May 21, 2021
"Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground."
“Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the Potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands?” Isaiah 45:9
Isaiah 44:28 introduced us once more to Cyrus. It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of Cyrus The Great in Israel’s ancient history. The successive victories of Cyrus against the Medes, Lydians, and Babylonians, ratified in secular history sources, bring into focus the astonishing accuracy of Isaiah’s prophecies given 150 years earlier. It was the Lord who called Cyrus and gave him these victories.
It has been argued that Cyrus was a believer, a convert of sorts, but Scripture indicates that was not the case. He was a pagan who saw the favor of Israel’s God as something to add to his collection of gods. That is not to say that Cyrus was not “used by the Lord.” He was “anointed” and empowered to have success because the Lord had willed it to accomplish His purposes.
Put bluntly, it is possible to be used of the Lord and not know Him personally, just as it is possible to know Him in a saving way but not be used…shelved because of unrepentant sin. God’s using a person is not always a clear indicator of their salvation…nor is His rebuke of believers a true indicator that He has rejected them. Salvation is by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) God is about the business of accomplishing His purposes, and any tool among His creation is at His Disposal. See also Balaam’s donkey and Jonah’s whale.
Everything that happens, even in international affairs, is according to the Lord’s plan. There is no panic in Heaven, only planning. No emergency sessions of the Trinity because we are messing things up! When everything seems shaking all around, God’s sovereignty is of enormous encouragement. This brings us to today’s passage.
The “clay-to-the-Potter” dialogue is the arrogance of unbelief. It questions what God is doing. The Lord who made the stars in the universe can order the course of history. What is this foolishness that questions God’s ability to raise up a Cyrus some 150 years later? It is nothing less than unbelief. This type of unbelief will always be in opposition to prophecy. It questions not only the prophet but also the core reality that the prophet is simply delivering the message of God who can call His shots 150 years in advance.
Before Israel went into exile, Isaiah was delivering God’s invitation of Grace.
The same level of faith that Israel was commanded to display is required of followers of Jesus. We must believe that Jesus died and resurrected, a past event, a prophecy already fulfilled, and that He is coming again to gather His followers and judge the unrepentant.