6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: The overall Living Message is: Love hurts

Isa 45:1-7

Title: Living Messages

What are the Living Messages of this lesson in ancient history?

Three fields:

1. God uses someone you would least expect to be an instrument of God

- Cyrus, Persian Emperor

- Occupier, Representative of the evil power of the time

- Non-Believer

- Iranian Terrorist

- Ahmadinejad

- God picks the evil one to help him

The Living Message here is:

- Not just a good God

- Disappointing for those suffering from a deep desire for harmony

- In God’s world struggle is inevitable

- Yesterday I blessed a marriage of a young couple

- Maybe you will meet them next week

- they told me he needs to be straightened out by her

- they faced hardships and they will again

- other relationships faded away or ended altogether

- in God’s world it’s not all just peace, love and harmony but especially in times of trial God is at work

2. God works in history

- at least once a week especially in this election season, someone tells me: We don’t wanna talk politics in church.

- Sorry we have to, because the Bible is packed with history and politics

- God spoke to his people through prophets like Isaiah

- they won’t listen

- then Israel had to learn their lesson the hard way

- Prophets have always raised social issues, like Isaiah: "learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow."

- they did not, that is why god send powers from the east to destroy the holy land and its temple

- God has an impact in this world’s history and of course its political leadership

- Believe it or not: God is still speaking to the leadership of this world.

- God is still speaking in history and all the smaller stories of our lives

- Whatever goes on, happens in God, not independent from him

The Living Message here is:

- What happens to us, happens to our God

- Sickness, Violence, Harm, hurt feelings, betrayal, unfaithfulness

- The newly-blessed couple promised to love and sustain one another in the covenant of marriage, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, as long as they both shall live.

- They may be young of age, but they have really come a long way in their lives

- They understood that their life is a blessing from God and they wanted to have a specific blessing for this part of their life

- God cares: for the big history and for each and every tiny step in our careers, relationships and everyday lives

3. God makes himself known to his people

- The Exile was tough for God’s people

- They lost their homes, their lives, their temple, their faith

- Cyrus, was not just the Emperor of the oppressing power from the east but also a Messiah of the God of Israel

- The Kings of Israel were called messiah, because they were anointed with oil, Cyrus is the only foreigner to obtain this title in the Bible

- Edict of Restoration: In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a 2 written edict declared: 3Any of those among you who are of his people—may their God be with them! —are now permitted to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem; 4and let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be assisted by the people of their place with silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.”

- God needed a fresh start with his people to make himself known

- the ups and downs of history teach God’s people that he wants to stay in touch

- So Israel learns about God

- God has got all the power on earth and in heaven. The so-called god of Persia had no lasting power of the true God’s people

- There is no other god beside him.

The Living Message here is:

- Our God is the one who intents light and weal

- "I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things."

- His love is neither cheap nor easy to handle. God’s love is serious.

- He shows commitment to his beloved ones by all means, even if we do not understand

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