Summary: Prophecy is brim full of the election message. See for yourself.
Isaiah is brim-full of the message we seek. Chapter one deals with Israel and the heaping of judgments on her. Yet hidden beneath the surface is the promise of God that Israel must in the end be saved, for though the country is desolate, the cities are burned, strangers devour the land, and all the rest, still there is the "remnant." Why should not Israel have become like Sodom and Gomorrah? The promise, evidenced by the remnant. Israel has a future. The theme is throughout the prophets. God will keep His word when men do not keep theirs. Even if He has to write that word in their hearts.
Chapter 10 paints the picture of Assyria. Proud, blood-thirsty, ever-victorious, Assyria, who had been used to punish Israel, is not to be spared. Her annihilation is here foretold, followed by the continuing story of the "remnant", not of Assyria, but of Israel. You see what it is like to have God's love set upon you?
The remnant will return. The remnant will depend on the Lord. How does God know? He has decreed it, and will make it happen. That's how He knows everything...
"For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?"
29:16 is the famed portrait of the potter, that Paul uses to show that we should never question God's ways. We'll deal with it in Romans.
Still have trouble believing in an "election"? Then behold, 42:1, Jesus, God's Servant in whom God delights, "My Elect One..." He then goes on to tell what His chosen One will do. These are the things in fact that God has decreed to do. Jesus did them. He only did what He saw the Father doing. And the Father only did what He said he would do, not just seven hundred years earlier in Isaiah, but before the worlds were formed. Here is Election in its perfect form. Why can we not believe that we too are elected as a part of this Grand Scheme of things?
Who can proclaim as God does (44:7)? No one.
Take Cyrus as another example. Isaiah tells of his election in chapter 45. Cyrus is appointed of God to subdue nations. For Cyrus' sake? No, "For Jacob My servant's sake and Israel my elect (4)." And for God's: "That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me(6)..." Cyrus' life is laid out before him. In Cyrus's thinking, before God made these announcements, he was just wanting to rule the world, for his own purposes.
But God, Who knew his name, let him know that God's purposes were the ones he was really working toward.
God can take any of the evil that men do, even that you do, and use it for His glory.
From the Emperor to the animals of his creation God claims to be in charge. We need to hear it (46:9-11).
"...I am God, and there is no other...declaring the end from the beginning...saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure, calling a bird of prey from the east... indeed I have spoken it."
Emperors and eagles and everything in between, a part of God's plan. And you? "You who follow after righteousness (51:1), you who seek the Lord..." You were dug out of a rock, rescued out of a pit of your own making. Yes, you had free will. Free to sin and dishonor your Father. A freedom you inherited from Eden. But only that freedom. To do good you have no inclination or ability.
I mean, "Look to Abraham... (51:2) I called him alone and blessed him and increased him." Who was Abraham before the Lord revealed Himself to him? And who were you and who was I? But he chose us in Jesus just as surely as He chose Jesus, Cyrus, and that eagle.
Isaiah 53, perhaps the most important chapter of the entire Bible, brings us back to the Chosen Servant.
53:1. Only those to whom the arm of the Lord has been revealed, believe the report.
53:2-4. Israel, and with them the world, rejects this Elect one. Chosen of God but not of men.
53:5-7. Isaiah and his people and all the other elect. The ones for whom He was wounded. Oppressed. Slaughtered.
53:8-9. Unfair trial and burial with rich, all decreed beforehand.
53:10. Not the Jews and Romans and our sins... Ultimately it was the Lord Who bruised His own Son. Grace at its apex.
53:11. Jesus will justify many. Not all. You see the elect in this also.
53:12. The decree of the coming Kingdom.
No accidents. No surprises. All is going according to plan, even to this day! Appropriate time for a review lesson(55:11):