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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:5

 

 

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I am the Lord … - (see the notes at Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 43:2; Isaiah 44:8; Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 45:18, Isaiah 45:22).

I girded thee … - (see the note at Isaiah 45:1). The sense is, I girded thee with the girdle - the military belt; I prepared thee, and strengthened thee for war and conquest. Even people who are strangers to the true God are sustained by him, and are unable to accomplish anything without his providential aid.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-45.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 45:5

I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me

Cyrus girded by God

The contrast to “loose the loins of kings” (Isaiah 45:1).
(
Prof. J. Skinner, D. D.)

The girdings of Jehovah

I. GOD’S PLAN, AS IT AFFECTS SOCIETY.

1. It is comprehensive, sweeping from age to age, threading millenniums, building its structure from the dust of earth’s earliest age to the emergence of the new heavens and earth at the close of time. But it is minute and particular.

2. He works through individuals. The story of man is for the most part told in the biographies of men. It is through human instruments that God executes His beneficent purposes, His righteous judgments. Through Columbus, He draws aside the veil from the coast-line of America. Through a Watt and a Stephenson, He endows men with the co-operation of steam; through a Galvani and an Edison, with the ministry of electricity. Through a De Lesseps, He unites the waters of the eastern and western seas, and brings the Orient and Occident together. Through a Napoleon He shatters the temporal power of the Pope; and by a Wilberforce strikes the fetters from the slave. Men do not know the purpose of God in what they are doing.

3. God’s use of men does not interfere with their free action. This is clearly taught in more than one significant passage in Scripture--Joseph’s brethren. Herod, Pilate, and the religious leaders of the Jews, were swept before a cyclone of passion and jealousy; and it was with wicked hands that they crucified and slew the Lord of glory: but they were accomplishing the determinate counsel of God.

II. GOD’S PLAN, AS IT AFFECTS INDIVIDUALS. We are all conscious of an element in life that we cannot account for. Other men have started life under better auspices, and with larger advantages than we, but somehow they have dropped behind in the race, and are nowhere to be seen. Our health has never been robust, but we have had more working days in our lives than those who were the athletes of our school. We have been in perpetual peril, travelling incessantly, and never involved in a single accident; whilst others were shattered in their first journey from their doorstep. Why have we escaped, where so many have fallen? Why have we climbed to positions of usefulness and influence, which so many more capable ones have missed? Why has our reputation been maintained, when better men than ourselves have lest their footing and fallen beyond recovery? There is not one of us who cannot see points in the past where we had almost gone, and our footsteps had well-nigh slipped: precipices along the brink of which we went at nightfall, horrified in the morning to see how near our footprints had been to the edge. Repeatedly we have been within a hair-breadth of taking some fatal step. How strangely we were plucked out of that companionship! How marvellonsly we were saved from that marriage, from that investment, from embarking in that ship, travelling by that train, taking shares in that company! It is God who has girded us, though we did not know Him. (F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

The girding of the Almighty

Christ Himself testifies to the girding of the Almighty when He says, “To this end was I born, and for this purpose came I into the world.” Abraham was girded for a particular work and mission, in what is otherwise denominated his call. Joseph, in Egypt, distinguishes the girding of God’s hand, when he comforts his guilty brothers in the assurance, “So it was not you that sent me hither, but God.” Moses and Samuel were even called by name, and set to their great life-work in the same manner. And what is Paul endeavouring in all the stress and pressure of his mighty apostle-ship, but to perform the work for which God’s Spirit girded him at his call, and to apprehend that for which he was apprehended of Christ Jesus? (H. Bushnell, D. D.)

Every man’s life a plan of God

God has a definite life-plan for every human person, girding him, visibly or invisibly, for some exact thing, which it will be the true significance and glory of his life to have accomplished.

1. The Holy Scriptures not only show us explicitly that God has a definite purpose in the lives of men already great, but they show us how frequently, in the conditions of obscurity and depression, preparations of counsel are going on, by which the commonest offices are to become the necessary first chapter of a great and powerful history. David among the sheep; Elisha following after the plough; Nehemiah bearing the cup; Hannah, who can say nothing less common than that she is the wife of Elkanah and a woman of a sorrowful spirit,--who, that looks on these humble people, at their humble post of service, and discovers, at last, how dear a purpose God was cherishing in them, can be justified in thinking that God has no particular plan for him, because he is not signalised by any kind of distinction?

2. Besides, what do the Scriptures show us, but that God has a particular care for every man, a personal interest in him, and a sympathy with him and his trials, watching for the uses of his one talent as attentively and kindly, and approving him as heartily, in the right employment of it, as if He had given him ten; and what is the giving out of the talents itself, but an exhibition of the fact that God has a definite purpose, charge, and work for every man?

3. They also make it the privilege of every man to live in the secret guidance of God; which is plainly nugatory, unless there is some chosen work, or sphere, into which he may be guided.

4. God also professes in His Word to have purposes prearranged for all events; to govern by a plan which is from eternity even, and which, in some proper sense, comprehends everything. And what is this but another way of conceiving that God has a definite place and plan adjusted for every human being?

5. Turning now from the Scriptures to the works of God, how constantly are we met here by the fact, everywhere visible, that ends and uses are the regulative reasons of all existing things?

6. But there is a single but very important and even fearful qualification. Things all serve their uses, and never break out of their place. They have no power to do it. Not so with us. We are able, as free beings, to refuse the place and the duties God appoints; which, if we do, then we sink into something lower and less worthy of us. That highest and best condition for which God designed us is no more possible. And yet, as that was the best thing possible for us in the reach of God’s original counsel, so there is a place designed for us now, which is the next best possible. God calls us now to the best thing left, and will do so till all good possibility is narrowed down and spent. And then, when He cannot use us any more for our own good, He will use us for the good of others--an example of the misery and horrible desperation to which any soul must come, when all the good ends, and all the holy callings of God’s friendly and fatherly purpose are exhausted. Or it may be now that, remitting all other plans and purposes in our behalf, He will henceforth use us, wholly against our will, to be the demonstration of His justice and avenging power before the eyes of mankind; saying over us, as He did over Pharaoh in the day of His judgments, “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (H. Bushnell, D. D.)

Finding God’s life-plan

But the inquiry will be made, supposing all this to be true, how can we ever get hold of this life-plan God has made for us, or find our way into it?

1. Observe some negatives that are important, and must be avoided.

2. But we must not stop in negatives. How, then, or by what more positive directions can a man, who really desires to do it, come into the plan God lays for him, so as to live it and rationally believe that he does?

God in the world? The best end, the next best, and the next are gone, and nothing but the dregs of opportunity are left. And still Christ calls even you. There is a place still left for you; not the best and brightest, but a humble and good one. (H. Bushnell, D. D.)

Cyrus directed, equipped, and prospered by God, though not one of God’s enlightened worshippers

Idolatry in its grosser forms was unknown in Persia. The religion of Persia recognised one God, beneficent in character and work and purpose, revealed under the symbol of light. This one God, however, was not clothed with infinite attributes. His dominion was limited by the existence and activity of a rival spirit of evil, equally great and unbegotten with Himself. It was in this imperfect faith that the great and noble Cyrus was trained. Till after his contact with the Jews, he did not know God in His essential nature as spirit without symbol, supreme in His sovereignty, and infinite in the attributes that clothed Him. And yet in his temper there was a ready answerableness to the unseen touch of God’s hand, an unconscious obedience to sacred purposes he but dimly discerned, and a providential sanctification for the fulfilment of God’s counsels, in spite of his imperfect conceptions of God. (T. G. Selby.)

Irresponsible ignorance

Ignorance that is inseparable from the circumstances in which men are cradled, ignorance that is entirely involuntary, does not disqualify men from being the instruments of God’s will, and receiving some of the most lustrous honours dispensed by His hand. (T. G. Selby.)

The worth of our several ministries

The worth of our several ministries cannot always be tested by the degree of knowledge that informs them. Some men, like the bees, do much of their work in the sunshine. They fulfil the tasks of life in the light of a clear illumination. For them the knowledge of God always precedes a vocation from God. There are men also who are like the coral insect, which works a fathom or two below the surface of the sea, and dies when the reef upon which it has laboured is just beginning to tower into the sunlight. (T. G.Selby.)

The characteristic distinction between inspiration and providential equipment

Providential equipment consists in being girded by a God who may be more or less unknown. Inspiration implies that God’s chosen agent has all his faculties filled with God’s presence as He girds. (T. G.Selby, D. D.)

The providence of the unknown

I. Is it not A REASONABLE AND A CONSISTENT THOUGHT, that the providential equipment, vocation, and sovereignty in a man’s life should transcend his knowledge of God and God’s purpose?

1. God may sometimes use a man who seems half a heathen, to remind His people that His providential sovereignty is larger than all finite thought. In the early days of the British rule in India, the old Mogul at Delhi, and the mediatised native sovereigns in other cities, were allowed independent rights within their own palace precincts. The British rule did not intrude there. Now and again half-clad slave girls and palace dependents, in terror for their lives, and wretches waled and trembling with recent chastisements, would escape the palace precincts and seek protection under the humane governments that had been planted in the surrounding cities. These spacious palaces were like little islands of the old despotisms, cruelties, and oppresssions bristling above the tide of constitutional right and privilege and liberty that was rising far and near. In God’s empire there are no spots of organised diabolism of that sort, that are separated from the control, direction, and over-rule of providential law. Alas! it is only too easy to find signs of individual and collective resistance to God’s law; but there are no indrawn spheres or reservations, dominated by pagan ignorance, from which His power, sovereignty, and prerogative are shut out. He rules where He is not worshipped, directs where He is not recognised, girds where He is not known.

2. In going beyond the circle of the elect nations to choose an instrument for the fulfilment of His counsels, God seems to remind us that the motive of His providential activity is altogether Divine. He uses the imperfectly taught Gentile, and puts upon him honour that might seem to belong to the Jew, to illustrate the sovereignty of His grace.

3. Partial ignorance of God may be an appointed condition for the test and development of faith. It is not only the virtuous heathen who is girded by an unrecognised Hand and made the agent in providential plans and purposes he cannot fathom. The distinction between Isaiah and Cyrus, between Cyrus and ourselves, is one of degree. On its intellectual side, at least, our religious knowledge is still imperfect, fragmentary, hesitating. God suffers it to be so, possibly that we may be the better disciplined in that humility which is the basis of faith. I have sometimes thought that so long as heathen darkness does not involve a gross and demoralising misrepresentation of God, but only a partial privation of knowledge, it offers the occasion for the exercise of a higher faith than that which is possible amidst the breaking twilights of Christian knowledge. The devout and pure-minded pagan, like Cyrus, who trusts his moral instincts without any adequate knowledge of their Divine origin, who with touching fidelity follows an unsyllabled vocation from heavens that have not yet opened themselves in revelation and definite testimony, who accepts an equipment from a Hand that has touched and guided him out of the darkness, is perhaps a more splendid example of faith than the man who manifests the same trust and loyalty and obedience in the midst of clearer intellectual conceptions of God. The puzzle of the long pagan centuries is not so painful and oppressive if we look at it from this standpoint.

II. EXAMPLES OF THIS PROVIDENTIAL GIRDING BY AN UNKNOWN GOD will readily occur to us that seem to conform to the type represented by Cyrus.

1. If we think of the men, the tradition of whose teaching and example is intertwined with all that is highest and best in the life of the nations outside the range of Christendom, we shall see that these men have been girded for their moral conquests and guided to their ascendencies over their fellow-men by the same unrecognised Hand that guided and girded this elect Persian. It is, perhaps, impossible to recall the name of a great and permanently honoured teacher in the past history of India, China, Persia, Egypt, Greece or Rome, whose influence rested upon an immoral doctrine or a contradiction of conscience. There must have been such leaders in the insignificant races that relapsed into cannibalism, scalp-hunting, and animal debasement. But no such names appear in the histories of the great civilised empires.

2. We must not judge the issues of the social and political movements of the present and past times by the measure of Divine knowledge they exhibit. Some of these movements, however little they seem to recognise God, are empowered by His mysterious hand, and minister to the accomplishment of His secret purpose. The dark despotisms enthroned over the ancient world annealed men into stable communities. And there are doubtless providential issues of the highest value in the democratic movements that are agitating Europe to-day, however reluctant those movements may be to recognise God.

3. Does not the fact that the theology of the modern scientist is sometimes very dim and defective tempt us to deny the Divine authority of his vocation and to discredit the providential issue in the special work he is called to do? Some of the schools of research and experiment and invention to which we are most deeply indebted are indifferent and even hostile to the claims of religion. And yet God calls the man of science to his work, vouchsafes the needful equipment for success, and guides all the far-off issues to which that work may tend.

4. And all this is true for ourselves. The knowledge possessed by those of us who know God best is, after all, infinitesimal in amount and degree. It is nothing in comparison with what remains to be known. It seems we can scarcely be the true servants of God and doing Divine work unless we have broader and brighter and more penetrating views of God’s nature. We are crushed by the inevitable secularisms of our life, and cannot believe that we are breathing the sacred atmosphere that encircles God’s priests and kings. It seems, at times, as though God, and providence, and supernatural vocation, and the high sanctions under which we seek to bring ourselves, were dreams. We are haunted by the thought that there is some subtle curse of ineradicable atheism cleaving to our inmost souls. In spite of the limit in our vision and the miserable failure in the spirit of our service, He is guiding us to beneficent conquests, and strengthening us to achieve holy emancipations, and fitting us for eternal honours. He was making us ready for service of some sort, when we knew far less about Him than we know to-day. And it is so still. And even after God seems to have been revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ, how often do we find God becoming a hidden and an unknown God to us in His providential relations! At times it may seem rather as though some malignant demon were presiding over our lives, or at least sharing the sovereignty. But beyond the widest bound of our faith and knowledge there is providential guiding and girding and victory. And these words seem to suggest solemn comfort to us in view of the final conflict to which we shall all one day be brought. We shall enter the world to come as conquerors girded for our triumph by an unseen Hand. God’s elect servants sometimes die in circumstances that make thoughts of God impossible. Perhaps they are snatched away by unexpected accident. They leave life in a struggle that petrifies thought and feeling. In that solemn hour of darkness and humiliation and mental inaptitude, God, unknown and unrecognised, girds for the victory still. Let us not forget that, though the girding is often in darkness, the motive of this girding in shadows is the inbringing of the perfect life. (T. G. Selby.)

The light of God’s love seen in pagan darkness

It is when the sun is in eclipse that the astronomer is able to see the fountains of glowing hydrogen that rise out of the inner substance of the sun and project their splendour for thousands and tens of thousands of miles beyond its surface. The strange and superb spectacle is visible only on the margin that lies between the incandescent body and the sphere of less luminous space that surrounds it. And so there are sublime illustrations of God’s providential love and care that can be most nobly seen in contrast with pagan darkness. (T. G.Selby.)

Pagan teachers enlightened by God

Confucius was the instrument for keeping alive in China a morality that was almost as pure as the morality of the decalogue. He stamped out all traces of Moloch worship. He can be quoted with commanding effect against many of the cruelties and superstitions of the present day. Gautama Buddha taught a morality equally pure, and so emphasised the demerit of sin as to make his teaching the best available basis that can be found for the evangelical doctrine of the atonement. The well-considered and dispassionate and reverent scepticism of Socrates acted as a solvent of Greek superstition, and prepared the way for the thoughtful Christianity of Alexandria. Mohammed gave form and force to a system which, in spite of its excesses and fanaticisms, has been a useful protest against idolatry, and has gathered together into a simple civilisation and worship tribes that would otherwise have been incurably degraded by fetich worship. Now, are we to suppose that it was without any supreme direction or control that these famous teachers conspired together to support these high theories of life and conduct? They were not prophets, because they had not the light which brought into view the mysterious Person who guided, equipped, and succoured them. But they were providential instruments, instruments that in spite of their defective discernments were plastic to God’s controlling purpose. (T. G. Selby.)

God’s beneficent agency in the lives of those who ignore Him

“Man cannot exclude Me from his little universe; even though he deny My existence and denounce My claim I am still there. I water the garden of the atheist, and bring his flowers to summer bloom and his fruits to autumnal glory. Men deny Me, curse Me, flee from Me I am still round about them, and their life is more precious to Me than is their blasphemy detestable, and until the very last I will work for them and with them, and if they go to perdition it shall be through the very centre of, My heart’s tenderest grace.” “I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me.” (J. Parker, D. D.)

A God-girded life

Who is that boy sitting on the steps there? He has a hat on that was made for any head but his own; and his coat, who made it? His mother, very likely--rough spun, not too well fitting. What is he waiting for? To get the job of sweeping the steps he sits on? Perhaps. Years pass by, and a portly man comes down those steps. Broad his face, a great round shining blessing, kindness in his eye, power in the uplifting of his hand. Who is he? That is the boy, grown now fully, physically, intellectually and socially. The boy and the man are both Horace Greeley, an editorial prince, a man whose writings no one among his countrymen can afford to decline to read. “I girded thee, I brought thee to those steps, I set thee down upon them, I appointed an angel to watch thee all the time: it was My way of nursing and caring for thee, and training thee.” He bringeth the blind by a way that they know not. (J. Parker, D. D.)

God in national life

Nations are not cards, with which politicians play at gambling: they may think they do, they may seem to do so, but the Lord reigneth. (J. Parker, D. D.)

The unknown influence of God

Cyrus is now proved to have been a polytheist. Yet even he was girded by the unknown God of heaven and earth. Let us consider this unknown influence of God.

I. IT SPRINGS FROM THE ALMIGHTY POWER OF GOD. God is not merely a passive object of worship. He exerts active influence. He did not only work in the past in creating the world. He is a living, active God now. Jesus said, “My Father worketh hitherto.” Perhaps the poorest definition of God ever framed is that of “A power, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness.” Still, even this meagre description of Divinity recognises the fact of an active Divine influence is not limited by our confession of it, nor by our willingness to submit to it. It inspired the eye of the Greek artist and the tongue of the Greek orator as truly as those of a Christian Chrysostom and Fra Angelico.

II. IT IS DIRECTED BY THE INFINITE GOODNESS OF GOD. We circumscribe this goodness to a pale of grace and a day of grace; but it overflows our boundaries and breaks out, free as the air and broad as the sunlight. God does not wait to be called. He is the first to awaken His slumbering children. God thinks of the heathen, and gives strength to those who know Him not. Then no doubt if a Chinese Mandarin pronounces a just sentence, or a Hindu Pundit utters a true thought, or an African chief vindicates the rights of an oppressed tribe, the goodness of these heathen men is an outcome of God’s goodness to them. Let us take heart: there is more grace in the world than we know of.

III. IT AIMS AT THE EXECUTION OF THE WILL OF GOD. Cyrus is called God’s shepherd (Isaiah 44:28). So even Nebuchadnezzar, a man of a very different character, is called by God “My servant” (Jeremiah 43:10).

1. Some serve God when they think to oppose Him. As the gale that seems to be tearing the ship to pieces may be driving her the faster to her haven, so Satan, in Job, aiming at opposition to the right, occasioned the most glorious vindication of it. Persecutors often help the cause they hate.

2. Many, like Cyrus, serve God unconsciously. As the corn ministers to our sustenance unwittingly, and as science reveals the glory of God, even when the naturalists who pursue it are agnostics. Lessons--


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 45:5". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-45.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I am the Lord, and there is none else,.... Whom thou, O Cyrus, for the words are directed to him, ought to own, serve, and worship:

there is no God besides me; in heaven or earth, in any of the countries conquered by thee, and thou rulest over; for though there were gods and lords many, so called, these were only nominal fictitious deities; not gods by nature, as he was; of which the following, as well as what is before said, is a proof:

I girded thee, though thou hast not known me; the Lord girded him with a royal girdle, a symbol of kingly power; he made him king over many nations; he girded him with strength, courage, and valour for war; and made him so expeditious, successful, and victorious, as he was, though a Heathen prince, and ignorant of him, in order to answer some valuable ends of his own glory, and the good of his people, and particularly for what follows.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-45.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God besides me: I g girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

(g) I have given you strength, power and authority.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-45.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 43:3, Isaiah 43:11; Isaiah 44:8; Isaiah 46:9).

girded thee — whereas “I will loose (the girdle off) the loins of kings” (Isaiah 45:1), strengthening thee, but enfeebling them before thee.

though … not known me — (Isaiah 45:4). God knows His elect before they are made to know Him (Galatians 4:9; John 15:16).


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-45.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

I girded — I made thee strong and active, and disposed thee for these great and warlike enterprizes.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-45.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.I am Jehovah. He confirms the preceding statement, and the repetition is not superfluous; for it was proper that it should be often repeated to Cyrus, that there is one God, by whose hands all rulers and nations are governed, that he might be drawn aside from all delusions and be converted to the God of Israel. Besides, it is clearly stated that we ought not to try to find divinity in any other; as if he had said, “Beware of ascribing this victory to idols, or forming any confused idea of a god such as men imagine; know that the God of Israel is the only author of this victory.” Although Cyrus did not profit by this admonition to such an extent as to leave his idols and devote himself to the true God, yet it made so deep an impression on his heart that he acknowledged Jehovah to be God and to possess the highest authority. At the same time, it was proper that they who were members of the Church should embrace this doctrine, that they might boldly despise all pretended gods.

I have girded thee. That girding corresponds to the nakedness which he formerly mentioned, (verse 1,) when he said that he “opened” or “ungirded the loins of kings;” for he is said to “gird” those whom he supplies with strength and courage and renders victorious. Hence it ought to be inferred, that men have no courage but when the Lord imparts to them his power and strength, that neither weapons nor any military force can do anything unless he assist, and, in a word, that he presides over all wars, and gives victory to whomsoever he pleases, that none may think that it happens by chance. He again repeats, Though thou hast not known me, in order to make it still more certain that these things are granted to Cyrus for the sake of the Church, in order that he may give evidence that he remembers it with gratitude, and may shew kindness to the people of God in return for such a distinguished favor.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-45.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 45:5 I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

Ver. 5. I am the Lord, and none else.] None of thy Persian gods, to whom thou didst offer solemn sacrifice, both at the beginning of thy reign, and. likewise at thy death, if Zenophon (a) may be believed, saying, Iupiter patriae et Sol, &c., magnas ago vobis gratias, quod vestram de me curam intellexi, &c.

Though thou hast not known me.] Or, When as yet thou wast altogether ignorant of me. That he afterwards believed the immortality of the soul, Cicero testifieth in his Cato Major; and that he believed in Christ for the salvation of his soul, Scultetus thinketh, because he was a type of Christ; as was also Solomon, saith he; which to me is one good argument that he was saved.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-45.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:5

God has a definite life-plan for every human person, girding him, visibly or invisibly, for some exact thing, which it will be the true significance and glory of his life to have accomplished. What a thought is this for every human soul to cherish! What dignity does it add to life! What instigations does it add to send us onward in everything that constitutes our excellence! We live in the Divine thought. We fill a place in the great everlasting plan of God's intelligence. We never sink below His care, never drop out of His counsel. But the inquiry will be made, supposing this to be true, how can we ever get hold of this life-plan God has made for us, or find our way into it?

I. Observe, first, some negatives that are important, and must be avoided. They are these: (1) You will never come into God's plan if you study singularity; for if God has a design and plan for every man's life, then it is exactly appropriate to his nature; and as every man's nature is singular and peculiar to himself—as peculiar as his face or look—then it follows that God will lead every man into a singular, original, and peculiar life, without any study or singularity on his part. (2) As little must we seek to copy the life of another. No man is ever called to be another. God has as many plans for men as He has men; and therefore He never requires them to measure their life exactly by any other life. (3) We are never to complain of our birth, our training, our employments, our hardships; never to fancy that we could be something, if only we had a different lot and sphere assigned us. God understands His own plan, and He knows what we want a great deal better than we do. (4) Another mistake to be carefully avoided is, that while we surrender and renounce all thought of making up a plan, or choosing out a plan, for ourselves, we do not also give up the hope or expectation that God will set us in any scheme of life, where the whole course of it will be known or set down beforehand. No contract will be made with Him, save that He engages, if you trust Him, to lead you into the best things all the way through.

II. More positive directions for coming into the plan God lays for us may be found (1) in God's character; (2) in our conscience; (3) in God's law and His written word.

H. Bushnell, The New Life, p. 7.


References: Isaiah 45:5.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi., p. 204. Isaiah 45:7.—W. Page, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 6; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv., No. 183. Isaiah 45:7-13.—C. Short, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 4.


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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/isaiah-45.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I girded thee; I made thee strong and active, and fitted and disposed thee for these great and warlike enterprises. For these were the uses and significations of girding in Scripture: see 1 Kings 20:11 Psalms 18:32 45:3.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-45.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The issue is who the Lord Isaiah , not who Cyrus is. Yahweh is the only true God, so He could choose whom He would, even though Cyrus did not know Him.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-45.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

girded thee. Contrast "loose" (Isaiah 45:1), and see note on Isaiah 8:9.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-45.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: I (am) the Lord, and (there is) none else - (Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 43:11; Isaiah 44:8; Isaiah 46:9.)

I girded thee - whereas "I will loose (the girdle off) the loins of kings" (Isaiah 45:1), strengthening thee, but enfeebling them before thee.

Though thou hast not known me - (Isaiah 45:4.) God knows His elect before they are made to know Him (Galatians 4:9; John 15:16).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-45.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) There is no God beside me.—Commonly, the formula is used in antithesis to polytheism. Possibly we may think of it here as in contrast with the dualism of Persia, or, if that be assigned to a later date, of Babylonia.

I girded thee.—The opposite of the “loosing,” or “ungirding,” of Isaiah 45:1, and so implying the idea of giving strength.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-45.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
the Lord
14-18,21,22; 44:8; 46:9; Deuteronomy 4:35,39; 32:39; 1 Kings 8:60; Joel 2:27; John 1:1; Hebrews 1:8,9
I girded thee
22:21; Ezra 1:2; Job 12:18,21; Psalms 18:32,39

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-45.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

EVERY MAN'S LIFE A PLAN OF GOD

Isa . I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me.

This declaration renders credible the sketch given by Xenophon of Cyrus's rare excellence of character. He was a model of greatness in every form, because God had guided him, unseen, to be the minister of His own sovereign purposes to the nations of that time. Others have been manifestly "guided" by God for their work: Abraham, Joseph (Gen ), Moses, Samuel, Paul—Christ Himself (Joh 18:37). But they differed from other men only in their consciousness (more or less clear) of their being divinely "guided" for their work. The "guiding" is granted to all men, i.e., God has a definite life-plan for every human person, guiding him, visibly or invisibly, for some exact thing, which it will be the true significance and glory of his life to have accomplished.

When we turn from God's Word to His works, we find the same universal and minute arrangement. Every particle of matter, every force of nature, has a purpose, and is used for the furtherance of a comprehensive divine plan.

It is contrary, then, to both these revelations to suppose concerning any man that his Creator has no definite thoughts concerning him, no place prepared for him to fill, no use for him to serve, which is the purpose of his existence. Every human soul has a complete and perfect plan cherished for it in the heart of God. What dignity does this thought add to life! What support does it bring to the trials of life! What instigations does it add to send us onward in everything that constitutes our excellence!

II. Moreover, as God has for every man a definite life-plan which, being accepted and followed, will conduct him to the best and noblest end possible, so He will appoint for him the best possible manner of attaining it. Whatever you have laid upon you to do or to suffer, to want, to surrender or to conquer, is exactly the best for you. Your life is a school exactly adapted to your lesson, and that to the last, best end of your existence. If your sphere is outwardly humble, if it even appears to be quite insignificant, God understands it better than you do, and it is part of His wisdom to bring out great sentiments in humble conditions, great principles in works that are outwardly trivial, great characters under great adversities and heavy loads of incumbrance. The tallest saints of God will often be those who walk in the deepest obscurity, and are even despised or quite overlooked by man. What comfort there is in this truth for us in circumstances otherwise depressive! What invigoration under sorrows otherwise crushing! (P. D. 3235, 3243).

III. But how are we to get hold of this life-plan God has made for us, and find our way into it?

1. Negatives to be avoided.

(1.) Never try to be singular. If God has a distinct design for every man's life, let him seek to be just what God will have him to be, and the talents, the duties, and circumstances of his life require him to be, and then he will be peculiar enough.

(2.) Do not seek to copy the life of another. God has as many plans for men as He has men; and, therefore, He never requires them to measure their life exactly by any other life.

(3.) Never complain of your birth, your training, your employments, your hardships; never fancy that you could be something if only you had a different lot and sphere assigned you. God understands His own plan, and He knows what you want a great deal better than you do.

(4.) While you surrender all thought of making a plan for yourself, do not expect that God will show you the chart of all His purposes concerning you. He will only show you into a way where, if you go cheerfully and trustfully forward, He will show you on still further (P. D. 1440, 1656, 1658).

2. Things we are to do. Consider

(1.) the character of God, and you will draw a large deduction from that; for all that God designs for you will be in harmony with His character. Many employments are by this first principle for ever cut off. No thought is permitted you, even for a moment, of any work or calling that does not represent the industry, justice, truth, beneficence, mercy of God.

(2.) Your relation to Him as a creature. As such it is your general duty to be and to do what He wills; and nine-tenths of your particular duties may be settled, at once, by a simple reference in this manner to what God wills (P. D. 3505).

(3.) You have a conscience, which is given to be an interpreter of His will, and thus of your duty and destiny (H. E. I. 1308).

(4.) God's Word is a guide to present duty, which, if faithfully accepted, will help to set you in accordance with the mind of God and the plan He has laid for you (H. E. I. 543, 558-579).

(5.) Be an observer of providence: for God is showing you ever, by the way in which He leads you, whither He means to lead.

(6.) Consult your friends, especially those who are most in the teaching of God. They know your talents and personal qualifications better, in some respects, than you do yourself.

(7.) Go to God Himself, and ask Him to make clear His will concerning you. He will certainly do so. This is the proper office and work of His Spirit. By this private teaching He can show us, and will, into the very plan that is set for us (H. E. I. 2872, 2875).

Application.

1. Has your life been in accordance with the plan of God? If not, let the past suffice, and humbly seek divine guidance for the future.

2. Young man, all your best opportunities are still before you. Seek God, and consecrate your life to Him, knowing assuredly that He will lead you into just that life which is your highest honour and blessing.

3. How sacred, how strong in its repose, how majestic is a life ordered according to the plan God has formed for it! Living in this manner, every turn of your experience will be a discovery to you of God, every change a token of His fatherly counsel. Oh, to live out such a life as God appoints, how great a thing it is!—to do the duties, make the sacrifices, bear the adversities, finish the plan, and then to say with Christ (who of us will be able?)—"It is finished!"—Horace Bushnell, D.D.: The New Life, pp. 1-15.

THE UNKNOWN INFLUENCE OF GOD

Isa . I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me.

A great Babylonian library, consisting of numerous clay tablets, with arrow-head inscriptions burnt into them, has recently been deciphered. The results are most astounding, confirming once questioned statements of Scripture history, throwing light upon obscure events, and correcting not a few false impressions. Among the principal corrections thus afforded is that of our views regarding the person and religion of Cyrus. Cyrus, it seems, was not a Persian, but an Elamite, and was not a Monotheist, but a worshipper of heathen divinities, adopting Merodach, the god of Babylon, when he conquered that city. The last fact adds great emphasis to our text. Cyrus, to whom the words are addressed, is now proved to be a pagan, a polytheist, an idolater. Yet even he was girded by the unknown God of heaven and earth. Let us consider this unknown influence of God.

I. It springs from the Almighty Power of God. God is not merely a passive object of worship. He exerts active influence. He did not only work in the past in creating the world. He is a living, active God now. Jesus said, "My Father worketh hitherto." Perhaps the poorest definition of God ever framed is that of "A power, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness." Still even this meagre, shrunken description of Divinity recognises the fact of an active Divine influence. Now, God's power is not limited by our confession of it, nor by our unwillingness to submit to it. It inspired the eye of the Greek artist and the tongue of the Greek orator as truly as those of a Christian Chrysostom and Fra Angelico.

II. It is directed by the Infinite Goodness of God. We circumscribe this goodness to a pale of grace and a day of grace; but it overflows our boundaries and breaks out, free as the air and broad as the sunlight. God does not wait to be called. He is the first to awaken His slumbering children. The grace of God anticipates the faith of man; for if it is dependent on faith for its fullest manifestation, yet even that very faith is a Divine gift (Eph ). God thinks of the heathen, and gives strength to those who know Him not. Then, no doubt, if a Chinese Mandarin pronounces a just sentence, or a Hindoo Pundit utters a true thought, or an African Chief vindicates the rights of an oppressed tribe, the goodness of these heathen men is an outcome of God's goodness to them. Let us take heart; there is more grace in the world than we know of.

III. It aims at the execution of the Will of God. Cyrus is called God's shepherd (Isa ). So even Nebuchadnezzar, a man of a very different character, is called by God "My servant" (Jer 43:10).

1. Some serve God when they think to oppose Him. As the gale that seems to be tearing the ship to pieces may be driving her the faster to her haven. So Satan, in Job, aiming at opposition to the right, occasioned the most glorious vindication of it. Persecutors often help the cause they hate.

2. Many, like Cyrus, serve God unconsciously. As the corn ministers to our sustenance unwittingly, and as science reveals the glory of God, even when the naturalists who pursue it are agnostics. God endows us with faculties, not that they may rust in vile repose, but to be devoted to His service. Happy are they who are enlightened to serve God consciously and willingly with the powers which they have derived unconsciously from His broad and liberal grace!

Practical conclusions:—

1. The unknown influence of God should lead to our knowing God. We have not to search the heavens for the unseen God. He is nigh us, at our right hand. Our own experience and the blessings of our own life should open our eyes to the goodness of God. Cyrus, trained in heathenism, might be forgiven if to the end he was girded only by an unknown God. Not so we, with light to interpret the providential work of God in our experience.

2. This influence, once recognised, should lead us to trust God. If God girded Cyrus the heathen, will He not gird Israel His people? If He helps those who know Him not, will He not much more aid those who seek and trust Him?

3. This influence should warn us against neglecting the recognition of God. We cannot escape from God. To do so would be our own undoing. We have deep reason for thankfulness that God has not withdrawn His hand from us while we have ignored Him. But the hand which girds can ungird!

4. This influence should prompt us to greater zeal in Mission work. For

(1.) God proves that He claims the heathen by His present influence on them.

(2.) He has begun the work and will help His servants in it.

(3.) It is sad that millions should still be left in ignorance of the hand that girds them with the strength of life.—Rev. W. F. Adeney, M.A.: Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi. pp. 204-206.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:5". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/isaiah-45.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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