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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:

Isaiah 44:24-45:13

44:24 This is what the Lord, your Protector, says,

the one who formed you in the womb:

“I am the Lord, who made everything,

who alone stretched out the sky,

who fashioned the earth all by myself,

25 who frustrates the omens of the empty talkers

and humiliates the omen readers,

who overturns the counsel of the wise men

and makes their advice seem foolish,

26 who fulfills the oracles of his prophetic servants

and brings to pass the announcements of his messengers,

who says about Jerusalem, ‘She will be inhabited,’

and about the towns of Judah, ‘They will be rebuilt,

her ruins I will raise up,’

27 who says to the deep sea, ‘Be dry!

I will dry up your sea currents,’

28 who commissions Cyrus, the one I appointed as shepherd

to carry out all my wishes

and to decree concerning Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’

and concerning the temple, ‘It will be reconstructed.’

45:1 “This is what the Lord says to his chosen one,

to Cyrus, whose right hand I hold

in order to subdue nations before him,

and disarm kings,

to open doors before him

so gates remain unclosed:

2 ‘I will go before you

and level mountains.

Bronze doors I will shatter

and iron bars I will hack through.

3 I will give you hidden treasures,

riches stashed away in secret places,

so you may recognize that I am the Lord,

the one who calls you by name, the God of Israel.

4 For the sake of my servant Jacob,

Israel, my chosen one,

I call you by name

and give you a title of respect, even though you do not submit to me.

5 I am the Lord, I have no peer,

there is no God but me.

I arm you for battle, even though you do not recognize me.

6 I do this so people will recognize from east to west

that there is no God but me;

I am the Lord, I have no peer.

7 I am the one who forms light

and creates darkness;

the one who brings about peace

and creates calamity.

I am the Lord, who accomplishes all these things.

8 O sky, rain down from above!

Let the clouds send down showers of deliverance!

Let the earth absorb it so salvation may grow

and deliverance may sprout up along with it.

I, the Lord, create it.’”

9 One who argues with his Creator is in grave danger,

one who is like a mere shard among the other shards on the ground!

The clay should not say to the potter,

“What in the world are you doing?

Your work lacks skill!”

10 Danger awaits one who says to his father,

“What in the world are you fathering?”

and to his mother,

“What in the world are you bringing forth?”

11 This is what the Lord says,

the Holy One of Israel, the one who formed him,

concerning things to come:

“How dare you question me about my children!

How dare you tell me what to do with the work of my own hands!

12 I made the earth;

I created the people who live on it.

It was me—my hands stretched out the sky.

I give orders to all the heavenly lights.

13 It is me—I stir him up and commission him;

I will make all his ways level.

He will rebuild my city;

he will send my exiled people home,

but not for a price or a bribe,”

says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.