The God of the Past is the God of Our Future
By Brenda Black
“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 though bars of iron. I 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 calls you by name.” (Isaiah. 45:1-3)
Cyrus was a Gentile King anointed by God. But did you know these words from Scripture were penned by Isaiah 150 years in advance of Cyrus before he ever existed! Look it up in history.
The king of Persia is mentioned twenty-two times in the Old Testament, proof in itself that he was a key figure in Judah's history. When Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian regime in 539 B.C., he was disposed quite favorably toward the Jews. The book of Ezra makes his loyalty clear in chapter 1, verses 1 and 2.
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and he also put it in writing, saying, 'Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, Jehovah, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.'”
Author Wayne Jackson, M.A., writes for the Apologetic Press:
“Exactly how the Lord 'stirred up the spirit' of the Persian ruler no one is able to say precisely. That God is able to operate in international affairs – to effect His sovereign will – is certain (Daniel 2:21; 4:17), but how he accomplishes these things, using seemingly natural means, remains a mystery. But there is an interesting possibility. Josephus, the famous Hebrew historian who had access to historical records long since lost, stated that Cyrus was exposed to the prophecies of Isaiah (44:26-45:7), who, more than 150 years earlier, had called the Persian monarch by name, and had announced his noble role in releasing the Hebrews from captivity and assisting in the rebuilding of the Jewish temple (XI.I.2). It is a fact that Daniel was still living in the early years of Cyrus’ reign (see Daniel 10:1), and he might well have been the very one who introduced the Persian commander to Isaiah testimony. Interestingly, there is archaeological information that lends support to the biblical record.”
I don't know about you, but that just gets me excited! God sees the big picture and knows what, and WHO, is coming down the pike. Nothing is beyond his sovereign reach. That includes you and me. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.” (Psalm 139:13) “You know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar.” (vs. 2) “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Ps. 147:5)
If God can identify a man and describe his historical and monumental actions 150 years before he is ever born, how much more does he see into the farthest spectrums of each individual life. Though free will mandates our day to day actions, God still knows the outcome.
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” (Daniel 2:20-22)
When God called to Adam in the Garden of Eden, “Where are you?”, He already knew the answer. Adam was the one who needed to get a clue and learn the truth. Today, as in the first days with God as Creator and Companion, man lives and breathes and has his being under God's keen observation. He not only knows the number of our days and the number of hairs on our head, he knows every move we make and longs to stir up the spirit within each of us to fulfill the best of His plans.
***Visit Brenda at www.thewordsout-brendablack.com Be sure to order a copy of “Were You Born in a Barn?” or “I Stand” - both available online.