FBCJ Feature Article: The Heart Of The King
THE HEART OF THE KING
Sometime around 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah was inspired by God to write a prophecy concerning “His anointed,” His messiah. This person would act for God upon earth, conquering kingdoms, rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple, and shepherding His people. God would go before him—even hold his hand, Isaiah writes—giving him fame, riches and power as only God can. Who is this anointed leader? It is none other than Cyrus, King of Persia! How can that be? How could God call a pagan king, a man of bloody conquests and cut-throat politics, “messiah”?
The answer to how this could be lies in our understanding of the term “His anointed” (Isaiah 44:28). Notice, after reading the entire context of this prophecy, it becomes immediately apparent that God’s use of “His anointed” is not as restricted as our contemporary application of the word. The word anointed used here has come down to us as “messiah or christos.” The Old Testament writers use it and its verb form, to describe kings (David & Saul) and even Gentile Kings like Hazael (II Samuel 1:14). It is used to refer to priests, including the high priest (Leviticus 4:3) and even prophets (I Kings 19:16). Normally, all of these people were anointed with oil in a ritual as a sign of being set apart for the office that they were about to fulfill. Thus, at its most basic, “anointed” indicates a person God authorizes and sets apart for His service.
It would logically follow that priests and prophets of God would be “anointed” and that would explain the spiritual connotation we give the word. But what about “Kings?” Perhaps Proverbs 21:1 helps our comprehension where it is stated, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Another translation says it this way: The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases (NLT). All of the king’s inward purposes and inclinations – all of his outward actions and much more his tongue, which seem to be most in one’s own power, and out of the reach of all other beings – are being guided by God. Whether the individual is spiritual or secular, we can tell if they are God’s anointed when their behavior and their words model the image of their Maker. Don’t judge their hearts – juts watch their actions!