I recently searched the word “worship” on Twitter. Much to my disappointment, I had to scroll past eleven tweets before finding one that mentioned God. Most of the “worship” tweets focused on females attempting to seduce males. Others focused on shoes and socks. But the results are painfully obvious: people worship all kinds of idols. And it’s nothing new.
In the days of Isaiah (the prophet), idolatry is prevalent. The Jews eventually find themselves under the control of Assyria and Babylon as God teaches them obedience. The Babylonian Empire is later replaced by the Persian Empire under the leadership of Cyrus the Great.
Consider Isaiah’s prophecy: “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” (45:1 ESV).
In other words, God reveals His plan to use Cyrus as a means to restore Israel. Interestingly, however, the Bible describes Cyrus as being someone who fails to worship God as He rightly deserves.
God prophesies about Cyrus as Isaiah writes, “‘For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other’” (45:4-6 ESV).
Cyrus is an unlikely candidate for God to use as a rescuer for Israel. Indeed, Cyrus is an idolater. But as the book of Ezra describes, God fulfills His prophesy by restoring Israel through the hand of Cyrus. And through it all, God shows the world the majesty of His name. He reveals that He alone is God, “‘… and there is no other’” (v. 6 ESV). It’s a call to turn from idols, acknowledge Yahweh as the only God, and worship Him alone.
In this context, God eventually makes a well-known statement. Verses 22 and 23 read, “‘Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance”’” (ESV).
Think about those words. All people worship God eventually. The apostle Paul later references verse 23 in Romans 14:11. And He alludes to it again in his letter to the Philippians. But this one includes a special reference to Jesus. Let’s take a look.
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV).
We see how God rids us of our idols, reveals His sovereignty, and draws us to our knees as we worship Him as the one and only God. This is what happens through Cyrus. But the same is true today because of Jesus Christ. In a much more perfect way, Jesus redeems His people from captivity. He is the true “anointed” (Isa. 45:1). He is the true Messiah. We now worship God through the blood of Christ. And this revelation will eventually draw all people of all nations to their knees in worship.
In the world today, it’s easy to worship the “gods” of sex, power, materialism, money, and success. But through God’s Word, we learn that all people will worship God one day. Sadly, however, not everyone will know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior on that day. That’s why we must worship God as He rightly deserves. Right here. Right now. Calling others to do the same.
The idols we cling to will show their true colors. God’s plan will be accomplished. And all people will bow before God. Both saved and unsaved people alike.
All people worship God eventually. Even Cyrus. Today sounds like a great day to worship God. I can only pray that you do.
What would a “worship” search reveal about your life?
Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com