We have been speaking about the returning exiles from Babylonian captivity to their Homeland. We will now be speaking about how God uses even the pagan king for His purpose. Any questions so far?
The problem with evil is it is here. Even in a wonderful family or in relationships and certainly in society and around the world, evil sticks up it’s ugly head and effects lives in some serious ways.
One look at the Newspaper and you will see evidence everywhere. In all levels of society, educational background, economic status, political affiliation, denomination, race, creed or color. Evil is there.
We should not be so surprised at that! One lady, any years ago, who used to come to ICCS, told me that she felt the world was getting better and better. No sooner than she told me that, she told me of the time she and her daughter was mugged and dragged a number of feet before the thief broke the handbag handle and got away—after hitting her a number of times. I asked her: This is a sign of getting better? She could not answer and I felt she could not because she could not believe that evil would be so close to her. She needed to know the Love of God in a big way. She left Japan rather distant and cold to the claims of Christ saying: “I’m doing OK. No problems here!”
Here is the beginning statement: God uses people whether they know it or not. Good or bad, evil or holy. Mentally sound or not so sound. Old or young. God does use people because He made people to work together. And these arrangements He has made are set from the foundations of Time.
Hard statement but I do hope that we will see the truth in that before this hour is over.
I guess the most popular section in the Bible of God using people is found when the Hebrew people were leaving Egypt after 400 years of bondage. God had told Moses that he was to tell the Pharaoh to let His People go, knowing all the time that he would not…stubborn and cold hearted as he was. God used the king’s cold heart to teach the Hebrew people and then the Egyptians and then all who heard of that ten plagues that God was a God of His WORD and that He was the one in charge.
Cut to the New Testament, with Jesus standing before the Roman ruler Pilate.
Back in the Old Testament, this thing about Cyrus being predicted one century and a half before his birth that he was going to “let His People go”, just like in Egypt. Only this time, God was also using this king to punish Babylon for their sins and evil. They lost their kingdom in an over night coup d’état.
Who was this Cyrus? Some of the things I read showed him as everything from a family man who loved his family to a tyrant who ruled with an iron fist. Both may be true. What does the Bible say?
Isaiah 45:1. & 13,
The man whom he had beaten also spoke like that: He was powerful. He knew the power of God from that time at the fiery furnace to say ...
That man’s son lost the kingdom in one evening because of his wickedness.
So, we can well imagine the excitement of the Hebrew people—who knew their writings, when they heard of a man named Cyrus, a Persian, had broken the power of Babylon. During the first year of his rule, he made the announcement of a startling reversal of Babylonian resettlement policy. Basically, “God told me to let the Hebrew People return and for them to rebuild the Temple of their God in Jerusalem and by the way, I’m going to pay for it out of my own personal bank account.”
The darkness was lifted and the People of God were allowed to go home. The time of punishment was over for them. They were restored yet with the need for refreshment, from time to time—just like us!
Well, let’s leave Cyrus and move to general principles. Those would be found in Psalms and Proverbs.
In Proverbs, we can learn from the evil men:
There is a church in Decatur IL., USA with the name of The Church of the Living Dead. While that is a name that may be hard to endorse on TV, they were serious. Apart of their relationship with the Lord (which gives them life) they are dead people walking.
Ken Nishiono told us about the verse that shook his spirit in.
So here we have the two sets of Groups. On one side, a group of people from every walk of life, every creed and color, who want things their way, in their time table, with their methods and input and on the other side, we find men and women from every walk of life, every creed and color, who want things their Father’s way, in His time table, with His methods and input.
Where do we put our trust?
Where is your strength?
Your strength needs to be in partnership with God.
Next week: Dealing with Criticisms.