Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 17 August 2017


By Jim Jordal

 Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him…I will go before you, and make the rough places smooth…and I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, who call you by your name, even the God of Israel.  For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel my chosen, I have called you by your name: I have surnamed you, though you have not known me.  I am the Lord, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Yahweh, and there is no one else. I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil.

                                                                                                         Isa. 45:1-7 WEB, edited

This passage of Scripture is often used to express the sovereignty of God in human affairs. At this time the tribe of Judah endured a 70-year captivity in the powerful Babylonian kingdom. God had promised deliverance, and he chose as his instrument Cyrus the Great, head of the new Persian Empire, who soon conquered Babylon. The result was the freeing of Judah and its return to Jerusalem, where Cyrus even aided in rebuilding the Jewish temple.

God used Cyrus to free Judah, God’s Holy People, from slavery and eventual disappearance from history. The above reference is the only place in Scripture where God calls a Gentile his “anointed.” With the anointing go the promises that God will hold Cyrus’ right hand, subdue nations before him, make rough places smooth, and give Cyrus many hidden treasures, probably of understanding and wisdom in carrying out his commission.

It’s intriguing the way God deals with this heathen king whom he calls his anointed. Several places God says refers to the fact that although Cyrus doesn’t know him, he knows Cyrus. It’s like “you don’t know me, but I know you, and will use you to bring about my wishes.” All this to a heathen king!

It’s sad that today more people can’t understand that God can use anybody, great or small, hostile or friendly, for his own purposes. This includes Donald Trump and all the others running our government. Things may appear to be out of control if we use human reasoning, but our sovereign God uses even the worst of circumstances to bring about his will. The seeming disorganization in government is part of the Great Shaking promised in Hebrews 12. The systems of the present world order are being shaken so as to remove all parts not fit for God’s Earthly Kingdom, and to protect and continue whatever is acceptable.

The initial passage quotes God saying: “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil.” That God could create evil presents a serious question, “How can a good God create evil?” But the evil is not in God, but in our limited understanding and inability to grasp the size and scope of God’s wisdom. In our limited understandings of God’s ways, we often mislabel his good intentions and the methods he uses to bring about his will as evil. To us, violence is always bad, but according to Scripture God often uses it as a method for securing our attention. The same for many other things that we mistakenly label as evil.

Through the same process we often label as “good” many things offensive to God. I think of the many ways in which we view as good many human financial creations like usury and its role in obstructing justice and enslaving millions, including the most vulnerable among us. We also do this with many creations of the entertainment world that in reality can only be cited as offensive to God and harmful to men.

If God could use a Gentile, pagan ruler like Cyrus to achieve his ends, then perhaps he can also use the multitude of chaotic and seemingly evil things now occurring in the political and economic worlds. You don’t have to like everything that happens, but do try to accept that at least some of it is related to God’s attempt to get our attention and turn us back to himself.