Summary: PENTECOST 22 / REFORMATION(A)- Our Lord controls His-story so that no matter who is the leader they will follow God’s will.
OUR LORD CONTROLS HIS-STORY
ISAIAH 45:1-7 -- October 31, 2004 –REFORMATION/1st SUNDAY OF END TIME
1 "This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
4For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. 5I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.
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Dearest Fellow Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
The days in which we live are always exciting times. And yet also in the days in which we live, sometimes, they seem to be frightening times. In our day and age we don’t have to wait for the six o’clock news or the five o’clock news. There is news on 24 hours a day, on television, on the radio, and even in print. Today, every day you and I know quite a bit more than we used to about things that are happening throughout the world. And sometimes those things seem to us to be terrifying. There are famines, there are droughts, there are wars and pestilence -- and the list goes on. It may make us wonder if we have any control at all. Today you and I stand again on the verge of a national election, wondering if we have any control in that process, if our vote really counts. So it seems that from time to time we might throw up our hands in despair. It seems as if we have no control at all in the great events of this world or even maybe sometimes in our own lives. Well the Lord reminds us this morning that he controls his-story. In other words the Lord controls history. For no matter what happens around us, no matter what men may even do to us, the Lord reminds us in the book of Hebrews, ”So we say with confidence, ’The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (HEBREWS 13:6). This is exactly what we are going to study in these words of Isaiah this morning.
OUR LORD CONTROLS HIS-STORY.
Isaiah reminds us: I. no matter who is the leader
II. they will follow God’s will.
I. No matter who is the leader
Now to better understand today’s text we will want to know the historical setting of this text. Our text began by saying: this is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus. Cyrus was to become a great Persian King. Cyrus was not a Jewish believer but an unbeliever. And yet the Lord says through Isaiah that Cyrus is going to be his anointed. Cyrus as the leader of the great nation of Persia was going to help the children of Israel. At this time the nation of God’s chosen were divided into two kingdoms: the northern kingdom, known as Israel and the southern kingdom known as Judah. There is a purpose for that. The Assyrians had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and they had been carted off as slaves. The fact is to this day no one knows what happened to them. The Assyrians did not come and conquer Judah because they could not. The Lord would not allow it.
But the next great world kingdom would conquer Judah. The Babylonians would come and carry off the tribes of Judah, the southern kingdom. From that line of Judah is going to come the Savior. Judah is not going to be kept captive in Babylon forever. Cyrus, an unbelieving king, becomes leader of a great nation, the defeater of Babylon. This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut. All this was you have to remember, going to happen in two kingdoms away. Isaiah was talking about a kingdom that currently had little power. Cyrus and Persia were not even considered a threat to Judah or to anyone else. But the nation of Judah, the believers there, knew that Assyria was great. Then the Babylonians became even greater. So they listened with great interest to these words of Isaiah’s prophecy.