October 24, 2023
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 45:1-7
“This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of…”. (Isaiah 45:1)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever seen God work in someone that you totally never expected? Maybe the person was a nominal Christian or maybe they were the furthest thing from a Christian. It can catch us off guard at times with how God can use evil people for His will to be done. In the events leading up to our Old Testament text today from Isaiah. Israel found themselves in exile from God. Another way of putting it is that they were “divorced” from God. However, God was still at work for their benefit. When Israel was sent into exile, God used both the Babylons and the Persians to do His will for the children of God.
Today we hear of the Persian King named Cyrus. Cyrus is not an Israelite, he never will be one of them. He is a pagan ruler who knows nothing about the remarkable history between Israel and God. However the God of Israel will use Cyrus for the deliverance of Israel. In the reading today, notice that in working with good or evil, God is the active agent in this story, no one else. Read the text again and you will see almost every sentence begins with “I”, the “I” being God. “I will go before you,” “I have grasped,” “I will give,” “I call you,” “I name you,” “I equip you,” “I form” and “I make.” They are all there. And why does God take action through this man named Cyrus; for the sake of his servant, Israel, His chosen people. All of God’s actions are done for the sake of his people who he has not forgotten.
God could have raised one of Israel’s own up to do what needed to be done, but instead he chose an outsider. By the way, notice in verse 1 what Isaiah says of Cyrus. Cyrus is the “anointed one”. The word in Hebrew for “anointed one” means “Christ” in Greek. Not something you might have expected. God’s work is in unusual and surprising ways. Simply look at the cross and see the dead Son of God bringing the Life of the World to you. In our sins we are divorced from God. However Jesus’ unending love for you, His bride, placed him on the cross. He became the exiled one so that we could be brought back into the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father and the inheritance prepared for you in the life of the world to come. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, in Your mercy guide the course of this world so that Your Church may joyfully serve You in godly peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
– Pastor Kent Schaaf is pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Little Rock. AR..
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.