DAY 280- BIG PICTURE IN A YEAR - THE EXILE
Reading: Jeremiah 29: 10-14; Isaiah 44: 28; Isaiah 45: 1-4
One of the truly astounding prophecies of the Bible relates to this period of the Exile and the Return. It is found in our Readings for today and it has to do with Cyrus, king of Persia.
Cyrus came to the Persian throne in 559 B.C. Nine years later he conquered the Medes, thus unifying the kingdoms of the Medes and the Persians. This king, Cyrus, is mentioned 23 times in the literature of the Old Testament and always as an instrument in God’s hand. Isaiah refers to Cyrus as Yahweh’s “shepherd,” the Lord’s “anointed,” who was providentially appointed to facilitate the divine plan. God would lead this monarch to “subdue nations” and “open doors” (an allusion to the Jews’ release from Babylonian captivity). He would make “rough places smooth,” i.e., accommodate the Hebrews’ return to their homeland. He would ultimately be responsible for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the reconstruction of the temple.
What many people do not realize in reading Isaiah’s prophecy is that this heathen ruler was named by the prophet long before the monarch was even born. Isaiah prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. His ministry took place during the latter portion of the eighth century B.C. (ca. 740 – 701 B.C.). This was 150 years before Cyrus came to the throne!
Skeptics try and explain away this prophecy by saying that someone must have ‘edited’ Isaiah’s writings later – but I have experienced God telling me the name of the person he was raising up to rescue my situation before I even met him or knew he existed. And that’s just little me, in my little situation. Why should we be skeptical of God doing such a thing for His entire nation?
Thank You Lord that I can always rely on You to fulfill Your purposes in and through me.
FOR THE FAMILY
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