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Where the Buck Really Stops – Spiritual Growth

Spiritual GrowthIn 539 B.C., a Persian king named Cyrus marched his army on Babylon and conquered its empire.

God—who rarely reveals his plans—had tipped off Isaiah 150 years earlier.

Cyrus never became a worshiper of God, but God used him (Ezra 1:2-4; 6:3-5) to allow more than 42,000 Israelites to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple.

Interact with God’s Word:  Isaiah 44:28-45:13

  1. How could Isaiah call Cyrus God’s “shepherd” (44:28) and “anointed one” (45:1)?
  2. What verbs (in 45:1, 2, 5, & 13) sum up how God would shape Cyrus’s fortunes?
  3. What does understanding God’s rule do to the concepts of luck, chance, and coincidence?
  4. How do you react to God’s assertion (45:7) that he sends both good and bad times?
  5. Judging from 45:8, what are God’s primary objectives in both the good and bad times he sends?
  6. When have you been tempted to tell God (45:9), “Stop, you are doing it wrong”? Which do you think Isaiah is condemning: questions about how to understand God’s actions or a challenging of his right to take them?
  7. Why do humans arch their backs when God declares (45:13), “I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken”?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God for the trust to embrace your life situation as something that God, according to his good purpose, has sovereignly allowed.

Isaiah 44:28-45:13

44:28 When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.'”

Isaiah 45

1 This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again. 2 This is what the Lord says:

“I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3 And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.

4 “And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one. 5 I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me, 6 so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other. 7 I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things.

Prayer for the Week: Deliver me, sovereign Lord, from attempting to manage You. Help me to honor You by trusting and submitting to Your control.

 

 

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