Isaiah 45:1-7 - Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: "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 calls you by your name. For the sake of My servant Jacob, and 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."
I really wonder about Cyrus. I mean, here he is, the founder of the Persian Empire, a man who conquered huge areas of Asia. His titles included names like "King of the World," "King of the Four Corners of the World," and even "King of the Universe"! Great as he was, those titles are going a bit too far.
But what then are we to make of the title God Himself gave to him in this passage from Isaiah, where He calls him "My anointed"? Most people know this term in its Greek or Hebrew forms: "My christ," or "My messiah." What kind of a name is that for a Gentile ruler who doesn't even believe in the Lord?
Anointing was a ritual God used to appoint people in ancient Israel to do a job—usually the job of a king or priest. Cyrus is no Israelite, but he too has a job—to start sending God's people home from their exile, back to their land to rebuild the temple of the Lord (see 2 Chronicles 36:22-23). And this is the temple Jesus Himself will visit—first as a baby, and later when He teaches in its courts as a Man. The first "anointed" one, Cyrus, is getting things ready for the real "Anointed One"—Jesus.
Jesus is like Cyrus—but much better! Because Jesus' job is to bring all God's people home from exile—home from the sin-shattered world where we have lived ever since humanity first rebelled against God. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus is bringing us home to God's kingdom of peace and joy—and better than that, home to God's family, now as God's own dear children. We will never be lost again.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to bring me home. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you know what it feels like to lose your home and have to move elsewhere?
2. How do you think the Israelites felt about going home again?
3. How do you feel as you look forward to the day Jesus brings us all home?
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