Isaiah 45:1-7 (NRSV)
45Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him and the gates shall not be closed: 2I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, 3I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. 4For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.
5I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, 6so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. 7I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.
The scripture readings appointed for this week remind us to keep the main thing the main thing—and that main thing is God. Today’s reading begins our week by reminding us that there is no other main thing BUT God—the Great I AM. Through the prophet God declares, “I am the LORD, and there is no other.”
And who is God speaking to here? King Cyrus. Surprise! He is to be the “anointed one” whom God has chosen to rescue his people from bondage and isolation—a people thrust from their homeland into exile. But here’s the surprise: while the scattered ones should be expected to know this great I AM, the one anointed by God to procure their freedom and return is their foreign captor—one who does NOT know this great I AM. Yet this enemy king is the one chosen to remind the chosen people that their God still reigns! When has God been revealed to you through unsuspecting servants?
May we be surprised today, LORD, by those through whom you choose to reveal your greatness! Amen.