Who’s Calling the Shots?
Almighty God, I bow before You today acknowledging that You are the One who is in control of all things.
Read Isaiah 45:1-8
 “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:  I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.  I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.  For 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.  I 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,  so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.  I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.  “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat are God's purposes here? How does he use Cyrus?
King Cyrus bursts onto the stage of history like a tornado, sweeping away everything that lies in his path. Or does he? Here, the Lord addresses Cyrus and states clearly that it is he, the Lord, who supports Cyrus and gives him success (1-3). But there is something very strange about this “conversation.” It is so one-way. The Persian king has not acknowledged the Lord (4b,5b). In fact, there is no historical evidence that Cyrus ever acknowledged God. So at one level it might seem that Cyrus is having it all his own way. While the Lord breaks down the gates and opens up the treasure houses, Cyrus makes off with all the spoils (2,3). The Lord bestows his favor on Cyrus but receives no thanks in return. Yet there is no resentment here. In the bigger picture, Cyrus has his own palace, he will build the palace for the Lord (44:28); though Cyrus receives the plaudits, his actions serve the Lord’s servant, Israel (4). In the end Cyrus will be a footnote in history, but the Lord will be history’s main theme (6). Light and darkness, prosperity and disaster–everything ultimately serves the purposes of God (7,8).
Spend some time reflecting on 1 John 3:1-3. Then, give God thanks and worship based on what you’ve read.
Lord, I know that You are at the center of all, but I also know how very much You love me.