God Chooses Whom He Wants

Opening Prayer

Lord, I praise You that You have chosen me to do Your kingdom work. I am humbled in Your presence today.

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:
2 I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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,
6 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.
7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the Lord, do all these things.

8 “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.

Reflect

If it were up to you, what sorts of people would you choose to carry out God’s work?

Our God is a God of justice, but let’s face it: life does not appear fair. Just as in Isaiah’s time, we often see individuals rise to the top and receive undeserved rewards. Does the Lord have plans he has not revealed? And in the case of Cyrus, God is not only using the most powerful man of
his time to get things done. Cyrus is God’s “anointed” (1) and, in 44:28, his “shepherd.” How come?

There are several lessons here. Firstly, God is God: he can do as he knows to be best. Only sometimes should we expect, by his grace, to understand a little. We can gather that his plans here are to do with his chosen people Israel and the glorifying of his name. We can also begin to grasp the sheer scale of God’s purposes. Compared to these, Cyrus’s ancient Persian empire
is really quite tiny and transient.

But one more thing: under all his regal trappings, in truth King Cyrus is merely human. He is not more important than anyone else, but nor is he less so. God created him and can work through him to achieve his purposes. Can we argue?

Apply

Think of some of the people in the Bible whom God used in incredible ways. How were they different or similar to you?

Closing prayer

God, help me to see individuals as You see them.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider