“Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.
What is it that we are told to remember? Remember means to recall to mind or think about. It has been said that the best way through a problem is to think about God, recalling who He is and what He has done.
Isaiah says to remember. Then he says to “fix it in mind.”
How is that different from “remember?”
“Fix it in mind” means to be firm. Isaiah adds one more command, “take it to heart.” This means to give it serious thought. What does it mean to us to have one sentence with all three of these phrases in it?
The emphasis that is made seems to be on that is quite clear. “This is important!!!”
The phrase “you rebels” is added as a reminder to those of us who have resisted God and His ways. It seems like an effort to say, really, you need to hear this.
Verse 9 instructs us to remember the former things. What was this referring to? It is referring to all the things God has done over the years. Then, as if God needs to remind us, that He is the only God.
“Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me,
God in the fullness of His Divine attributes. He is the only. He is unique.
In verse 9, God’s omnipotence is declared. He is all powerful.
We see in verse 10 that God makes known the beginning and what is to come.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.
He declares His omniscience. He is all knowing.
These both are statements of the sovereignty of God.
Then we have another declaration: “My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please.”
The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.
The purpose of God is carried out and fulfilled in all of His actions. Matthew Henry wrote, “None of His measures shall be broken, none of His designs shall miscarry.”
Then in verse 11, we see a statement that kind of makes us scratch our head.
From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.
This is actually a prophetic statement that is also found in Isaiah 41 and also specifically in Jeremiah 49:22.
“Bird of prey” refers to a bird like an eagle, which was the symbol of the Assyrian god Nisroch and it referred to Cyrus, the great king of Babylon. This was the prophecy of the coming judgement. By the way, when Isaiah spoke this, Babylon was not yet a great power. It shows us that God is in charge even of the pending doom that was to come against those who did not follow Him.
Some believe that Jesus spoke of this when He said in Matthew 24:28:
Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
God is reiterating in this verse 11 that He is a God of His word. “What I have planned, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”
Verse 12, God gives one more plea.
Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness.
I know as a son, I have had times where my mother and my father pleaded with me to listen to them. God, the Father, is pleading with people who are not following His ways to turn to Him and miss this pending doom.
We tend to be a bunch that is indeed “stubborn-hearted.”
“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!
These are the people that have made a god in their own image instead of believing that God has made them in His image.
He describes them as those “who are far from righteousness.”
So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
“See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous will live by his faith—
Isn’t interesting how some things never change? These words were written thousands of years ago and they seem more real than ever.
When God reveals a problem with his people, He always gives a remedy. In this passage, the remedy comes is verse 13:
I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.
What is righteousness? It is that which is right with God.
God is bringing His righteousness near.
But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
God declares that His righteousness is found in this remedy He provides for us.
God’s will always works out for His people. His will is His righteousness, His salvation, and His splendor.
So what does these verses mean for us today:
God has been at work and He still is at work.
God is in control.
I need to line myself up with God and His purpose and not try to line God up with my purpose.
As a rebel and one that tends to be stubborn-hearted, I need to remember, fix it in my mind, and take it to heart that God’s will is best for me.
God’s desire and design for my life is to follow His purposes and therefore I should trust Him completely.