It is remarkable that these words were spoken at least a century before their fulfilment. It is also jaw-dropping to think that they were addressed to a pagan ruler. This man’s great success was in fact the Lord’s success. We often think today of God opening doors of opportunity for service/witness to Christian people(Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:7), but this thought was first used in relation to the job of a man who was an outsider to true faith (1b).God has the right to use people we would not choose. He does not need our permission to add people to His workforce we don’t approve. He doesn’t come to us for references. He will even employ unbelievers to get His work done (4, 5). But all that He did through Cyrus He did a.) for the sake of His people ‘’Israel’’ (4a), and b.) above all, for the glorifying of His own Name (3b, 5a, 6). This wasn’t fundamentally about Cyrus, but about the Lord Himself. Remember, it’s never about us; it’s always about God.
The reference to ‘’treasures of darkness’’ (3) is to those which were most carefully hidden, being the most precious. In conquering Croesus and Babylon Cyrus acquired inestimable wealth. As far as God was concerned, the high point of his career was the release of Israel (4, 13) but it is unlikely that he saw it like that (55:8). We find it hard to ‘get on the same page’ as God.
‘’Over and over in these remaining chapters of the book of Isaiah, God teaches us about Himself, about His greatness, His uniqueness, His sovereignty over all the earth. We need to let these chapters enlarge our vision of God and increase our love and reverence for Him. Isaiah isn’t simply piling up poetic phrases here; he is teaching us about the most important subject in the universe and in our lives: the subject of God.’’ Tom Hale: The Applied Old Testament Commentary, pp.1044. 1045. (By the way, the intriguing comment in verse 7 is a Hebrew way of saying that The Lord is Sovereign over all that is. He is in absolute control.)
God had two purposes in using Cyrus. The first had to do with the near future (1-4). It concerned the restoration of Israel, as we have seen. His second, and more long-term plan had to do with making Himself known. In the first place this revelation would be to Cyrus (3), and then to the whole earth (6). This second purpose is still being worked out today through the church.
It’s been observed that if God would do all this for unbelieving Cyrus, how much more He will do it for Christ, His true Anointed One, and for His followers. As we go out on Jesus’s mission, the Lord Himself goes before us and removes obstacles from our path. Look at church history. Consider what God did for a handful of despised and persecuted Christ-followers in the years following Jesus’ death! In country after country God has been opening doors for the gospel, and He will continue to do so until Jesus returns. The calling is ours, but any success is always His!
Prayer: Enlarge my heart’s vision of you Lord; clear the mist from the windscreen of my soul, that I may see you more clearly.