Isaiah 45:3-6 (NIV): I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.
God is the LORD, and there is no other. No matter what people do, no matter how many band together, there is nothing that they can do that will thwart His will or obstruct His plans. He has a plan that He is working right now, and it will be accomplished. Even before He sent the tribe of Judah into exile in Babylon, He had already selected Cyrus and planned his rise to power. Before Cyrus’ grandfather was even born, God had already told Isaiah that He would raise him up so that he would let God’s people go, sending them back to Jerusalem, and even giving them supplies and equipment to rebuild the city and the temple. Cyrus was not a person who worshipped God, or followed Him; he never acknowledged that it was the Lord who had brought him to his exalted position. But still God raised him up, provided him with riches of the earth, put him above his followers, strengthened him, gave him wisdom and intelligence, and finally gave him victory over those who held God’s people. As He did with Pharaoh ages before, God moved his heart to obey His will – in this case, to let God’s people go without the need for plagues or disaster. Cyrus never knew that it was God who was moving his heart – he thought it was his own idea.
God moves those who follow Him, molding and shaping their circumstances, their thoughts, and their actions, to further His agenda. He does this with their permission, because they have surrendered themselves to Him. But God also moves those who do not follow Him when He needs to use them to further His agenda. He does this without their permission, because they refuse to acknowledge Him as the sovereign Lord.
Obviously, if someone is willing to be moved by God’s hand, He can provide abundant blessings in their lives. But those who set themselves against Him do so to their own ruin. God will still accomplish His will, using them in the process, but they usually will end up destroying themselves by trying to resist His will, much as Pharaoh did in his hard-hearted resistance to God’s will.
Father, I consider it a privilege to be used by You to help others find salvation. I am Yours to command, to move, to use for Your glory and the accomplishment of Your will. May Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Start with me. Amen.