, or leave unsaid, that might conduce to that end. I know that there is no power in mere rhetoric or oratory,so I have chosen to speak to you very plainly and simply, without any ornament of speech and almost without an illustration-sothat he who runs may read. It is not one half as much my business, dear Hearer, that you should be saved as it is yours! WhenI have faithfully delivered the word of salvation, I wash my hands of you. If you refuse it, I cannot help it.
At your own door must your doom lie and at your own door alone. Yet would I pluck you by the sleeve and say, Dear Friend,you do need to be saved. Salvation must come from God and He bids you look to Him for it. Trust His Son for it. God in Christmust be your hope. Will you trust Him? Do you understand me? Simply relying upon the Atoning Sacrifice, trusting in it, restingin it, believing God to be God and henceforth yielding yourself up to be ruled by His goodness-believing Christ to be ableto save you and yielding yourself up to be saved by Him and guided in the way of
holiness and peace-believing that the blood of Jesus can take away your sin and trusting to it so to do-if so it be, it isdone and you are saved!"
The salvation has commenced which will never end, for, in the simple act of faith, there lies a living seed which the devilhimself cannot crush-which, though it is small as the mustard seed, will begin to swell, and germinate, and send forth itsshoots till it shall be such a tree that many a happy bird of the air shall come and sit and sing among its branches! Andyour life, made happy and shaded by this blessed faith in Jesus, shall then bring forth fruit unto God and the end shall beeverlasting life! God grant that it may be so, for His dear Son's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ISAIAH45.
The first paragraph concerns Cyrus and the great work for which God raised him up.
Verses 1-4. Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; andI wiil loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go beforeyou, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:and I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, whichcall you by your name, am the God of Israel For Jacob My servants sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by yourname: I have surnamed you, though you have not known me. A remarkable prophecy, issued long before the time of Cyrus, foretellingthat he would conquer Babylon and destroy it. And, though for many a day Cyrus knew nothing about the Most High God, yet hewas used, in the Lord's hands, for wonderful purposes! Sometimes a man may have been used of God for great ends without hisown knowledge. When, however, he comes to the discovery of that fact, as he may if he will but think it over, should he notreverently bow before the Most High and worship Him who, though unknown to him, had been his Helper and his Friend?
5, 6. I am the LORD, and there is no other. There is no God besides Me: I girded you, though you have not known Me that theymay know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.Those who believe in idols think that there may be many lords and many gods, but he who is a true follower of Jehovah knowsthat there can be no other god besides Him. He fills all space and there is no room for another. There is but one Creator,one Preserver and one God who alone is to be worshipped.
7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil I the LORD do all these things. Cyrus was a believerin two gods-one, the god of light and the other, the god of darkness. Hence this declaration from God's servant, the Prophet,that there was no prince of darkness who was a god, but that all things were made by the one Most High God.
8-11. Drop down, you heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bringforth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. Woe unto him that strives with hisMaker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What are you making?Or your worksay, He has no hands? Woe unto him that says unto his father, What didyou beget? Or to the woman, What have youbrought forth? Thus says the LORD, the Holy One ofIsrael, andhis Maker, Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerningthe work of My hands you command me. Note the tone which God uses. He speaks like a God and claims to be above the questioningof His creatures. These verses remind us of what the Apostle Paul wrote- No but, O man, who are you that replies against God?Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why have You made me thus? Has not the potter power over the clay, of thesame lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?" God is the great Sovereign over all and He claims a Sovereign'splace. He does as He wills, but He always wills to do that which is just and right.
12-17. I have made the earth and created man upon it: I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their hosthave I commanded. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build My city, and he shalllet go My captives, not for price nor reward, says the LORD of Hosts. Thus says the LORD, The labor of Egypt, and merchandiseof Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto you, and they shall be yours: they shall come after you;in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto you, they shall make sup-
plication unto you, saying, surely God is in you; and there is no otheer, there is no God. Verily You are a God that hidesYourself, O God of Israel, the Savior. They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusiontogether that are makers of idols. But Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation: you shall not be ashamednor confounded, world without end. If you are God's people, you have a God of whom you need never be ashamed and One who willnot leave you to be ashamed of your confidence and hope. Those that trust to false gods will be ashamed. Those that rest uponthemselves will be confounded. But stay yourself upon God, O Man, and you shall never be ashamed, world without end!
18, 19. For thus says the Lord that created the heavens; and Himself that formed the earth and made it; He has establishedit, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret,in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek you Me in vain; I the LORD speak righteousness, I declarethings that are right. Here is the Glory of our God-that His every Word is true and that He has never said, in any place,that which contradicts what He has spoken in public to His people. You may safely rest upon the God who is always the same,who never plays fast and loose with His promises, or speaks anything in secret contrary to His pledged Word. He is as trueas He is Sovereign-therefore stay yourselves upon Him.
20, 21. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge thatset up the wood of their engraved image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell and bring them near, yes, let them takecounsel together: who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I the LORD?He challengesall the idols to prove that they had uttered any true prophecy-that they had spoken about Cyrus, or anybody else from ancienttimes, so that the prophecy was literally fulfilled. There were dark double-meaning oracles with which the false priests mockedtheir votaries, but the true Words of God-His ancient prophecies-proved Him to be the only real and true God.
21-23. And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior there is none besides Me, look unto Me, and be you saved,all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out ofMy mouth inrighteousness, andshallnot return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shallswear. Glory be to God, it will beso in the latter days! It shall come to pass that the Truth of God shall be universally triumphant and the one God who madethe heavens and the earth shall be worshipped both by Heaven and by earth, without any discordant note.
24, 25. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength even to Him shall men come; and all that areincensed against Him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.