Who has stirred up one from the east,
calling him in righteousness to his service?
He hands nations over to him
and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
to windblown chaff with his bow.
He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
by a path his feet have not traveled before.
Who has done this and carried it through,
calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord—with the first of them
and with the last—I am he.
I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes—
one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads on rulers as if they were mortar,
as if he were a potter treading the clay.
Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know,
or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?
No one told of this,
no one foretold it,
no one heard any words from you.
I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!
This chapter in Isaiah is talking about the coming of Cyrus and the fall of the Babylonian empire. Isaiah’s prophecy was difficult enough as it is to accept for a nation that presumed that God would never let them be taken captive into exile, nevermind the prospect of the rise of another empire that could spell doom for Israel. God is bracing His people by telling them this in advance. The fact that He is warning them is itself a reason to be reassured that God is in control. Israel definitely needs to be reassured because such events tend to evoke fear and worry.
We’re just as prone to become worried and fearful at such events. We have the news media today that inform us of every depressing events that occurs. It also reinforces fears that society is rapidly heading down a path of moral decay. I don’t know anyone who has ever become more optimistic as a result of watching the news. As Christians we must overcome such fears if we are going to have any meaning and purpose in life.
God does not want us to fear because He is in control. He is not a spectator watching the unfolding of history, indifferent or incapable of changing anything. Not only is everything under His control but this is all part of His plan. Events that, to us, seem to be leading to disaster only move towards a conclusion that God has predetermined.
God is the engine of history and He has already told us how the story will end. When events happen that cause us worry, whether big news or more personal, we need to remember that God made it happen. Job never blamed Satan for his suffering. He only referred to God as the agent behind it all and he was right. The Lord creates peace and evil.
Christians will endure to the end by remembering that God is with us and He upholds us with omnipotent right hand. We know that we are on the side that wins. He has not left us to fend for ourselves. We have access to an inexhaustible supply of grace that empowers us for every trial and challenge. In the end God is always glorified. Our responsibility is to trust in the Lord and maintain our purity in evil times.