by Peter G. Feenstra
“Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, And let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; Let us come near together for judgment. Isaiah 41:1
1 Corinthians 15:20–28
The Lord summons the nations to draw near to hear an answer to the question: Who controls the course of history? He orders the nations to come before Him in silence, without uttering a word. Immediately the Lord God challenges the strength of the nations. On many occasions the nations defied the Lord. They were on a power trip. But now the Lord calls them to task and challenges them to demonstrate their might. The nations may muster all their power together, and even unite forces, but they will not be able to stand before the Lord when He appears in the splendour of His majesty.
The nations of the world act as though they are in control of the political scene. They figure the country that makes the best use of its military strength will become the greatest superpower. But the Lord reveals some shocking news. The unthinkable is about to happen. In a far and distant land there is a tribe of farmers, unknown and insignificant and certainly not the type of people you would expect to rule. A strong and energetic leader will come forth from this people to be their ruler. In a very short time he will unite a number of tribes and they will go out “conquering and to conquer.” His name is Cyrus.
The Lord makes clear that the nations of the world do not determine their own destiny. They are microscopic beings before Almighty God. In His hearing with the nations God says, “I the Lord, am the first.” Not only are current events in His hands but all of history is under His control. God is the director of human history. The Lord, who is the first, was there before time was created; He was there before any calendars were made or needed. Our covenant God writes history with His own hand. Even though world history appears to be a mumble-jumble of disjointed events, the Lord declares Himself to be the first. Each page of history indicates that the Lord is true to Himself. All things happen for the sake of the Lord’s glory and for the salvation of His church. Babylon came to power to punish unbelief. Cyrus is made victorious so that the people of God can return to the Promised Land. Today, too, the reins of history are not in the hands of world leaders or any other human being. Our covenant God rules the world through His Son. We are heading to the final and ultimate court session—when Jesus will judge the living and the dead. At that time all things will be brought into submission under His rule and government.For further information about this resource, click here.