Sunday, January 20, 2019

frayTEXT: Isaiah 45:1-5

INTRODUCTION: Our theme for 2019 is taken from Hebrews 12:2 and the simple statement, “Looking unto Jesus”. If we are going to be successful in life, and if we are going to successfully navigate our way on our individual journey, we must keep our eyes upon Him. In Isaiah 45, God reminds us of the importance of maintaining proper focus.

THE PREVALENCE OF CONFUSION

You’ve probably figured this out life can be pretty confusing. As a matter of fact, life canbe very confusing! We’ve all wondered, or at least been asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Why does it oftentimes seem that the harder we strive, the further behind we get? Why is peace so evasive? The list could go on and on of questions that seem to have no answers. It is confusing, to say the least.

In Isaiah 45 we find a very confusing situation. In verse 1 we read, “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.” For a moment, let’s consider the first part of that verse.   There we read, “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus….” To even the casual Bible student, that can seem pretty confusing.

When I think of the word anointed, I think of men like David. Samuel visits Jesse’s house in search of the Lord’s choice for a king. He finally finds David, and at God’s command, pours oil upon his head to anoint him. David went on to become a great king and a man whom God described as being “after God’s heart.” Quite to the contrary, Cyrus was a pagan leader. He was not one of the “good guys”. Yet, the Bible clearly states that God anointed him, much like He did David. Are you confused?

There will be many times in our lives when we will be confused. Any time we attempt to understand or explain, with our finite minds and mouths, an infinite God, we can become confused. Our God is inexplicable! In Isaiah 45:5 we read, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.” His ways and His thoughts are much higher than ours. He lives on a different level. He is God and we are His people and we don’t have to understand Him. We don’t have to understand Him, but we do have to look to Him. Confusion will cripple us when we refuse to look to Him, even when we can’t explain Him.

THE PROOF OF CREDIBILITY

Why? Why, in the midst of all of the confusion, should we look to Him? Why, when His actions make no sense to us, should we focus upon Him? Why, when He anoints a pagan king to do His work, should we keep our eyes upon Him? In this passage, God provides for us just a few of His credentials. In verses 7-12 we find some unique things that set God apart from all others. There He speaks of forming light and creating darkness. In verse 12 He reminds His people that He made the earth and created man upon it. With His hands He stretched out the heavens. His resume’ is impressive, to say the least.

In verses 9-10, God addresses the fact that man has no right to doubt Him. There, He speaks about clay questioning the actions of the potter. He points to the fallacy of children aggressively questioning their parents. If God had no credentials, He would still be God because He says that He is. However, His works only substantiate the claims that He makes as being the one and only God.

 THE PRODUCT OF CONCENTRATION

In the midst of all of the confusion that is going on around us, we’ve got to keep our eyes on Him. In Isaiah 45:22 we read these words: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: For I am God, and there is none else.” Simply put, God is stating that if we keep our eyes fixed on Him, even in the midst of our confusion, He will work things out for us! Again in verse 17 we find this truth. “But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” By looking to Him, they can rest assured that they will not be ashamed. God used a pagan king named Cyrus to deliver His people from bondage. It didn’t make sense when Cyrus was anointed, but God’s people were certainly thankful that they looked to Him, even when they couldn’t understand Him.

Maybe we need to come to a place in our lives where we realize how helpless we are, and how helpful He is. When we focus upon Him, He works on our behalf. Understand, He didn’t command us to see Him, only to look to Him. We will not always understand. His ways will not always make sense to us, but by looking toward Him, we acknowledge Him as Lord. Spurgeon said, “Wherever I am, however far off, it just says ‘Look!’ It does not say I am to see; it only says ‘Look!’ If we look on a thing in the dark we cannot see it, but we have done what we were told. So if a sinner only looks to Jesus, he will save him; for Jesus in the dark is as good as Jesus in the light, and Jesus when you cannot see him is as good as Jesus when you can.”

In the midst of the confusion that may be prevalent in your life, look to God. Focus upon Him. The wise man wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” He is worthy of our trust and He is willing to help us. We must stay focused in the fray.

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