Isaiah 45:1-7 (NRSV)
Chapter 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: Verse 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, Verse 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. Verse 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.
Verse 5I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, Verse 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. Verse 7I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.
These verses from Isaiah 45 remind me of the hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.” Here we hear how God used the Persian king Cyrus, who didn’t even know God, to set God’s people free from captive exile and bring them home again. Filled with what God was doing through Cyrus, these verses make clear to us who was acting and making these good things happen. This reflects God’s story—of how God called Abraham and formed a people; called prophets who felt they couldn’t do the job. A kind card from our synod office recently reminded me of 40 years of ordination, though I told people years ago I would never become a pastor. Like Cyrus, you may be unaware that God is using your life for the good of God’s people and to spread the gracious kingdom of Jesus Christ. Remember: “As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25)
Heavenly Father, as you promise, work your good and gracious will in and through our lives and throughout this world. In Jesus Name. Amen.