The Kingdom of God and a Captive People
When Isaiah of the Exile writes in about 545 b.c. nothing has yet really happened to change Israel’s situation. Yes, Cyrus the Persian is advancing, but Babylon’s empire still reigns. Even when Isaiah’s prophecies are fulfilled and Persia allows some of the exiles to return to Jerusalem, it’s not as an independent kingdom but only as a small sub-province within the Persian empire.
God pushed Israel to deal with the paradox of human power. As a kingdom, Israel had failed. Even David was not great on policies, but on knowing God as God. Corruption, injustice, idolatry became so ingrained that God abandoned Jerusalem. Now God awakens Jerusalem to beauty and captivity. Isaiah announces a new Exodus: Knowing God. God reigns as king. God intervenes.
God is king over all nations! Yes, but Israel wanted that to mean Israel is a powerful, independent empire of its own. How can God be king if He and his people don’t rule over surrounding powers.