Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cyrus' Creator (Part IV)

"Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." (Isaiah 45:20-25)

The Lord presents an even broader invitation, and encourages all of humanity to come. Zechariah makes it clear that many will escape death at Christ's return (Zechariah 14:16). These and all others are commanded to flee idolatry and to seek refuge in the Lord.

Verse 22 reflects the grace of God which is so clearly seen in the New Testament dispensation. The word look has the idea of turning about and looking. God is commanding lost humanity to stop walking in its current direction and to turn about and look in faith to the Lamb of God. The command encourages both repentance and faith. John reflected the heart of this Old Testament command when he exhorted the multitudes to "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29)." The invitation is open, but it cannot be accepted unless one is willing to turn about and to look in respect.

God promises that every knee will bow to Him in respect. The promise is indisputably millennial in nature. The divine oath parallels the promise of God found in Philippians 2:10-11.

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In his admonitions concerning appropriate Christian conduct, Paul quoted verse 23 (Romans 14:11). Even though Isaiah was speaking primarily of world-wide submission to God and not of the judgment seat of Christ for Christianity, Paul used this passage to demonstrate the sober nature of the Christian's accountability to God. The flesh can easily abuse the grace of God and forget that each and every Christian will give an account of how he has conducted himself in the Christian life.

Only in God is righteousness found. It cannot be obtained through law-keeping. It cannot be accomplished by doing what each man deems to be right in his own eyes. Good Christian living cannot impart it. Righteousness is found only in Christ, and it is imparted to the believer only through faith. The Jews will rest in this reality when they accept Jesus as their righteous Messiah.

After declaring His call upon Cyrus' life, God displayed His singularity, grace and sufficiency. The power of God was responsible for all of Cyrus' victories. Although the fingerprints of God were present on Cyrus' life, the king went to the grave uncircumcised in heart. The epitaph on his tomb reflects the sad end of the godless man, regardless of his former greatness. Although there is disagreement over the exact reading, the inscription read something like this:

O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come, I am Cyrus who won for the Persians their empire. Do not therefore begrudge me this bit of earth which covers my bones.

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