1Thus 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.
Today’s reading from Isaiah is about the prophet’s prediction of God choosing Cyrus, a future powerful leader, who would free the Israelites from their captivity in Babylon. (Cyrus came to power about 120 years after the death of Isaiah.) After their release from Babylon, the Israelites would return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and temple of the God of Israel.
In reading today’s passage, I am struck by the number of refugees in our world today. It is upsetting to read accounts from people who believe that refugees should just “go back home.” I believe most of us have seen video of what places like Syria look like right now. Although progress is being made against terrorist strongholds, utter destruction is what “home” looks like for these refugees. Sadly, what awaits them outside their country is not much better. Their passage to a safer land is often violent, resulting in death for some. And when they arrive in a new country, they are frequently shunned and considered unwanted and unwelcome.
Cyrus, according to God’s plan, used his power to free the Israelites so that they could return to Jerusalem so that they could rebuild the city and their lives. Is there a powerful ruler today who would do the same for the tens of thousands of refugees in our world?
God of love, light, and forgiveness, show us how to work together for peace in our world, so that no one must flee their homes in order to survive. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Written by Sue Hamilton
Director of Music Ministries