A Shocking Surprise

A Shocking Surprise

This sermon is based on Isaiah 44:24-45:13, which reads:

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
    who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, who made all things,
    who alone stretched out the heavens,
    who by myself spread out the earth;
25 who frustrates the omens of liars,
    and makes fools of diviners;
who turns back the wise,
    and makes their knowledge foolish;
26 who confirms the word of his servant,
    and fulfills the prediction of his messengers;
who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,”
    and of the cities of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt,
    and I will raise up their ruins”;
27 who says to the deep, “Be dry—
    I will dry up your rivers”;
28 who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd,
    and he shall carry out all my purpose”;
and who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be rebuilt,”
    and of the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”

45 Thus 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:
I will go before you
    and level the mountains,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
    and cut through the bars of iron,
I 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.
For 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.
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.
I form light and create darkness,
    I make weal and create woe;
    I the Lord do all these things.

Shower, O heavens, from above,
    and let the skies rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation may spring up,
    and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also;
    I the Lord have created it.

Woe to you who strive with your Maker,
    earthen vessels with the potter!
Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, “What are you making”?
    or “Your work has no handles”?
10 Woe to anyone who says to a father, “What are you begetting?”
    or to a woman, “With what are you in labor?”
11 Thus says the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Will you question me about my children,
    or command me concerning the work of my hands?
12 I made the earth,
    and created humankind upon it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
    and I commanded all their host.
13 I have aroused Cyrus in righteousness,
    and I will make all his paths straight;
he shall build my city
    and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,
    says the Lord of hosts.

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