Monday, October 10, 2011

Pentecost 18a - Isaiah 45:1-7

Cyrus the Great was good to all the gods who had been displaced by the Babylonians returning “the images of the gods… to their places and I let them dwell in eternal abodes.” (The Cyrus cylinder 538 BC) Granted he hoped for something in return. “May all the gods whom I settled in their sacred centers ask daily of Bêl and Nâbu that my days be long and may they intercede for my welfare.” But he was especially kind to the exiles from Judah and not only sent them home but funded the rebuilding of the temple and the reestablishment of sacrifices according to the Law of Moses. Not that he gave the God of Israel sole credit for making him “Cyrus, king of the world, great king, mighty king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters...” But then Cyrus didn’t know he was a pawn in God’s game and that the little “g” gods couldn’t hear or answer any of his prayers. The lesson of Cyrus is that God’s good and gracious will is done with or without prayer (Luther’s explanation to the 3rd petition of the Lord’s Prayer) so that sometimes even less than pious people perform holy acts.


  1. Good word, Phil.
    GOD's providence never ceases to amaze me. How he can take the decisions of sinners seriously and still accomplish his will through them is, to me, the deepest mystery of the mystery that is GOD.

  2. A fascinating and edifying post. Thank you. Many of my teachers/tutors/lecturers over the past six decades have been non-Christians and yet have taught me much that I can put to good use in my life and work as I walk with Christ.