Isaiah 45:2

These figures indicate the removal of all obstacles and hindrances out of the way of him who is called of God, entrusted with some particular work for God, and helped of God in the doing of that work. Historical illustration is found in the fact, as stated by the older writers, that in some unaccountable way the river-gates of Babylon were found open on the approach of Cyrus; or, as stated on the authority of the monuments, that the city capitulated, as a consequence of the defeat of Nabonidus in the field. Professor Sayce says, "Another fact of an equally revolutionary kind, which the inscriptions teach us, is that Babylon was not besieged and taken by Cyrus. It opened its gates to his general long before he came near it, and needed neither fighting nor battle for its occupation." Grote, in his 'History of Greece,' says, "The way in which the city was treated would lead us to suppose that its acquisition cannot have cost the conqueror either much time or much loss... it is certain that the vast walls and gates were left untouched." The assurances of the text arc even better fulfilled by moving obstacles out of the way, than by Cyrus actually mastering them. Herodotus tells us that Babylon had a hundred gates of brass, with posts and hooks of the same metal.

I. OBSTACLES IN THE WAY SHOULD BE NO HINDRANCE TO US. There is hardly anything worth doing in life that is not difficult to do. The difference between men is seen in their attitude in face of difficulties. Illustrate by the position of Israel before the Red Sea. It was a brave thing for Moses to command Israel to "go forward;" but it was a type of the right attitude for us always to take when the way seems obstructed. "I cannot" must give place to "I will, God helping me."

II. THE ONE THING TO SEEK IS THE ASSURANCE THAT WE ARE DOING GOD'S WILL. This distinguishes the good man from the mere man of energy. The Cyrus here referred to was raised up by God, and entrusted with a particular work. But it is true that still God calls individuals to special service. He makes plain to them his will And our first anxiety should be to be sure that we are where he has set us, and are doing just what he would have us do. Once let these things be settled, and oppositions and hindrances count for nothing. We want more faith in Divine providence, in the inward inspirations and outward directings of God. Where he sets us we must bear, conquer, and do.

III. WAYS ALWAYS OPEN BEFORE THE OBEDIENT, RESOLUTE. TRUSTFUL MAN. Firmness, moral courage, persistency, and, above all, real faith in God, compel difficulties to yield. They are always according to the size of the man himself. If he is big with faith, they grow small; if he is little with fears, they grow big. Obstacles are searching tests of character. Men of faith are like the mountain streams that make their way down amid the rocks; if they cannot get over the rocks, they go round them, but they will not be stopped. - R.T.

I will go before thee.
Man must go. Each man is accomplishing a journey, going through a process. The only question is, How? Man may go, either with God or without Him. Whether we go with God or without Him, we shall find crooked places.

I. We should regard the text as A WARNING. There are crooked places.

II. The text is also A PROMISE. "I will go before thee." God does not say where He will straighten our path; He does not say how; the great thing for us to believe is that there is a special promise for us, and to wait in devout hope for its fulfilment. He who waits for God is not misspending his time. Such waiting is true living — such tarrying is the truest speed.

III. The text is also A PLAN. It is in the word "before" that I find the plan, and it is in that word "before" that I find the difficulty on the human side. God does not say, I will go alongside thee; we shall go step by step: He says, I will go before thee. Sometimes it may be a long way before us, so that we cannot see Him; and sometimes it may be just in front of us. But whether beyond, far away, or here close at hand, the great idea we have to live upon is that God goes before us.

1. Let us beware of regarding the text as a mere matter of course. There is an essential question of character to be settled. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord."

2. Let us beware of regarding this text as a licence for carelessness Let us not say, "If God goes before me, and makes all places straight. why need I care?" To the good man all life is holy; there is no step of indifference; no subject that does not bring out his best desires. "The place whereon thou standest is holy ground" is the expression of every man who knows what it is to have God going before him.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

If we be Zion's pilgrims, heavenward bound, we shall find the need of such promises, in their spiritual fulfilment, as God here gave to Cyrus.

I. GOD'S PRELIMINARY WORK in "going before His people, making for them crooked places straight, breaking in pieces gates of brass, and cutting in sunder bars of iron."

1. The first promise lays a foundation for all the rest; "I will go before thee." How great must those difficulties be which need God Himself to go before us in order to overcome them! Surely they must be insuperable by any human strength. If we are rightly taught, we shall feel a need for the Lord to go before us, not only now and then, but every step of the way, for unless led and guided by Him, we are sure to go astray. How strikingly was this the case with the children of Israel. You may apply this promise to a variety of things.(1) It is applicable not only to spiritual, but to temporal trials and perplexities — to His going before us both in providence and grace.(2). But the words apply to the manifestation of His holy and sacred will.(3) It is especially in the removal of obstructions that the Lord fulfils this part of the promise.

2. "And make crooked things straight." This promise springs out of the former, and is closely connected with it; for it is only by the Lord s going before that things really crooked can be straightened. But what is meant by crooked places, and whence come they?(1) Some are inherently crooked, that is, it is in their very nature to be so. Thus crooked tempers, dispositions, desires, wills, lusts are in themselves inherently crooked, because being bent out of their original state by sin, they do not now lie level with God's holy will and Word.(2) But there are crooked places in the path of God's family, which are not inherently crooked as being sinful in themselves, but are crooked as made so by the hand of God to us. Of this kind are afflictions in body and mind, poverty in circumstances, trials in the family, persecution from superiors or ungodly relatives, heavy losses in business, bereavement of children, and, in short, a vast variety of circumstances curved into their shape by the hand of God, and so made. "crooked things" to us. Now, the Lord has promised, to make "crooked things straight." Taken in its fullest extent, the promise positively declares that from whatever source they come, or of whatsoever nature they be, the Lord will surely straighten them. By this He manifests His power, wisdom, and faithfulness. But how does He straighten them? In two ways, and this according to their nature. Sometimes by removing them out of the way; and sometimes by reconciling our minds to them.

3. But the Lord also promised Cyrus that He would, by going before him, break in pieces the gates of brass, &c. Cyrus longed to enter the city of Babylon; but when he took a survey of the only possible mode of entrance, he saw it firmly closed against him with gates of brass and iron. Can we not find something in our experience which corresponds to this feeling in Cyrus? There is a longing in the soul after a certain object. We press forward to obtain it, but what do we find in the road? Gates of brass and bars of iron. Look, for instance, at our very prayers. Are not the heavens sometimes brass over our heads, so that, as Jeremiah complains, "they cannot pass through"? Nay, is not your very heart itself sometimes a gate of brass, as hard, as stubborn, and as inflexible? So the justice, majesty, and holiness of God, when we view these dread perfections of Jehovah with a trembling eye under the guilt of sin, stand before the soul as so many gates of brass. The various enemies, too, which beset the soul; the hindrances and obstacles without and within that stand in the path; the opposition of sin, Satan, self, and the world against all that is good and godlike — may not all these be considered "gates of brass" barring out the wished-for access into the city?

4. But there are also "bars of iron." These strengthen the gates of brass and prevent them from being broken down or burst open, the stronger and harder metal giving firmness and solidity to the softer and weaker one. An unbelieving heart; the secret infidelity of the carnal mind; guilt of conscience produced by a sense of our innumerable wanderings from the Lord; doubts and fears often springing out of our own want of consistency and devotedness; apprehensions of being altogether deceived, from finding so few marks of grace and so much neglect of watchfulness and prayer — all these may be mentioned as bars of iron strengthening the gates of brass. Now, can you break to pieces these gates of brass, or cut in sunder the bars of iron? Here, then, when so deeply wanted, comes in the promise, "I will break," &c.

II. THE GIFTS WHICH THE LORD BESTOWS UPON THEM, when He has broken to pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron, here called "treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places."

1. "Treasures of darkness." But is not this a strange expression? How can there be darkness in the city of Salvation of which the Lord, the Lamb, is the eternal light? The expression does not mean that the treasures themselves are darkness, but that they were hidden in darkness till they were brought to light. The treasures of Belshazzar, like the Bank bullion, were buried in darkness till they were broken up and given to Cyrus. It is so in a spiritual sense. Are there not treasures in the Lord Jesus? Yet, all these are "treasures of darkness," so far as they are hidden from our eyes and hearts, till we are brought by His special power into the city of Salvation.

2. But the Lord promised also to give to Cyrus "the hidden riches of secret places," that is, literally, the riches of the city which were stored up in its secret places. But has not this, also a spiritual meaning? Yes. Many are "the hidden riches of secret places" with which the God of all grace enriches His believing family. Look, for instance, at the Word of God. But observe, how the promises are connected with "crooked places," "brazen gates," and "iron bars," and the going before of the Lord to remove them out of the way. Without this previous work we should be ignorant to our dying day of "the treasures of darkness"; we should never see nor handle "the hidden riches of secret places."

III. THE BLESSED EFFECTS PRODUCED by what the Lord thus does and thus gives — a spiritual and experimental knowledge, that "He who has called them by their name is the God of Israel." Observe the expression, "I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name." What an individuality it stamps on the person addressed! How it makes religion a personal thing! But what is produced by this special, individual, and personal calling? Knowledge. What knowledge? Spiritual, heartfelt, and experimental. Of what? "That the Lord who called them by name is the God of Israel." It is as "the God of Israel" that He manifests mercy and grace; that He never leaves nor forsakes the objects of His choice; that He fulfils every promise, defeats every enemy, appears in every difficulty, richly pardons every sin, graciously heals every backsliding, and eventually lands them in eternal bliss. Now, perhaps, we can see why God's people have so many gates of brass and bars of iron, so many trials and severe temptations. This is to bring them into personal acquaintance with God, the covenant God of Israel; to make religion a reality.

(J. C. Philpot.)

Cyrus, Isaiah, Jacob
Cush, Egypt, Jerusalem
Apart, Asunder, Bars, Brass, Brazen, Break, Broken, Bronze, Crooked, Cut, Doors, Elevated, Gates, Iron, Level, Mountains, Pieces, Places, Plain, Rods, Rough, Shatter, Shiver, Smooth, Straight, Sunder, Two-leaved
1. God calls Cyrus for his church's sake
5. By his omnipotence he challenges obedience
20. He convinces the idols of vanity by his saving power

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Isaiah 45:2

     4312   bronze
     4336   iron

Isaiah 45:1-2

     5323   gate
     7735   leaders, political

Isaiah 45:1-7

     5857   fame

Hidden and Revealed
'Verily thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.... I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye Me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.'--ISAIAH xlv, 15,19. The former of these verses expresses the thoughts of the prophet in contemplating the close of a great work of God's power which issues in the heathen's coming to Israel and acknowledging God. He adores the depth of the divine
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Sovereignty and Salvation
"Ere since by faith I saw the stream His flowing wounds supply, Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die." I shall never forget that day, while memory holds its place; nor can I help repeating this text whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord. How strangely gracious! How wonderfully and marvelously kind, that he who heard these words so little time ago for his own soul's profit, should now address you this morning as his hearers from the same text, in the full and
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

The Solar Eclipse
I shall note this morning, in addressing you, that since the Lord creates darkness as well as light; first of all, eclipses of every kind are part of God's way of governing the world; in the second place, we shall notice that since God creates the darkness as well as the light, we may conclude beyond a doubt that he has a design in the eclipse--in the darkness as well as the light; and then, thirdly, we shall notice that as all things that God has created, whether they be light or whether they be
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Ecce Homo
"Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth."--Is. xlv. 22. Mechthild of Hellfde, 1277. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 Wilt thou, sinner, be converted? Christ the Lord of glory see By His own denied, deserted, Bleeding, bound, and scourged for thee. Look again, O soul, behold Him On the cross uplifted high; See the precious life-blood flowing, See the tears that dim His eye. Love has pierced the heart that brake, Loveless sinner, for thy sake. Hearken till thy heart is broken To His
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

The Eve of the Restoration
'Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2. Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3. Who is there among you of all His people? his God
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Jehovah-Shammah: a Glorious Name for the New Year
THESE words may be used as a test as well as a text. They may serve for examination as well as consolation, and at the beginning of a year they may fulfill this useful double purpose. In any case they are full of marrow and fatness to those whose spiritual taste is purified. It is esteemed by the prophet to be the highest blessing that could come upon a city that its name should be, "JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, The Lord is there." Even Jerusalem, in its best estate, would have this for its crowning blessing:
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

The Eternity and Unchangeableness of God.
Exod. iii. 14.--"I AM THAT I AM."--Psal. xc. 2.--"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God."--Job xi. 7-9.--"Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." This is the chief point of saving knowledge,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Of Four Things which Bring Great Peace
"My Son, now will I teach thee the way of peace and of true liberty." 2. Do, O my Lord, as Thou sayest, for this is pleasing unto me to hear. 3. "Strive, My Son, to do another's will rather than thine own. Choose always to have less rather than more. Seek always after the lowest place, and to be subject to all. Wish always and pray that the will of God be fulfilled in thee. Behold, such a man as this entereth into the inheritance of peace and quietness." 4. O my Lord, this Thy short discourse
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Covenanting According to the Purposes of God.
Since every revealed purpose of God, implying that obedience to his law will be given, is a demand of that obedience, the announcement of his Covenant, as in his sovereignty decreed, claims, not less effectively than an explicit law, the fulfilment of its duties. A representation of a system of things pre-determined in order that the obligations of the Covenant might be discharged; various exhibitions of the Covenant as ordained; and a description of the children of the Covenant as predestinated
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God, Out of the Holy Scripture, So Far as Every Christian must Competently Know, and Necessarily Believe, that Will be Saves.
Although no creature can define what God is, because he is incomprehensible (Psal. cxliii. 3) and dwelling in inaccessible light (1 Tim. vi. 16); yet it has pleased his majesty to reveal himself to us in his word, so far as our weak capacity can best conceive him. Thus: God is that one spiritual and infinitely perfect essence, whose being is of himself eternally (Deut. i. 4; iv. 35; xxxii. 39; vi. 4; Isa. xlv. 5-8; 1 Cor. viii. 4; Eph. iv. 5, 6; 1 Tim. ii. 5; John iv. 24; 2 Cor. iii. 17; 1 Kings
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Unity of God
Q-5: ARE THERE MORE GODS THAN ONE? A: There is but one only, the living and true God. That there is a God has been proved; and those that will not believe the verity of his essence, shall feel the severity of his wrath. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.' Deut 6:6. He is the only God.' Deut 4:49. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thy heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, there is none else.' A just God and a Saviour; there is none beside
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Spiritual Hunger Shall be Satisfied
They shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 I proceed now to the second part of the text. A promise annexed. They shall be filled'. A Christian fighting with sin is not like one that beats the air' (1 Corinthians 9:26), and his hungering after righteousness is not like one that sucks in only air, Blessed are they that hunger, for they shall be filled.' Those that hunger after righteousness shall be filled. God never bids us seek him in vain' (Isaiah 45:19). Here is an honeycomb dropping into the mouths of
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Thy Name: My Name
'I have called thee by thy name.'--ISAIAH xliii. 1. 'Every one that is called by My name.'--ISAIAH xliii. 7. Great stress is laid on names in Scripture. These two parallel and antithetic clauses bring out striking complementary relations between God and the collective Israel. But they are as applicable to each individual member of the true Israel of God. I. What does God's calling a man by his name imply? 1. Intimate knowledge. Adam naming the creatures. Christ naming His disciples. 2. Loving friendship.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Extent of Messiah's Spiritual Kingdom
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever! T he Kingdom of our Lord in the heart, and in the world, is frequently compared to a building or house, of which He Himself is both the Foundation and the Architect (Isaiah 28:16 and 54:11, 12) . A building advances by degrees (I Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:20-22) , and while it is in an unfinished state, a stranger cannot, by viewing its present appearance, form an accurate judgment
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Its Nature
Justification, strictly speaking, consists in God's imputing to His elect the righteousness of Christ, that alone being the meritorious cause or formal ground on which He pronounces them righteous: the righteousness of Christ is that to which God has respect when He pardons and accepts the sinner. By the nature of justification we have reference to the constituent elements of the same, which are enjoyed by the believer. These are, the non-imputation of guilt or the remission of sins, and second,
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification

The Theology of St. Hilary of Poitiers.
This Chapter offers no more than a tentative and imperfect outline of the theology of St. Hilary; it is an essay, not a monograph. Little attempt will be made to estimate the value of his opinions from the point of view of modern thought; little will be said about his relation to earlier and contemporary thought, a subject on which he is habitually silent, and nothing about the after fate of his speculations. Yet the task, thus narrowed, is not without its difficulties. Much more attention, it is
St. Hilary of Poitiers—The Life and Writings of St. Hilary of Poitiers

Gifts and Talents.
"And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him."--Judges iii. 10. We now consider the Holy Spirit's work in bestowing gifts, talents, and abilities upon artisans and professional men. Scripture declares that the special animation and qualification of persons for work assigned to them by God proceed from the Holy Spirit. The construction of the tabernacle required capable workmen, skilful carpenters, goldsmiths, and silversmiths, and masters in the arts of weaving and embroidering. Who will furnish Moses
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Putting God to Work
"For from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen a God beside thee who worketh for him that waiteth for him."--Isaiah 64:4. The assertion voiced in the title given this chapter is but another way of declaring that God has of His own motion placed Himself under the law of prayer, and has obligated Himself to answer the prayers of men. He has ordained prayer as a means whereby He will do things through men as they pray, which He would not otherwise do. Prayer
Edward M. Bounds—The Weapon of Prayer

Extent of Atonement.
VI. For whose benefit the atonement was intended. 1. God does all things for himself; that is, he consults his own glory and happiness, as the supreme and most influential reason for all his conduct. This is wise and right in him, because his own glory and happiness are infinitely the greatest good in and to the universe. He made the atonement to satisfy himself. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Messiah's Innocence vindicated
He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken. L et not plain Christians be stumbled because there are difficulties in the prophetical parts of the Scriptures, and because translators and expositors sometimes explain them with some difference, as to the sense. Whatever directly relates to our faith, practice, and comfort, may be plainly collected from innumerable
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

Nature of Covenanting.
A covenant is a mutual voluntary compact between two parties on given terms or conditions. It may be made between superiors and inferiors, or between equals. The sentiment that a covenant can be made only between parties respectively independent of one another is inconsistent with the testimony of Scripture. Parties to covenants in a great variety of relative circumstances, are there introduced. There, covenant relations among men are represented as obtaining not merely between nation and nation,
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

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