By Pr Isaiah White
Prophet Isaiah is one of the major prophets of the Old Testament.
He is addressed as major, not because he was greater than other men of God, but because scholars classify prophets based on the volume of their works.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are major prophets.
One of his many oracles is in Isaiah 45:22-25 which says: “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the Rarth! For I am God, and there is no other.
“I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.
“He shall say, ‘Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To Him, men shall come, And all shall be ashamed Who are incensed against Him.
“In the LORD all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory’” (Isaiah 45:22-25 NKJ).
Only God saves
The first warning in this oracle is about the places where people seek for salvation.
The prophet reminds all ends of the Earth that salvation is exclusively in the Lord. The people in the days of the prophets looked at Idols for salvation and this oracle warns against turning to idols for salvation.
The sin of idolatry, or worshipping other gods, violates the Law of God. It breaks the first two of the Ten Commandments:
“I am the LORD thy God, which has brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:2-4).
It is no different today, for many have sought salvation in various places like religion, education, economy, entertainment, among others.
These are the modern idols from which people seek salvation and the oracle of the Prophet reminds us that God is the exclusive source of salvation.
There is no other source of salvation, but God alone. This same message is later echoed in the New Testament by Luke in Acts 4:12:
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under Heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
Only one God
The Jewish people had a tradition to recite what was known as the Shema.
It was traditionally recited twice a day, as part of the morning (Shacharit) and evening (Arvit or Ma’ariv) at home or wherever the Jews were.
The summary of the Shema is in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel, God is our Lord, God is one”.
The Shema in its entirety is recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4–9, Deuteronomy 11:13–21, and Numbers 15:37–41.
Apart from the Jewish Shema encapsulating the monotheistic (worship of one God) essence of Judaism, it forbids the recognition of any other power or object as God.
Prophet Isaiah, through this oracle, re-emphasizes monotheism; the oneness of God.
The prophet wants us to understand that we worship one God, regardless of what other powers can offer. God is one and there is no other.
He is the one God who has manifested in the flesh and dwelt among us for our salvation (John 1:1-3,14).
He is the very God who walked healing, preaching and teaching in the man Jesus of Nazareth (Titus 2:13).
Every knee shall bow
The main thrust of the overall oracle by the prophet is that God is the only one who can save His people, not the idols that are worshipped by nations.
Those who turn from their idols will be saved. Those who do not will be shamed.
The bottom line is; before God, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear allegiance.
The prophet wants his audience to understand that regardless of how great these idols are, the rightful object of our worship is God, our Creator and Saviour.
While there are powers that people bow to and authorities that have subjected humanity in the present, eventually even the knees of those powers and authorities will bow to this God.
The apostle Paul quotes this passage twice in his writings: firstly in Romans 14:11 and secondly in Philippians 2:10–11.
In the Roman context, Paul is writing about Christian liberty.
In both of Paul’s citations of Isaiah 45:23, he is echoing the truth that there will come a time when “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess” to the glory of God, and that is the prophecy.