“This is what the Lord says to his chosen one,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I hold
in order to subdue nations before him,
and disarm kings,
to open doors before him,
so gates remain unclosed.” 45:1
The great issue Isaiah addresses in this section is convincing God’s own people that he can deliver them, and in his own way, not theirs. If those who heard Isaiah’s words were shocked at Cyrus being called a shepherd, they must have been even more so when Isaiah called him his chosen and anointed one. This title had previously been reserved for priests, prophets and kings of Israel. Surely God could only use persons from his own people, his own elect to accomplish his purpose. Isaiah’s point that shocked them was that God is not the Lord of Israel alone, he is the God of the world. Israel was not God’s chosen people because of themselves, and neither will their deliverance be because of themselves. It occurred outside of themselves, in spite of themselves. It is God who chooses, God who delivers, by the means God desires.
God can choose anybody for a time to be a type of “messiah” to a people or situation. A God chosen instrument through whom God’s gracious purposes will be accomplished and revealed to the world. Messiahs do not only come from the “good crowd,” nice neighborhoods, your “clicks.” your church or denomination, or those with religion. Messiahs do not have to look like you, dress like you, smell like you, listen to Casting Crowns and drink sweet tea. John the Baptist was a type of messiah, a God chosen instrument through whom God’s gracious purposes were accomplished and revealed to the world, and he was way outside societies acceptability and church dress codes. David was the runt of his family.. Those in the church were shocked at the thought of Jesus being THE Messiah smirking, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?! (and we in the church today would add, “Bless his heart!”)
Deliverance is from God and he can and will deliver you, but in his own way, not yours.
“Does clay talk back to the potter:
‘What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!’
Would a sperm say to a father,
‘Who gave you permission to use me to make a baby?’
Or a fetus to a mother,
‘Why have you cooped me up in this belly?’”
Thus God, The Holy of Israel, Israel’s Maker, says:
“Do you question who or what I’m making?
Are you telling me what I can or cannot do?
I made earth,
and I created man and woman to live on it.
I handcrafted the skies
and direct all the constellations in their turnings.
And now I’ve got Cyrus on the move.
I’ve rolled out the red carpet before him.
He will build my city.
He will bring home my exiles.
I didn’t hire him to do this. I told him.
I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.” (Isaiah 45:9-13 The Message Bible.)