by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Isaiah's God is the Holy One of Israel. In God's presence we have to be morally clean. God has chosen his Servant, who will rule in righteousness in a kingdom of peace.
"This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus whose right hand I take hold of...." (Isa. 45:1).
Cyrus founded the Persian empire. He conquered Babylon in the year 539 B.C. In the book of Daniel we know his kingdom as that "of the Medes and Persians." In the book of Ezra we read about Cyrus's decree that allowed the Jews to return to the ruins of Jerusalem. And through Isaiah we learn something about the relationship between God and Cyrus.
God calls Cyrus "my shepherd" (44:28) and even my "anointed" (45: 1). "Anointed" has the same meaning as "Messiah." It was David's title and the name of our Lord Jesus. Most of us are a little shocked when we discover that God calls the pagan emperor Cyrus his "Messiah."
God says that he helped Cyrus conquer the world "for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen." God put into Cyrus' heart the idea to reverse the policy of the Assyrians and Babylonians. Cyrus allowed the exiled tribes to resettle in their own countries. By order of Cyrus (and his successors) the remnant of the Jewish exiles returned home and rebuilt Jerusalem.
This is a very comforting revelation. God overrules the rulers of the world. The sovereign God moves the pieces on the board as a grand master in chess.
The course of history remains inscrutable to us. But we have the assurance that no upheaval in this world can ruin God's plan. Even our opponents are instruments in the Lord's hand.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version