In the third part of our series titled “The Faithful One”, we come to the yet another dimension in our meditation, and that is of our Indescribable God being:
Faithful Father of the Nation…
While George Washington and Mahatma Gandhi may be called the Fathers of the Nations of the United States of America and of India, respectively, there is no doubting as to who was the Father of the Nation of Israel, as the following Scripture portion affirms oh-so-beautifully…
“Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, LORD, you would still be our Father…” (Isa 63:16 NLT)
Though the obedience graph of the Jews would show wild swings right from their “conception onwards”, so to speak (read Wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan), the Almighty remained faithful to them by providing for them. A closer scrutiny of the Scriptures would reveal that despite their constant rebellion, none of them died out of hunger or thirst in their 40-year journey, though they did bring a curse of longer stay in the desert upon themselves (SeeDeut. 29:5). Later on, in the Promised Land — and outside of it as well when they brought hte curse of exile upon themselves due to willful idol worship — the Faithful God would continue to care and provide for them (SeeJeremiah 29:1-11). He protected them from all kinds of dangers, including a planned, horrific, international genocide. The book of Esther stands as a testament to this truth. Now the same Faithful One has given an assurance that all Jews, even though they now despise Christ, will soon be led to a Christ-oriented salvation: “And so all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:26a NLT; See also Zech 12:10).
Whilst on the subject of the Lord’s faithfulness towards the Jews, consider Jeremiah 29:11, addressed to the Jewish exiles in Babylon: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). Even a cursory reading of this text would make a first-time Bible reader wonder whether the Jews were in Babylon for doing “something good” or doing “something bad”.
When we consider historically how the good Lord brought this prophecy to pass, it would bring us to King Cyrus and the providential events described inDaniel Chapter 5. Before I take one proverbial step ahead, I want to blare out a question: With all the security around the home of a world leader, would it be an easy task to enter and (God forbid, for we should always uphold our leaders in prayer — See1 Tim. 2:1-2) kill him or her?
King Cyrus, who is one of the seven individuals named in the Bible even before his birth, was miraculously aided by the good Lord to bring about the fall of mighty Babylon on the night of revelry of wicked King Belshazzar, perfectly in line with the prophecies of Isaiah:
“who says to the deep, ‘Be dry; I will dry up your rivers’; who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfil all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built’, and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.'” (Isaiah 44:27-28 ESV)
“Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed…” (Isaiah 45:1 ESV)
For the uninitiated ones on the subject, I intend to say that it would serve them well to read the enlightening Biblical commentaries such as the one of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown or that of Adam Clark on the subject to grasp better the mystifying intricacies of the amazing events of Daniel Chapter 5, for even cursory reading of this Chapter by curious first-time readers would birth in them some logical questions such as:
a) Was King Belshazzar aware of the impending attack of the army of King Cyrus on that “epochal” night? If so, why ould he hold a party on the night of his death?
b) How did King Cyrus cross the Euphrates River which lies between the two kingdoms of Babylon and Medo-Persia oh-so-quickly? Was the prophecy “I would dry up the rivers before King Cyrus” literally fulfilled that night?
c) Who opened up the gates of the imposing Babylonian fort for King Cyrus to enter the City and take the obviously unprepared Babylonian army totally by surprise?
While limitations of time and space may constrain usfrom dealing more elaborately on the above “juicy” questions, what I want to affirm is this: King Cyrus, after being called the Shepherd of the Jews (SeeIs. 44:28) could only be the “protector and provider” of God’s flock (read Jews) referred to in the above prophecy inJeremiah 29:11.
Just contemplate for a moment: If King Cyrus had broken down the gates, it would have been a “noisy affair” alerting the army on the other side of the gates of the Babylonian Fort on that fateful night before making his entry into the City. They were doubtlessly “miraculously” opened. And Would not “the-now-alerted” Babylonian forces resist Cyrus’ army with their own barrage of weapons? And in the ensuing, intermittent “cross fire” of that battle, would not at least some of the innocent Jews (thousands of them were residing in Babylon at the time) have perished? Even today does not “cross-border” firing claim innocent lives? But the Faithful God of Israel ordained the occurrence of events as per His sovereign will, borne out of fathomless wisdom, in such a way that “not one Jew” perished in the “entire take-over” process! If this is not an act of faithfulness by the ever-faithful One towards his not-so-faithful people, then what is it? Hallelujah!
Prayer: Father, Thy Faithfulness is immeasurable. Make us lean on Thee at all times. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “The Faithful One” mini-series, please click here.)