We live in interesting and unpredictable times. In my country, governments at all levels are behaving erratically, imposing unprecedented and crippling restrictions on individual and corporate freedoms. At the same time, those same governments are often imposing draconian penalties designed to bring about absolute compliance. From what I see, this is true all over the world. As always, the Bible is the first and final source of wisdom, authority, instruction, encouragement, certainty, and hope. We turn our attention to Isaiah 41:1-4, where the Creator asks two questions of His creatures. The questions are similar but not identical. The correct answers are identical, and you cannot possibly get them wrong, because God answers the questions for you.
Isaiah 41:1-4 lets us know exactly what our position is, "Coastlands, listen to Me in silence, And let the peoples gain new strength; Let them come forward, then let them speak; Let us come together for judgment. (NASU) God begins the passage by identifying those He is addressing. “Coastlands” (or islands) and “peoples” (nations) mean the totality of humanity. These two terms form a pair of bookends indicating the whole world. The command to “listen in silence” sets the stage for the convening of this royal court. The people are inferiors who have been summoned by a superior, in fact The Superior. Listening in silence means that terms are already set, and we will have no say in the matter. This meeting is just for informing us. Praise God, that He follows the opening declaration by telling us that we should be encouraged and that an opportunity for us to speak will be provided. Our speech will simply be as a courtesy. This meeting will not be a negotiation. We will not dictate any terms.
Now it is time for the questions, which will provide certainty about the fact that there is a completely free unseen being who is behind the scenes orchestrating and directing all things, including all governments, 2 "Who has aroused one from the east Whom He calls in righteousness to His feet? He delivers up nations before him And subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, As the wind-driven chaff with his bow. 3 "He pursues them, passing on in safety, By a way he had not been traversing with his feet. 4 "Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? 'I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last. I am He.'" (NASU) Certainly, there is useful prophecy in these verses, but for now, I am choosing to focus only on the underlying principles.
Clearly, this unseen one is the King of kings and Sovereign Lord of the Universe. He can and will call human rulers who will obey His call even if they have never done anything even remotely resembling it before. The fact that this Sovereign Lord is the Creator and responsible for the existence of every generation of humans being on the earth is evidence that He can and will control human kings. You and I may think that human rulers are operating with absolute freedom and without restraint, but they are not. The Creator has retained all His rights as Creator. He has not lost any portion of His abilities. He still rules in the affairs of men. In case you or I have any doubts about who this Creator is He clearly identifies Himself in verse four. He is YHWH (Yahweh/Jehovah), the Great I Am, as contrasted against the worthless idols of the surrounding nations. He is the One, True, Living God. Listen to Him in reverence and be encouraged.