Day 212: God's Instrument

Isaiah 45:1-13 Cyrus, King of Persia, was a special instrument for the fulfillment of God’s plan to return the Jewish people to their homeland. His conquest of Babylon and the liberation of the deported Jews were so vital that he was called the Lord’s “anointed,” a word normally reserved for prophets and Kings of Israel. God is at liberty to use even nonbelievers to accomplish his will. Some of the Church Fathers saw Cyrus as a type of Christ (TYPOLOGY!!), who received the fullness of anointing by the Spirit in order to save all people from sin. (CCC 436)

Ch 45:3-6 God calls each of us by name, inviting us to know him, to love him, and to share in his divine life. (CCC 2591)

Ch 45:5-8 After the sin of our first parents, the gates of Heaven were barred until the Redemption of the human race was accomplished by the Death and Resurrection of Christ. (CCC 304, 2794-2795)

Ch 45:6-7 I am the Lord...these things: Some ancient faiths (some of which still exist in one form or another) believed in duel deities or universal principles, one good and the other evil. Among these was Zoroastrianism, which developed in Persia around the sixth century BC. These verses affirm that there is only one God, who is not the cause of evil but permits the misuse of free will expressed in evil deeds. There is no other god or evil principle that is responsible for evil as was taught by these ancient philosophies and religions. (CCC 415, 1733)

Ch 45:14-24 There is but one God, the God of Israel. Therefore, in him only is there salvation and everlasting life. 

Every knee...shall swear: Paul paraphrases this verse in his Epistle to the Philippians (2:10-11). St. John Paul II stated, “The invitation to adore and the offer of salvation is directed to all peoples,” which gives “a universal dimension [that] speaks in the name of those who have not yet had the grace to know Christ” (General Audience, October 31, 2001)

Ch 45:15 Truly, you are...hide yourself: When Moses asked God for his name, God’s answer was at once ambiguous and revealing: “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:14). God’s answer to Moses gave the people of Israel a way to refer to him (although they would never dare to speak his name) and thus to know him more personally. God’s name signifies his absolute transcendence and infinite perfection, a God who cannot be described adequately in limited human language and understanding. A third-century BC Greek translation renders this, “Thou art God and we did not know it,” which some Father of the Church interpreted as a hint of the divinity of Christ. (CCC 206)

Ch 45:22-24 The fundamental message of the prophets in the Old Testament as well as that of John the Baptist in the New Testament was the urgency of repentance and conversion. (CCC 201)

Ch 46:1-13 While the lifeless pagan idols were brought from place to place, the faithful of Israel were carried by God from the first moment of life in their mothers’ wombs to their natural death. 

Ezekiel 6:1-14 These verses make mention that, from a certain vantage point in Babylon, the mountains in the Promised Land were in view. The sight of the mountains represented all that the Jews had lost and offered them a consolation in their exile. Many of these mountains and other “high places” also served as sites for pagan worship and idolatry in which many Jews had participated, for which they were subsequently punished. Only a mere remnant of the people would remain after the judgment had been carried out.

Clap your hands, and stamp your foot: Such signs of joy on the part of the exiles led them to understand that the exile was ultimately a purification intended to lead them to spiritual renewal. (CCC 1502, 1505)

Ch 7:1-13 The judgment day, from which no one would escape, was near. This reference was not to the Final Judgment; rather, it was to the imminent attack by the Babylonians. 

Blossomed...budded: He compared the budding of pride and wickedness with the budding of a tree, indicating that the people had to take full responsibility for their transgressions and face the consequences.

Ch 7:14-27 Not only would the siege bring catastrophe to Judah but also it would result in the utter shame of defeat.

Knees weak as water: Every survivor would be overwhelmed by fear.

Baldness: Hair loss in men was seen as a sign of shame or disfavor with God. 

Ch 7:27 Given the corruption among influential civic and religious officials, the people would be deprived of effective leadership. 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much. Thank you for giving us your Word. Thank you for speaking to us. Thank you for showing your heart to us this day and every day. Thank you for bringing us to Day 212. Lord God, I am so grateful for you and your love and your faithfulness, even when we are far from faithful, even when we are far from perfect. You just bring us back. You bring us back to pressing play. You bring us back to this opportunity to just simply listen to your Word proclaimed. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for not giving up on us and help us always to never ever give up on you or your Grace. Help us to hear your commands. Help us to hear your voice and say yes to you with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”