Isaiah prophesies with a focus on the idolatry of the people. I like how he points out how one can cut down a tree and use half for fire wood and the other half for a god. Isaiah 44:15 in the Amplified version says, “A part of it he takes and warms himself, yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. [Then out of the remainder, the leavings] he also makes a god and worships it! He [with his own hands] makes it into a graven image and falls down and worships it!”
The prophecy of Cyrus (who would be king of Persia) was made about 200 years before he was born. Isaiah first spoke of him in Isaiah 44:28, “…Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid." '
2 Chronicles 36:22-23 records the fulfillment of this powerful prophecy after 70 years of captivity. It says, “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, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!” This Scripture says the spirit of King Cyrus was "stirred up" by the LORD; it's possible that he read this prophecy that was made of him 200 years previous to do so.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan