For Jacob my servant‘s sake - (see the note at Isaiah 42:19). The statement here is, that God had raised up Cyrus on account of his own people. The sentiment is common in the Bible, that kings and nations are in the hand of God; and that he overrules and directs their actions for the accomplishment of his own purposes, and especially to protect, defend, and deliver his people (see the note at Isaiah 10:5; compare Isaiah 47:6).
I have surnamed thee - On the meaning of the word ‹surname,‘ see the notes at Isaiah 44:5. The reference here is to the fact that he had appointed him to accomplish important purposes, and had designated him as his ‹shepherd‘ Isaiah 44:28, and his ‹anointed‘ Isaiah 45:1.
Though thou hast not known me - Before he was called to accomplish these important services, he was a stranger to Yahweh, and it was only when he should have been so signally favored of heaven, and should be made acquainted with the divine will in regard to the deliverance of his people and the rebuilding of the temple Ezra 1:1-3, that he would be acquainted with the true God.
The deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions had been used of God to create a favorable impression upon the mind of Cyrus the Great. The sterling qualities of the man of God as a statesman of farseeing ability led the Persian ruler to show him marked respect and to honor his judgment. And now, just at the time God had said He would cause His temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt, He moved upon Cyrus as His agent to discern the prophecies concerning himself, with which Daniel was so familiar, and to grant the Jewish people their liberty. PK 557.1
As the king saw the words foretelling, more than a hundred years before his birth, the manner in which Babylon should be taken; as he read the message addressed to him by the Ruler of the universe, “I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me;” as he saw before his eyes the declaration of the eternal God, “For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me;” as he traced the inspired record, “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build My city, and he shall let go My captives, not for price nor reward,” his heart was profoundly moved, and he determined to fulfill his divinely appointed mission. Isaiah 45:5, 6, 4, 13. He would let the Judean captives go free; he would help them restore the temple of Jehovah. PK 557.2
In a written proclamation published “throughout all his kingdom,” Cyrus made known his desire to provide for the return of the Hebrews and for the rebuilding of their temple. “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth,” the king gratefully acknowledged in this public proclamation; “and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, ... and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering.” Ezra 1:1-4. PK 558.1Read in context »
“And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:2. CT 455.1
The Old Testament Scriptures were the lesson book of Israel.... There are practical lessons in the word of God, lessons that Christ would have teachers and parents present to the children in the school and in the home. That word teaches living, holy principles, which prompt men to do unto others as they would have others do unto them—principles which they are to bring into the daily life here below, and carry with them into the school above. This is the higher education. No learning of human origin can gain these heights; for they reach into eternity, and are immortalized. We know altogether too little of the greatness of the love and compassion of God. CT 455.2
Let students put to the stretch their mental faculties, that they may comprehend the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. Such chapters as this should be brought into our schools as a valuable study. They are better than romance and fables. Why have our schools been so dependent upon books which tell so little of the city we claim to be seeking, whose builder and maker is God? Our lesson books should contain the loftiest themes of thought. Heaven is our home. Our citizenship is above, and our lives must not be devoted to a world that is soon to be destroyed.... CT 455.3Read in context »
In the forty-first to the forty-fifth chapters of Isaiah, God very fully reveals His purpose for His people, and these chapters should be prayerfully studied. God does not here instruct His people to turn away from His wisdom and look to finite man for wisdom. “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel,” He declares, “for thou art My servant: ... O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.” TM 480.1
“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside Me.... Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men come; and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” TM 480.2Read in context »
There are practical lessons in the Word of God.... That Word teaches living, holy principles, which prompt men to do unto others as they would have others do unto them, principles which they are to bring into the daily life here, and carry with them into the school above.... The altar and the plough are the experiences for all who seek eternal life. We know altogether too little of the greatness of the love and compassion of God. Let students put to the stretch the faculties of their mind, that they may comprehend such chapters as the forty-fifth of Isaiah, which should be placed in form, and brought into our schools as valuable studies. They will be better than romance or fable. Why have our schools been so dependent upon books which tell so little of the city we claim to be seeking, whose Builder and Maker is God? ... Heaven is our home. Our citizenship is above, and our lives must not be devoted to a world which is soon to be destroyed. We need the Word of God revealed in living characters. What pure, excellent language is found in the Word of God! What elevating, ennobling principles!—Manuscript 96, July 20, 1899. “The Bible as Our Study Book.” UL 215.5Read in context »