Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 11 2019 - Isaiah 45:14-25 – Turn to me and be saved

Yesterday we saw that the Lord is at work through all the turns of human history to save his people and fulfil his promises. The focus yesterday was on the way in which God was at work to rescue his people, Israel, from captivity in Babylon, but we also noted that God is at work through all human history to save a people for himself from every nation on earth. And we might add that he is at work to rescue every part of his creation from the dominion of evil and death.

This theme is picked up in today's reading. God's salvation of Israel from captivity will bring other nations to see that the God of Israel is the living God in contrast with the useless idols in which they have placed their trust (vv. 14-17).

God declares himself to be the creator of the heavens and the earth. He did not intend his creation to be an empty shell (v. 18). He intended it to be populated with animate creatures. In particular, he created the earth to be populated by men and women made in his own image. He intended them to enjoy his love and to love him in return, and that they should be his agents in caring for his creation.

But something has gone very wrong with God's world. Most obviously, humankind has rebelled against God and made a complete mess of his world. In particular, "Jacob's descendants", the people God rescued from slavery in Egypt, turned their back on him and turned to idols. God now calls upon them to turn back to him (v.19), to return from the nations where they had been scattered under his judgment. He calls them to leave behind their useless idols and return to him (v.20).

But since there is no other God and Saviour except the God of Israel the Lord calls upon people from every nation to leave their idols and turn to him:

Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;
    for I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity
    a word that will not be revoked:
before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. (vv. 22-23)

In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul quotes the last of these lines from Isaiah 45:23, but gives them a new twist. Perhaps quoting or adapting a first-century hymn, he writes of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for our salvation. The Son of God became incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ and humbled himself not only by living a human life of poverty and self-denial but supremely by taking our place when, at the cross, he endured the judgment that our sins deserved.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Jesus is God our Saviour. He calls on people from every nation under heaven to turn to him and be saved; to bow the knee to him and to acknowledge that "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." We rejoice that God's saving mercy and goodness has embraced us in Christ. Surely we must join our voices to swell the call of God, "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth"?

Father God, we thank you that there is no other God like you and no other Saviour like the Lord Jesus Christ. His is the only name given under heaven by which we must be saved. Help us by your Spirit to turn our joy over sins forgiven and the promise of eternal life into an invitation for others to come and share that joy by turning to and acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Peter Misselbrook