"Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.Isaiah 45:21(NASB)
Although the earlier chapters of Isaiah declare judgement on the ungodly pagan nations of the world for their evil ways and pronounce a series of 'woes' on the people of Israel because of their broken covenant, God also proclaimed deliverance upon His people and promised to send His chosen Servant to rescue them from their enemies.
Despite Isaiah's warnings about the Day of the Lord's judgement and His righteous vengeance on all who reject Him, God also pledged to send a Day of blessings and joyful restoration for His people Israel, and on those who would trust in His name.
The world fell under the power of Satan when sin entered the world, and so the Lord took Israel from the sea of humanity to be His chosen nation. God purposed to use Israel to circumvent Satan's evil influence over the Gentiles. Israel were to be God's mouthpiece to tell the nations of God's goodness and grace, His long-suffering and mercy, His plan of redemption and offer of salvation to all who would trust in His name.
God purposed that through Israel, the nations would know that He is the Lord so that they could also pass from darkness to light by faith, and be saved – but Israel failed in their covenanted commitment and followed after other gods, which necessitated a time of punishment. However, God is still the Sovereign Lord Whose Word cannot fail. He is still the eternal Creator of heaven and earth Whose promises stand fast for ever and ever. He is still the eternal God of gods and Lord of lords Whose redemptive plans and purposes for mankind cannot be thwarted.
When Israel failed in their mission the first time and were exiled to Babylon, God purposed to use Cyrus, a Persian emperor, to move His eternal plan of redemption forward and to set the Jewish exiles free from their 70-year long captivity in Babylon so that they could obey His command to tell the world that God is the Lord.
At the time of the Lord Jesus, when Israel once again failed to repent of their sin and rejected their Messiah, God used the Church (which is Christ's Body) to go into all the world and tell forth the good news of the gospel of grace to the unsaved. Setting Israel aside for a season, He used a Body of believers from many nation and different lands and languages to be His mouthpiece. Meanwhile, God's kingdom of heaven-on-earth was once again postponed.
The complete fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy of the Day of the Lord's judgement and His righteous vengeance on all who reject Him, followed by a Day of blessings and restoration for those who trust Him, is yet future. But God's invitation to the unsaved nations continues today, as it did when Isaiah first penned God's summons to the Gentiles: "Declare and set forth your case," was God's challenge to them, "Indeed, let them consult together!! Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me. I am a righteous God and Saviour. There is none except Me."
God made Himself known to man from the beginning. The heavens declare the glory of God, the earth tells forth His praise, and man's God-given conscience gives him an inner witness of his sinfulness and desperate need of a Saviour, and yet fallen man persists in praying to idols, worshiping powerless deities, rejecting the true and living God, and declaring themselves to be divine.
Paul reminds us that since the creation of the world, the invisible attributes of the Lord, His eternal power, and His divine nature, can be clearly seen and understood through the intricacies of God's amazing creation with its complex design so that men are without excuse.
Foolish men profess to be wise in their own understanding by pronouncing that there is no God. But He is clearly identifiable in nature, through man's conscience, and by the Word of God. Man simply refuses to honour Him as God or give Him thanks, which causes their foolhardy hearts to become darkened and their consciences to become seared.
In spite of Israel's failure to be a light to the Gentiles, God has always invited lost sinners (Jew and Gentile alike) to come to Him for salvation. The purpose of His judgements is always the same: "That the nations will know that I am the Lord." And yet for the best part of 6,000, years man has spurned his Creator and rejected God's gracious offer of salvation.
The day is coming when every knee will bow before our Heavenly Creator and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Those that believe will kneel before Him out of love and gratitude for their gracious Redeemer Who died and rose again, while the unsaved will be forced to bend the knee before their great and awe-inspiring Judge – the Man, Christ Jesus, at the terrible Great White Judgement Throne of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You that despite man's futility and foolishness, You have always made Yourself known to Your creation and pleaded with men to turn to You for salvation and the forgiveness of sins. As the Day of the Lord's fierce judgement draws ever closer, I pray that unsaved men and women will turn from their foolish ways and look to Jesus Who alone has the words of eternal life. Thank You that You are a righteous God and a long-suffering Saviour. Thank You that Jesus died for me and rose again, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. In Jesus' name, AMEN.