(25 verses, 3:20 to read)
What I am about to READ
God chooses Cyrus to deliver his people, though Cyrus knows not the God whose bidding he does. God graciously invites his people to trust in his deliverance through his gracious promises.
MARK and LEARN
Cyrus II was the king of Persia who conquered Babylon in 539 BC. He graciously issued a decree that those Hebrew captives living in Babylon could return to their homeland and rebuild the temple that was destroyed. Amazingly, through the prophet Isaiah God tells the name of his “shepherd” Cyrus well over one-hundred years before his birth, as well as what he would do when Babylon was conquered.
Cyrus was no Hebrew. Most likely, he was devoted to the pantheon of gods favored by ancient Persians. Nevertheless, God uses him as his chosen instrument, his shepherd to deliver his people from the bondage of Babylon. Just as Moses was God’s chosen to deliver his people from Egypt, so God chooses Cyrus to deliver his people from Babylon.
Certainly this chapter speaks concerning God’s omnipotence (lit: all powerful). World events, though evil in our sight and even contrary to God’s express commands are nevertheless still within the scope of God’s will. Though this is difficult to grasp for us sinful men, this teaching nevertheless points to our weakness and inability to know “the hidden God” as in verse 15 “truly you are a God who hides himself”. That is to say, he is often beyond our understanding, as in God using a pagan king to deliver his people.
Though we may not know what God’s eternal will, we can know what he has revealed to us. The end of the chapter, vss 14-25 while acknowledging the hidden will of God, point us to the revealed will of God in his promises to his people. These axis of these promises are the coming redemption and deliverance not only from earthly bondage, but indeed from everlasting death “But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation” (vs. 17) and “in the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.” (vs. 25).
Heavenly Father, we do not often know your will for our lives. But we do know that you care for us so that even our hairs are numbered. You reveal to us your mercy in your Son our Lord Jesus, who has endured what we deserved and given to us what did not deserve. That is what you want for us. If that is what you wish for us, how can you not graciously give us all things good for our bodies and souls? Teach us to pray as our Lord, nevertheless not my will, but thy will be done. Amen.
Pr. Brandon Ross