Scripture: Isaiah 45:5-17
Key verses: (5-6) “I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides me there is no God. I arm you, though you do not know me, so 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. ”
Reflection: It is amazing who God will use for God’s purposes. King Cyrus was a great Persian conqueror. He wasn’t an Israelite and he didn’t worship the LORD. He didn’t even know of or about the God of Israel. Cyrus was, however, a different kind of conquering king. He allowed nations he conquered to continue their religious practices and he helped Temples and houses of worship rebuild. Even though he was a worshipper of Marduk (an ancient Babylonian god), he was not inclined to extreme brutality or cruelty. He was tolerant and known for his high moral and ethical values within his religious tradition. Under Cyrus, the Babylonian captivity ended and God prompted him to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. We can only imagine the shock of the Israelites when God declared that Cyrus was God’s shepherd and would perform according to God’s will. How could this be possible since he was a foreigner and not a Jew? The LORD reminded them of who the LORD really is.
This prophetic passage reminds us that there is no one like the LORD. God can use anyone to fulfill the LORD’s purposes.
Prayer: Almighty God, in this time of cynicism and suspicion, we confess it is hard to believe you have the power to use those who are our enemies or are different than us to affect change. Help our unbelief in your amazing power to transform. Forgive us for our prejudice and bias. Guide us as we embrace the salvation that can only come from you. Give us hope. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].