Summary of passage: The Lord says to Cyrus he will subdue nations for him, strip kings of their armor, open doors and gates, level the mountains, and give him treasures and riches so that Cyrus will know He is God. God does this for Jacob’s sake (His people). Cyrus will be the example for others so that they may know He is the only God; He alone brings prosperity and creates disasters; He alone forms the light and dark. He gives righteousness. God warns those who quarrel with Him and questions why they have been formed the way they were. God created us and it is He who will command Cyrus to rebuild His city and free His exiles.
5) The definition of anoint according to Webster’s is: to apply oil as a sacred rite; to choose by divine election. Generally, the word anointed in the Bible means people were anointed to signify God’s blessing or calling on their lives. Here, God chose Cyrus for a special purpose: to subdue nations as a sign to others that He is Lord. He intended to use Cyrus as an example to others: He can use a pagan king to show “I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
6a) Cyrus will subdue nations, strip kings of their armor, open doors and gates, level mountains, break down gates and bars, give him riches and treasures. God will make all of Cyrus’s ways straight; Cyrus will rebuild His city and free His exiles. Yes.
b) He gave God credit in his proclamation to his kingdom: ”The Lord, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for his at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you–may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.”
c) Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den and survived. Then King Darius (a Mede who is now ruler of Babylon) issued a proclamation: ”I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.”
d) God promised His people would be exiled for 70 years and then He’d punish the King of Babylon and lay waste to their land. Isaiah told the people the specific name (Cyrus) of who would release them, which gave them hope and patience for God’s timing.
7) Personal Question. My answer: God does what He says He will do. His punishment is always temporary and He always give Him people hope while being punished. Philippians 4:6-7 ”The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Conclusions: God is the Creator and Maker. He formed us how we are for a reason. He gets upset when we are unhappy with ourselves because He is never unhappy with us, even at our worst. He delights in us and if we only delighted in ourselves a fraction of God’s delight, we’d never be depressed, angry, or anxious.
God uses others to make Himself known. He used Cyrus to free His people and in the process proved His awesomeness to non-believers. He uses us for His glory even though we cannot possibly see the many threads of our impact.
End Notes: Awesome explanation of anointing in the Bible with Biblical examples here:
Darius was probably the uncle of Cyrus. He is called Darius the Mede to distinguish him from Darius the Persian who came after him. Cyrus gave Darius the Mede part of the Babylonian empire to rule over but Cyrus was the head-hancho. Darius reigned for only 2 years when historians think he died. Good explanation here: http://www.truthnet.org/Daniel/Chapter6/