I was raised in a Christian home by amazing parents. We went to an Adventist Church and my brother and I attended Adventist schools. My Dad taught my Sabbath school class when I was a teenager. This didn’t mean that faith came particularly easy for me however. When I was in high school I began asking big questions. What should I do with my life? Was God real? What if the Bible and the stories it contained were just made up? I began a process of investigation to determine if the faith context that I’d been reared in was legitimate. Was this story going to be my story or would I have to look elsewhere for one that would guide my life?
One of the things that most appealed to me as actual, substantial evidence in favor of the Bible was the amount and quality of the predictive prophecy it contained. There were so many places in which the Bible writers articulated in advance specific, measurable outcomes and then these came to pass. These aren’t just the verses that anticipate and speak about Jesus and His life. Rather, it became clear that speaking with clarity about the future was part of the ethos of the Bible. These prophecies are sprinkled throughout the book. For instance, in Isaiah 45:1-7 there is a foretelling of a man named Cyrus who will enter through gates and doors that should have been shut. Cyrus, the Scripture says, was called by name even though he did not know God. This, I came to find out, was a literal description of the way in which King Cyrus entered through the inexplicably open gates into the ancient city of Babylon to capture it in the time of Daniel. However, what really stunned me was when I came to learn that this passage was written approximately 150 years before Cyrus was even born. Josephus, the Jewish historian, recorded that during Cyrus’ lifetime, Cyrus became aware of the prophecies concerning himself in the book of Isaiah. Amazing!
When it became clear to me that the Bible was no ordinary book, it began giving me confidence that I could trust it and ultimately God. If God can call out by name what a person who will not be born for 150 years is going to do, then maybe He knows enough that I can trust him with my life too.
is the husband of a beautiful and caring Canadian woman and the father of two curious, energetic and thoughtful boys. They love spending time outdoors and are trying to see 500 species of birds this year.
Cyrus, God’s Instrument
1 “Thus says the LORD to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
2 “I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the LORD,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
7 I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the LORD, do all these things.’
8 “Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the LORD, have created it.
9 “Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, “What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
10 Woe to him who says to his father, “What are you begetting?’
Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ”
11 Thus says the LORD,
The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
12 I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded.
13 I have raised him up in righteousness,
And I will direct all his ways;
He shall build My city
And let My exiles go free,
Not for price nor reward,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
The Lord, the Only Savior
Is. 45:14 Thus says the LORD:
“The labor of Egypt and merchandise of Cush
And of the Sabeans, men of stature,
Shall come over to you, and they shall be yours;
They shall walk behind you,
They shall come over in chains;
And they shall bow down to you.
They will make supplication to you, saying, ‘Surely God is in you,
And there is no other;
There is no other God.’ ”
15 Truly You are God, who hide Yourself,
O God of Israel, the Savior!
16 They shall be ashamed
And also disgraced, all of them;
They shall go in confusion together,
Who are makers of idols.
17 But Israel shall be saved by the LORD
With an everlasting salvation;
You shall not be ashamed or disgraced
Forever and ever.
18 For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
“Seek Me in vain’;
I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.
20 “Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
21 Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.
22 “Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 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.
24 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.
25 In the LORD all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory.’ ”
Dead Idols and the Living God
1 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops;
Their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle.
Your carriages were heavily loaded,
A burden to the weary beast.
2 They stoop, they bow down together;
They could not deliver the burden,
But have themselves gone into captivity.
3 “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been upheld by Me from birth,
Who have been carried from the womb:
4 Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.
5 “To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal
And compare Me, that we should be alike?
6 They lavish gold out of the bag,
And weigh silver on the scales;
They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god;
They prostrate themselves, yes, they worship.
7 They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it
And set it in its place, and it stands;
From its place it shall not move.
Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer
Nor save him out of his trouble.
8 “Remember this, and show yourselves men;
Recall to mind, O you transgressors.
9 Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, “My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it.
12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted,
Who are far from righteousness:
13 I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off;
My salvation shall not linger.
And I will place salvation in Zion,
For Israel My glory.
The Humiliation of Babylon
1 “Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
Sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called
Tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones and grind meal.
Remove your veil,
Take off the skirt,
Uncover the thigh,
Pass through the rivers.
3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
Yes, your shame will be seen;
I will take vengeance,
And I will not arbitrate with a man.”
4 As for our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name,
The Holy One of Israel.
5 “Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
O daughter of the Chaldeans;
For you shall no longer be called
The Lady of Kingdoms.
6 I was angry with My people;
I have profaned My inheritance,
And given them into your hand.
You showed them no mercy;
On the elderly you laid your yoke very heavily.
7 And you said, “I shall be a lady forever,’
So that you did not take these things to heart,
Nor remember the latter end of them.
8 “Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures,
Who dwell securely,
Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow,
Nor shall I know the loss of children’;
9 But these two things shall come to you
In a moment, in one day:
The loss of children, and widowhood.
They shall come upon you in their fullness
Because of the multitude of your sorceries,
For the great abundance of your enchantments.
10 “For you have trusted in your wickedness;
You have said, “No one sees me’;
Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you;
And you have said in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’
11 Therefore evil shall come upon you;
You shall not know from where it arises.
And trouble shall fall upon you;
You will not be able to put it off.
And desolation shall come upon you suddenly,
Which you shall not know.
12 “Stand now with your enchantments
And the multitude of your sorceries,
In which you have labored from your youth—
Perhaps you will be able to profit,
Perhaps you will prevail.
13 You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels;
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
And the monthly prognosticators
Stand up and save you
From what shall come upon you.
14 Behold, they shall be as stubble,
The fire shall burn them;
They shall not deliver themselves
From the power of the flame;
It shall not be a coal to be warmed by,
Nor a fire to sit before!
15 Thus shall they be to you
With whom you have labored,
Your merchants from your youth;
They shall wander each one to his quarter.
No one shall save you.
Israel Refined for God’s Glory
1 “Hear this, O house of Jacob,
Who are called by the name of Israel,
And have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah;
Who swear by the name of the LORD,
And make mention of the God of Israel,
But not in truth or in righteousness;
2 For they call themselves after the holy city,
And lean on the God of Israel;
The LORD of hosts is His name:
3 “I have declared the former things from the beginning;
They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it.
Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4 Because I knew that you were obstinate,
And your neck was an iron sinew,
And your brow bronze,
5 Even from the beginning I have declared it to you;
Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you,
Lest you should say, “My idol has done them,
And my carved image and my molded image
Have commanded them.’
6 “You have heard;
See all this.
And will you not declare it?
I have made you hear new things from this time,
Even hidden things, and you did not know them.
7 They are created now and not from the beginning;
And before this day you have not heard them,
Lest you should say, “Of course I knew them.’
8 Surely you did not hear,
Surely you did not know;
Surely from long ago your ear was not opened.
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
And were called a transgressor from the womb.
9 “For My name’s sake I will defer My anger,
And for My praise I will restrain it from you,
So that I do not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.
12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob,
And Israel, My called:
I am He, I am the First,
I am also the Last.
13 Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth,
And My right hand has stretched out the heavens;
When I call to them,
They stand up together.
14 “All of you, assemble yourselves, and hear!
Who among them has declared these things?
The LORD loves him;
He shall do His pleasure on Babylon,
And His arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken;
Yes, I have called him,
I have brought him, and his way will prosper.
16 “Come near to Me, hear this:
I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
From the time that it was, I was there.
And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit
Have sent Me.”
17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.”
20 Go forth from Babylon!
Flee from the Chaldeans!
With a voice of singing,
Declare, proclaim this,
Utter it to the end of the earth;
Say, “The LORD has redeemed
His servant Jacob!”
21 And they did not thirst
When He led them through the deserts;
He caused the waters to flow from the rock for them;
He also split the rock, and the waters gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”
33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.
41 Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD—
Your salvation according to Your word.
42 So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I have hoped in Your ordinances.
44 So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
45 And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
46 I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings,
And will not be ashamed.
47 And I will delight myself in Your commandments,
Which I love.
48 My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments,
Which I love,
And I will meditate on Your statutes.
49 Remember the word to Your servant,
Upon which You have caused me to hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
For Your word has given me life.
51 The proud have me in great derision,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
52 I remembered Your judgments of old, O LORD,
And have comforted myself.
53 Indignation has taken hold of me
Because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.
54 Your statutes have been my songs
In the house of my pilgrimage.
55 I remember Your name in the night, O LORD,
And I keep Your law.
56 This has become mine,
Because I kept Your precepts.
57 You are my portion, O LORD;
I have said that I would keep Your words.
58 I entreated Your favor with my whole heart;
Be merciful to me according to Your word.
59 I thought about my ways,
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
60 I made haste, and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
61 The cords of the wicked have bound me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.
62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.
63 I am a companion of all who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of Your mercy;
Teach me Your statutes.