1Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: 2“I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, 3I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.” —Isaiah 45:1-3
Have you been gripped by the sovereignty of God? The term sovereign means independent, and sovereignty is the attribute of God to which all other attributes submit. God is completely independent—He is supreme, the Ruler of all. He has both the capacity and control to accomplish His will in all things. Beginning with Isaiah 45:1, bring your frail understanding of God before the truth of His Word. Allow His truth to shape your thinking and inform you about who He truly is.
Let’s start with some historical background: “Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus.” Cyrus was the third world-class ruler who Daniel the prophet served under. When Daniel was in his eighties, Cyrus, a Persian, brought his own nation and the Medes together. Their armies defeated the Babylonian Empire on October 12, 539 BC. When Cyrus began to rule, he essentially announced, “Things are going to be different. I am going to be a gracious leader.” He presented himself as a savior and deliverer.
Then Cyrus decreed all exiled peoples displaced by the Babylonians could go back to their homelands. So 50,000 Jews left the nation of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem. That is very significant. Without that release, it’s doubtful there would be a nation of Israel today, or would have been in Christ’s day. So much of all God wanted to do in bringing the Messiah into the world hinged on this pagan king Cyrus. That’s why, in verse 1, although he didn’t know God or submit to God in any way, God still called Cyrus His anointed.
Now, consider this—150 years before these events happened, God revealed them to Isaiah. Then Isaiah declared them as prophecy, right down to the very name of the ruler God would raise up.
Loved one, God is completely sovereign and entirely in control. When He wants to get something done, God can even reach down into the life of a person who hates Him, and put him in a position to accomplish His will and purposes in this world.
In verses 4-5, the Lord continues regarding Cyrus, “I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.”
Now that’s the sovereignty of God and His rulership in this world! If God could use the life of a king who may never have embraced Him by faith, how much more could He sovereignly work through you?
- What historical events do you consider as evidence of God's sovereign control?
- What events in your own life are evidence of His sovereignty?
Father, You knew Cyrus’ name and You knew mine, long before either of us showed up on earth. Thank You for making Yourself known to me. Thank You for Your grace shown in opening my eyes and heart to the Gospel! May my life today be an authentic reflection of the gripping truth that You are sovereign over all! In Jesus’ name, amen.