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Isaiah 45:1-8 - Homilies By E. Johnson

Cyrus the anointed of Jehovah.

I. THE REASON OF THE DIVINE FAVOR TO CYRUS . Cyrus is the only king out of Israel who bears the title of Jehovah's anointed. He is solemnly set apart as an instrument to perform an important public service in the cause of Jehovah. It does not necessarily imply the piety of Cyrus. For the purposes of Jehovah he is upheld, "grasped by the right hand," that he may subdue nations before him—from the Euxine to Egypt, from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. The girdles of mighty kings will be unloosed before him. See this said of Belshazzar ( Daniel 5:6 ); then were the "two-leaved gates" of Babylon left open, amidst the revelry, and the conqueror broke in unopposed (Herod; 1:191). The treasures of the city are laid open before him.

1 . The object was that he might acknowledge Jehovah. "He hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth" ( Ezra 1:2 ). "Son of Cambyses, Heaven favours you manifestly, or you could not thus have risen superior to fortune". None but the Omniscient could have known the person and the name of him who was to conquer Babylon and deliver his people

2 . The next object was the deliverance of the chosen people. "The fates of the empires and kingdoms of the world are divinely disposed of with a view to the Church." But all the progress and prosperity of true religion are summed up in the knowledge of Jehovah : that he is the sole God ; that he is the Creator and the providential Ruler of the world. The alternation of day and night is Jehovah's ordinance. So also is that of peace and war, success and misfortune, good and evil. This is pure monotheism, opposed alike to pantheism and to dualism. That the world may be converted to true religion is the final and all-comprehensive object.

II. SONG OF PRAISE . "The appearance of the shepherd of Jehovah, and the thought of the blessings of which he is to be the medium, inspires the prophet with a joyous strain of psalmody." The form of the expression is borrowed from the Eastern religions, the fertility of the earth being due to the impregnating influence of Heaven ( Psalms 85:11 ; Hosea 2:21 , Hosea 2:22 ). Righteousness, in the sense of salvation ( Isaiah 51:5 , Isaiah 51:6 , Isaiah 51:8 ; Isaiah 56:1 ; Isaiah 59:17 ; Isaiah 61:10 , Isaiah 61:11 ; Isaiah 62:1 ), descends upon the souls of men. And they will break forth into "fruits of righteousness" to the glory of God. Prepared for repentance and the reception of the truth from the Holy Spirit, they will be, even as the earth is, made mellow and adapted for the reception of seed by rain and dew. "A Church smiles under the influence of a revival of religion, and society puts on the aspect of loveliness like the earth after abundant showers.'—J.

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