By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.
Throughout Isaiah 45, the Lord has proclaimed his uniqueness. He alone is the Lord. He alone is the righteous God and Savior. Yet his saving work will include more than just Israel. “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (45:22). In fact, God has sworn by his own sacred name that “Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear” (45:23). One day, the only true God will be acknowledged by all people.
The uniqueness of the one true God is central to the Old Testament witness. Monotheism set Israel apart from its pagan neighbors. And this conviction of one God carried over into early Christian theology, though with a curious twist, as you’ll see below.
An echo of Isaiah 45:23 appears in the New Testament in a most striking setting. In Philippians 2, Jesus Christ empties himself and becomes human, even choosing the humiliation of the cross. What is the result of Jesus’ self-sacrifice?
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)
How amazing! In light of Jesus’s incarnation and death, God the Father raised him to the highest place, giving him the sacred divine name, and allowing him to receive the worship of the world. Jesus is, in the mystery of the Trinity, the Son who rightly receives the honor God claimed for himself in Isaiah 45.
We worship the triune God through bowing before him, offering our whole lives to him in humble worship. This worship happens not just in church, but in the world, as we serve the Lord each day, at work and at home, in our jobs and our hobbies, among our neighbors and our friends. Moreover, when we proclaim Jesus as Lord, we implicitly acknowledge that we are his servants, that his authority and glory should guide everything we do.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you “bend the knee” before Jesus, offering yourself to him in submission and worship?
Do you confess him as Lord?
Is he your Lord at work? When you’re out with your friends? When you’re figuring out the family budget? When you’re dreaming of your future?
Gracious God, it is my honor and privilege to bow before you, to offer you all that I am. I belong to you: heart, soul, mind, and strength. My life is yours, to do with as you will.
Mighty God and Savior, it is my honor and privilege to confess you as Lord, to proclaim in worship and before the world your majesty and glory. You are Lord of heaven and earth. And you are Lord over me. May I live each moment with you as Lord, seeking to serve you and share in your work on earth.
Lord Jesus Christ, today I honor you as God. Recognizing the wonder of your humiliation and sacrifice, I offer myself to you in grateful awe. May I live this day, and every day, for your purposes and glory. Hallelujah! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Do Your Work in a Worthy Manner (Philippians 1:27–2:11)
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