Summary: Exposition 45
God’s Surprising Strategies
God’s Ways Are Higher vs. 1-8
Overcoming Our Arrogance vs. 9-13
God’s Invitation to vs. 14-25
Intro: Evil leaders God has used
Pastor's wives appreciation Ceremony
God has a history of using World Leaders to accomplish his will, especially with Israel
He used the Roman Empire’s occupation to build roads that would pave the way for the Gospel
He used British Empire to spread the Gospel to every corner of the earth
He used Hitler’s attempted annihilation of the Jews to bring about the reestablishment of the country of Israel
Proverbs 21:2 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Today we see him foretell the use of a Persian king Named Cyrus to bring Isreal back from Babylon
What makes this so unique is that God calls this guy by name 150 years before it happens
God can work in and through others in very unexpected ways.
As Christians we have to be open for how He wants to work in our lives
We need to realize that His ways are higher than our, Our arrogance can get in the way, and
Read Isaiah 45:1-5
One of the criticisms against the Bible is the prophecy is too specific
First, God uses strategies that are surprising to us
Secondly, God warns us not to take offense at that.
Thirdly, God calls us to embrace him as God.
Isaiah wants to help us accept God not as the God we expect but as the God who does things his own way
God’s Ways Are Higher vs. 1-8
Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus:
His anointed means that Cyrus had a particular anointing from God for his work.
God poured out His Spirit on a pagan king, because God wanted to use that man to bless and deliver His people
Vs. 44:28 God calls this pagan politician “my shepherd” and speaks to him as an “anointed” messiah-figure.
Shepherd and Anointed One were titles of the royal line of David.
Now God is transferring those titles over to a Gentile conqueror
In his mastery of all things, God uses whatever persons and methods he wants to, whether we like them or not
As the Creator, God is free to interrupt the processes of history and bend events any way he wants them to go
God can hit rewind, fast-forward, whatever he wants, no matter what anyone else says
God plans to raise up Cyrus the Great, the Persian conqueror, to defeat Babylon, set the Jewish people free, and send them home to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple
Whatever God does, he is taking us more deeply into his love, and he asks us to trust him enough not to take offense but to follow him.
Cyrus didn’t even know the LORD, yet God could anoint him, guide him, bless him, and use him.
How much more should God be able to do through those who have at least a mustard seed’s worth of faith in Him!
Vs. 1d-2 To open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut . . . I will break in pieces the gates of bronze:
The armies of the Medes and Persians, under Cyrus, conquered the city of Babylon in a remarkable raid described in Daniel 5.
According to the ancient historian Herodotus, while King Belshazzar of Babylon held a reckless party, Cyrus conquered the city by diverting the flow of the Euphrates into a nearby swamp; thus lowering the level of the river so his troops could march through the water and under the river-gates.
But they still would not have been able to enter, had not the bronze gates of the inner walls been left inexplicably unlocked.
God opened the gates of the city of Babylon for Cyrus, and put it in writing 200 years before it happened!
On the night Babylon fell, Cyrus probably had no great sense of the LORD’s guidance or presence. He probably thought himself both brilliant and lucky.
Often we succeed in something only by the blessing and pleasure of God, and never see the miraculous hand of God behind it all.
Vs. 4 For Jacob My servant’s sake:
Cyrus would like to think that God picked him because he was the smartest or most talented or strongest man available. Really, God’s focus was on His people.
“Cyrus is preferred in order that Israel might be released. Cyrus shall have a kingdom, but only in order that God’s people may have their liberty.
The Lord raises up one, and He puts down another.
Behind all the drama of human events today there is a God who is planning for His church - through affliction and persecution, chastening and tribulation - to be perfected and prepared to inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Redpath)