Cyrus, My Servant
February 8, 2012, 9:05 AM

Here is the sermon text for this Sunday.  As I told you last Sunday, the topic of Isaiah's Servant is a well-debated, much-traveled topic.  However, this Sunday's text is in the same category.  Point being, if Isaiah of Jerusalem -- an eighth century BC prophet -- wrote all of the book that bears his name, then how can he name the name of an historical figure--Cyrus the Persian -- that came on the scene nearly two hundred years after his own demise?  Why, Isaiah would have had to, gulp, here I'm going to say it...he would have had to have been able to foresee the future! (Playing the theme from the Twilight Zone in my head now.)  That doesn't happen in real life!  Then again, guys don't walk on water or successfully command a storm to subside or turn water into wine or rise from the dead either!  Go figure.

(This, by the way, is not one of the "Servant Songs."  We will get to the second song the following week.)

Anyway, here it is.  The title is probably going to be, "The Downpayment."

Isa. 44:24-45:8 (NIV)

"This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, 'It shall be inhabited,' of the towns of Judah, 'They shall be rebuilt,' and of their ruins, 'I will restore them,' 27who says to the watery deep, 'Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,' 28who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid."'

45:1 "This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.  3I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. 4For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me.

5I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. 8"You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it.

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