Oh LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but we acknowledge your name alone. -Isaiah 26:13
I love that verse. It sums up the life of God's people so well. There are many who have power over us, many who claim the title "lord," and frankly, they do have power over us. I do not control my own financial well-being. Sure, I can budget and live within my means, but I can't force my employer to pay me or keep me employed. Economics, politics, wars and alliances, all the systems of which I am a part, each has its "lord," its ruler, and I am beneath them. The Jews knew that lesson well, especially after the exile.
However, the beauty of the prophetic imagination and vision is the prophets' ability to see beyond the immediate and obvious (although this had very immediate and real world applications). There is a LORD greater than the lords that appear to be in control, and so the challenge is to place honor where it is actually due, in spite of a world of individuals screaming about their own power. The prophets were unanimous; they would acknowledge the LORD alone.
"Be in the world but not of it" is a popular Christian proverb. I like Isaiah's poetry much better. Many lords have ruled over us, but we will acknowledge your name alone.
Stopping point: Isaiah 27