Archive for July, 2017

You could be forgiven for thinking that Cyrus was a Jew favoured by God as you read through the opening sentences of chapter 45. Isaiah writes, “This is what the Lord says to His anointed Cyrus…” But Cyrus wasn’t a Jew he was a gentile King from the Elamite region who God had decided was going to be used to conquer Babylon. The Elamites had been Israel’s enemy for generations. The prophecy Isaiah was given to impart to the Jewish people would have come as a real shock. Their God (the one they’d been ignoring for so long) was going to use a foreigner to achieve his ends. For God to refer to Cyrus as “His anointed” would have been a real wake up call. It’s rather like saying, ‘there is not one among you who is of sufficient standing or faith that I can use so I’m going to exercise my power in another way.’ It’s an incredible demonstration of the power that God has. He is able to use all circumstances and individuals to work out His purposes.

Repeatedly in the Old Testament we see the same thing happening. The people didn’t seem able to put their trust in a God they couldn’t see so like all the other nations around them they made idols and worshipped them instead. The problem with that was quite simply that those idols had no life in them and where there is no life there is no power. Belief in an idol or even making space for one will always fail to produce any good fruit.

On this occasion God used an outsider, Cyrus, as a kind of messiah figure. This is the only time that the term ‘anointed’ is used in reference to a gentile in the Bible. God demonstrated that He was prepared to do whatever was necessary to win back His chosen people. So He placed His anointing upon Cyrus and he became an irresistible conqueror as Jesus did in the New Testament. Ultimately Cyrus became the restorer of Jerusalem as is Jesus (see Revelation 19:19-21).

Thinking about our own modern culture it would be easy to imagine that God has abandoned us and that there is no longer any hope for the church or the lost. But if you consider carefully the things that are happening in the world you have to wonder if He hasn’t got another Cyrus waiting in the wings to turn the people back to Jesus. Perhaps even another non-believer who God will use to bring the people into glory.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lord God let us not be people who lose faith. Keep us in your presence always. Amen.

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