So Cyrus conquered the Babylonians - who had conquered God’s people, taken the Temple treasure and sent them into exile. Is this just one of those “the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend” things, with Isaiah gloating at the Babylonians getting theirs? Of course it is, but that’s not all it is.
After conquering the Babylonians, Cyrus lets God’s people go home. And he gives them back the Temple treasure. And he gives them permission to rebuild Jerusalem. But that's not all...
he gives them permission (and the money) to rebuild the Temple.
Sounds like a Disney ending, just a bit too good to be true. Except that archaeology and surviving Persian records confirm Cyrus' generosity. So why does it matter?
Although Cyrus didn't know God (Cyrus thanked the gods of Babylon for his victory), Cyrus was an instrument of God's will. The life of Cyrus shows us that God's people are not the limits of where God works, but the beginning. More on this tomorrow.