The God Who Forms Light and Darkness
45 1-7 God’s Message to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whom he took by the hand
To give the task of taming the nations,
of terrifying their kings—
He gave him free rein,
“I’ll go ahead of you,
clearing and paving the road.
I’ll break down bronze city gates,
smash padlocks, kick down barred entrances.
I’ll lead you to buried treasures,
secret caches of valuables—
Confirmations that it is, in fact, I, God,
the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
It’s because of my dear servant Jacob,
Israel my chosen,
That I’ve singled you out, called you by name,
and given you this privileged work.
And you don’t even know me!
I am God, the only God there is.
Besides me there are no real gods.
I’m the one who armed you for this work,
though you don’t even know me,
So that everyone, from east to west, will know
that I have no god-rivals.
I am God, the only God there is.
I form light and create darkness,
I make harmonies and create discords.
I, God, do all these things.
8-10 “Open up, heavens, and rain.
Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!
Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation;
sprout right living.
I, God, generate all this.
But doom to you who fight your Maker—
you’re a pot at odds with the potter!
Does clay talk back to the potter:
‘What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!’
Would a sperm say to a father,
‘Who gave you permission to use me to make a baby?’
Or a fetus to a mother,
‘Why have you cooped me up in this belly?’”
11-13 Thus God, The Holy of Israel, Israel’s Maker, says:
“Do you question who or what I’m making?
Are you telling me what I can or cannot do?
I made earth,
and I created man and woman to live on it.
I handcrafted the skies
and direct all the constellations in their turnings.
And now I’ve got Cyrus on the move.
I’ve rolled out the red carpet before him.
He will build my city.
He will bring home my exiles.
I didn’t hire him to do this. I told him.
* * *
14 God says:
“The workers of Egypt, the merchants of Ethiopia,
and those statuesque Sabeans
Will all come over to you—all yours.
Docile in chains, they’ll follow you,
Hands folded in reverence, praying before you:
‘Amazing! God is with you!
There is no other God—none.’”
Look at the Evidence
15-17 Clearly, you are a God who works behind the scenes,
God of Israel, Savior God.
Humiliated, all those others
will be ashamed to show their faces in public.
Out of work and at loose ends, the makers of no-god idols
won’t know what to do with themselves.
The people of Israel, though, are saved by you, God,
saved with an eternal salvation.
They won’t be ashamed,
they won’t be at loose ends, ever.
18-24 God, Creator of the heavens—
he is, remember, God.
Maker of earth—
he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch.
He didn’t go to all that trouble
to just leave it empty, nothing in it.
He made it to be lived in.
This God says:
“I am God,
the one and only.
I don’t just talk to myself
or mumble under my breath.
I never told Jacob,
‘Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.’
I am God. I work out in the open,
saying what’s right, setting things right.
So gather around, come on in,
all you refugees and castoffs.
They don’t seem to know much, do they—
those who carry around their no-god blocks of wood,
praying for help to a dead stick?
So tell me what you think. Look at the evidence.
Put your heads together. Make your case.
Who told you, and a long time ago, what’s going on here?
Who made sense of things for you?
Wasn’t I the one? God?
It had to be me. I’m the only God there is—
The only God who does things right
and knows how to help.
So turn to me and be helped—saved!—
everyone, whoever and wherever you are.
I am God,
the only God there is, the one and only.
I promise in my own name:
Every word out of my mouth does what it says.
I never take back what I say.
Everyone is going to end up kneeling before me.
Everyone is going to end up saying of me,
‘Yes! Salvation and strength are in God!’”
24-25 All who have raged against him
will be brought before him,
disgraced by their unbelief.
And all who are connected with Israel
will have a robust, praising, good life in God!