Cyrus, King of Persia: the Lord’s Anointed
Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates… For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou has not known me… Isaiah 45:1,4
God spoke to Cyrus through the prophet Isaiah, a hundred years or so before Cyrus was born. He was born a subject of the empire of the Medes. There was no Persian Empire, yet. It remained for Cyrus to found it–with God’s help.
It was Cyrus who released the Jews from captivity in Babylon, and ordered God’s Temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). His successors, kings of Persia, saw to it that the project was completed, as we know from Nehemiah.
Cyrus was not a Jew, not a believer, and yet God chose him as his servant. The Persian Empire that he founded was one of the great achievements of the human race, although it was finally destroyed by Alexander the Great. And Cyrus himself, after fulfilling the mission assigned to him by God, fell victim to a lust for power and glory, and met his death far from home, trying to conquer the nomads of the steppes. Like so many great men, he eventually brought about his own fall. Put not your trust in princes.
His career reminds us that God is able and willing to use anyone, even non-Jews, or non-Christians, to carry out His purposes in history. We note that of all the foreign potentates who ruled over the Jews, it was only the Persians–not the Romans, not the Greeks–who treated them justly and were rewarded by their loyalty.
God intervenes in history. It belongs to Him.
I pray He will intervene in our country’s history, to bring us back to our senses and to save us.
And we may be surprised by whom He chooses to do it.
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