In the beginning of our chapter, we read that God turned King Cyrus’s heart toward the Jews and he turned the heart of the Jews toward Jerusalem. King Cyrus was a good king, but not one who followed the One True God. Cyrus was about building his kingdom in Babylon and he used whatever means to accomplish his end goals. Why did God use a pagan king to rebuild his temple? My friend Randy says that it would be like a mob boss cutting us a check to build a new worship center. God uses people we often deem unusable. One hundred years earlier, Isaiah prophesied that God would raise up someone who did not know him to rescue his people…to be their messiah. Isaiah refers to Cyrus as God’s “anointed.”
In the Lower Story, this doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the Upper Story reasoning is clear: God will uses whatever means “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” (Isaiah 45:6).
His name and his renown is the desire of the souls of those who follow him. We are “building” a church in western League City so that every man, every woman and every child would know that there is none besides the Lord. Our mission is to be a people on mission with the Great Commission – to see people come to trust their lives into the hands and leadership of the one we follow – Jesus. We must be clear about this or else all kinds of things will distract us, just as they did the Israelites.