I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God
45 “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.
The Lord refers to Cyrus as His anointed. To a Jew living at the time of Isaiah this would seem like a ridiculous statement. God calling a pagan king His anointed. But what it shows us is the sovereignty of God. God can use anyone He desires. God is the one who alone qualifies people and why God raises up kings and tears them down, we don’t fully understand. But Isaiah spoke these words under the leading of the Lord over 200 years before Cyrus arose to power. By God stating His anointed, it was God who empowered Cyrus to become king and it was God who enabled Cyrus to accomplished what Cyrus was able to accomplish.
It was God who enabled Him to subdue kings and overcome armies. Before Cyrus arose to power as the King of Persia the ruling power of the day was Babylon. Israel was in exile in Babylon. But for the sake of Israel, God raised up a pagan king and the Persian empire that the way would be made for the Jews to return to Israel. It was prophesied by Jeremiah that Israel would go into exile for seventy years. But when that seventy years was done the Lord would return the people to the land. It was not God’s desire to abandon or forsake Israel. But because of His love for Israel, He would thoroughly discipline them.
Babylon was well known for their gates of bronze. It is believed that there were over one hundred gates of bronze in Babylon. But through the anointing placed on Cyrus by Almighty God he would cut through every gate and obstacle of Babylon like a hot knife going through butter. The greatness and might of Cyrus was not because of himself. It was because of God Almighty and for the sake of His people.
It is God who called Cyrus by name. Long before he was even born the Lord mentioned him. It was God who choose him and it was God who enabled him to gain the riches of the secret places. But all of this is for the purpose to show that God is God alone. He is the only one who can speak of things to come because He not only knows all things, He has planned and designed all things. It shows the sovereignty of who God is. God is fully in control. Nothing happens outside His control. Even in America today we may look at things on the surface and think things are chaotic and out of control. But in the background of it all the Lord is working and fulfilling every purpose and every plan. The world is being prepared for the return of the true King: Jesus Christ.
Cyrus didn’t personally know the Lord. But the Lord called Him by name for His people Israel. God refers to Israel as His elect. Israel was chosen by God not because they had done anything to merit His choosing, but because God in His grace called Abraham, Abraham responded to the call of God. Then by God’s election the Lord chose Isaac and He chose Jacob. Jacob’s name would eventually be changed to Israel. When we examine the history of Israel we find a people who continually rebelled against God, but we also see a God who is compassionate, faithful, and will fulfill His every plan and promise.
The Lord says I am the Lord, there is no other, there is no God besides me. God throughout the book of Isaiah shows His control and sovereignty over the nations. Through different prophecies spoken concerning the nations the Lord shows time and time again, that even though it seems earthly kings and kingdoms are in control, that in the background it is God who is fully in control. At any time the Lord can move against a nation with His mighty hand and bring that nation to nothing. He states that He is the one who has girded Cyrus even though Cyrus has not known the Lord. Do we fully understand all that God is doing? The answer is no. But understanding that God is fully in control, we can stand back and live in peace knowing that as we trust the Lord, it is the Lord who is going to bring His will and purposes to pass.
The use and rising of Cyrus was for the sole purpose of the people of Israel and to show that God is God alone and there is no other. Cyrus himself would serve many different gods as a pagan. But it would be the Lord alone who would use a pagan king on behalf of His people to return them to the land and begin to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Today we see the nation of Israel thriving and it is a testament to the God of the bible. The existence of Israel today as a nation simply proves how true scripture is. God’s calling and plans are irrevocable. Everything that God has spoken concerning the nation of Israel will come to pass. No matter the obstacle, God will have His way.
The Lord says He is the one who forms light and darkness, He is the one who makes peace and brings calamity. Again it points to the sovereignty of God. Here light and darkness don’t point to good and evil, it points to the day and the night. It is God who created the sun and the moon. Both serve their purpose. Day and night on the earth serve their purpose through the perfect plan of Almighty God. But it is God who makes peace and also brings forth calamity. God is not the author of sickness and disease. But even the activities of the devil and the demonic angels upon the earth are under the control of Almighty God. Satan may believe he can stop or hinder the work of God. But he is dealing with one who is all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere at the same time. There is no one who compares to the Living God and throughout the book of Isaiah the Lord makes this clear over and over again.