“Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus: ‘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, I 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. For the sake of… Israel my chosen, 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. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.'” Isaiah 45:1-7
With Assyria and their threat of takeover and destruction looming, Isaiah spoke into Israel’s bleak darkness of sure deliverance. Their imminent future was foreboding, but as God’s beloved chosen, they could count on His unique, divine power to equip a king they had never heard of with power to break their chains and open their doors to freedom. He would show Himself mighty, He was in control. There was none like Him.
Soon after defeating Babylon, the Persian King Cyrus sent exiled Israelites back to Jerusalem. Isaiah had prophesied this, and him by name, about 200 years earlier, an exquisite example himself of the ways Sovereign God works and uses people as His instruments to perform His bidding. The specific details in this prophesy, the personal way in which God would undertake for this heathen king, are promises that fed the Israel for decades with hope in their longing. Every word came true for Cyrus, for Israel, and foretells His wondrous work on our behalf today. (Ezra 1:1-4)
I know many people in very dark paces right now, in exile from loved family members, behind bronze doors of a waiting room where it seems injustice will prevail or cancer has returned, held as by iron bars in grief over the death of a child, a husband of half a century. In those very places, the LORD on high is present and not silent. He works even through those who know Him not, through the impossible horribles, in calamity and darkness, to bring about His perfect plans, reveal His treasures in the darkness, to shine light and bring bounty into the secret places we would never choose on our own to go. He is trustworthy, He is Ruler of all. (Psalm 50:3)
Tragedies, afflictions, adversities are measured in the hands of our Father. No matter the evil we face, the ugly combat or piercing pain, all things and people are situated by His hands of providence for our sake. We may not understand, but we can believe.
Lord, break the bronze of unbelief in me to trust You alone, and You wholly. Raise up Cyruses, and use me as You will, to “do all Your things,” for I know You do them well.