TODAY’S READING: Isaiah 44–48
God will pour out His Spirit; thus, His people should not fear, but be His bold witnesses. A missionary-minded God will use all the earth for His purposes in all the earth, even calling wicked Cyrus His anointed one (messiah!), using him to subdue nations so that the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places might be brought into the kingdom.
Cyrus reigned in what is today Iraq. Twenty-five centuries later, the Sovereign Lord allowed another “anointed one” to reign in Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror landed Pastor Jules in a Baghdad prison known to have only one exit—execution. Pastor Jules had been praying for the “treasures of darkness” and upon his arrest was thrown into a tiny, pitch black cell crowded with prisoners. The cell was so dark that the men, though pressed against one another, could not see each another. Overcoming fear for his own life and fear of being a witness, Pastor Jules opened his mouth and over those blind weeks shared the light of the gospel with his new friends. They were Muslims, and they were terrified too—blind in the cell, blind to hope of life now or eternally. And God gave Pastor Jules the hidden treasures of darkness. As was prophesied for the Egyptians, Sudanese, and Yemeni, these Iraqis made supplication saying, “Surely God is in you, and there is no other; there is no other God” (Isa. 45:14).
The missionary message of God in Isaiah resounds from dark prisons to the uttermost: “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other… Listen! …And now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me…with a voice of singing, declare, proclaim this, utter to the end of the earth, say, ‘The Lord has redeemed’” (45:22, 48:12, 16, 20).
Throughout Isaiah and from the beginning of the Bible to its end, there is one message and one mandate—GO! Go proclaim the saving name of Jesus to all peoples. Go into the heart of darkness. Go to Iraq. Go to Egypt. Go to Sudan. Go to Yemen. Go wherever the church is not. Go wherever Satan has His throne. Go wherever Christ is not worshiped. Go in faith. Go without fear. Just go. And as you go, open your mouth and sing in those dark prisons. As you go open your mouths to preach that the Spirit of God can open blind hearts. As you go declare that all nations must submit to the coming King.
Our earth is dark, but full of treasure. What better time to go treasure hunting than now? Our world is bound in fear and shame. What better time than now to enter their prison fearlessly? Our world has lost hope for the future. What better time to sing of the Redeemer, to praise and worship the only One who knows the end from the beginning?