Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Psalm and Praise: Week I

I've been studying the history of the Persian Empire as recorded by Herodotus the Greek Historian. Herodotus gave a detailed account of the life of the grandfather of Cyrus and the life of Cyrus, the first king of Persia, himself. Cyrus' birth and willingness to send the Israelites back to the Promised Land and help them rebuild was prophesied by Isaiah before Assyria ever entered Israel.

As you read the Scripture below, try to keep the following in mind:

  • Astyages, the last king of the Median Empire, received a prophecy that his grandson would overthrow him. In an attempt to take control of his destiny, he marries his daughter to an unassuming king. After receiving another prophesy, he orders his head general to kill his grandson, Cyrus. However, the general disobeys, and puts the responsibility on a goatherd, who ends up raising Cyrus as his own. Cyrus' identity is eventually discovered and he does destroy Astyages' empire, becoming the first king of the Persian Empire.
  • God is sovereign. No matter how messed up the world looks to us, God is orchestrating history.
  • In the end, all of history points to Yaweh. "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phill. 2:10-11) Man constantly attempts to make a name for himself. But, God's name always reigns. He frustrated the attempts of the Tower of Babel, He gave Abraham a name, and He chose the nation of Israel for Himself. "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;" (1 Peter 2:9)
Isaiah 44:24-45:13

24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:

“ I am the LORD, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;
25 Who frustrates the signs of the babblers,
And drives diviners mad;
Who turns wise men backward,
And makes their knowledge foolishness;
26 Who confirms the word of His servant,
And performs the counsel of His messengers;
Who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’
To the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’
And I will raise up her waste places;
27 Who says to the deep, ‘Be dry!
And I will dry up your rivers’;
28 Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd,
And he shall perform all My pleasure,
Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,”
And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”’

1 “Thus says the LORD to His anointed,

To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
2 ‘ I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the LORD,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
7 I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the LORD, do all these things.
8 “ Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the LORD, have created it.
9 “ Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
10 Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’”
11 Thus says the LORD,
The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:

“ Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
12 I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded.
13 I have raised him up in righteousness,
And I will direct all his ways;
He shall build My city
And let My exiles go free,
Not for price nor reward,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

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