Often, deliverance comes in the most unexpected of ways. When people or nations in desperate need of deliverance look toward traditional leaders and find none forthcoming, God moves in unexpected ways and raises an unconventional leader to work on his behalf, for his people. The story of Cyrus is one such example.
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “ ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. (Ezra1:1-3)
The nation of Israel had fallen far. From the glory days of David and Solomon, progressive deterioration set in because the people and their kings rejected God. Eventually they lost their kingdom and were sent into exile by the Babylonians. Not only had they lost their prosperity, they could no longer worship their God in their temple. Desperate, repentant and hopeless, the nation seeks the face of the Lord and he arouses a most unlikely savior, Cyrus, king of Persia.
This passage highlights 3 facts. First, the word of the Lord is always fulfilled. Through the darkest moments and the most desperate situations, his word shall always triumph. His power is unmatched and he is sovereign over all. What a grand reassurance that is for one who believes! When things don’t go your way, reflect on your failures, repent of your sins and never lose hope in God who can turn things around in the blink of an eye.
Second, the passage talks of how God specifically moves the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia. It appears non-intuitive for God to move the heart of one who wasn’t really a believer. Cyrus was no David, but he was as much an agent of the Almighty God as David was. Imagine how difficult it would have been for the exiled Israelite nation, hoping for a Jewish Savior to heed the call of Cyrus, a heathen king, now moving on their behalf, to re-build the temple.
Lastly, Cyrus undertook the task of re-building the temple as a personal mission from God. Often, men unexpectedly elevated to leadership positions come away with a strong sense that the Lord accomplished it for them and proceed to move the needle of history in favor of God’s people. Emperor Constantine of Rome, in the 4th century, AD, who through several brutal wars, with the odds against him, found himself supernaturally elevated to being the sole Emperor of Rome, came away with a sense of mission to protect and elevate the Christian church, which had been persecuted for centuries after Christ’s death.
Today, God’s unlikely saviors abound. Western nations, once the core of Christian values and mission, today find themselves in disarray, as ungodliness in the garb of progressiveness and liberalism have taken foothold in the society. People thirsty for spiritual revival in the land, are hopeful that the ‘miraculous’ change in power in United States last week will go down in history as God’s way for raising an unlikely savior to work on their behalf. Churches are no different- when a lethargic laity and an irresponsible clergy despise God’s mission, perhaps unlikely saviors need to be aroused.
God’s not dead, he’s alive; with unlikely saviors, he also tells us that he has a great sense of humor!
- CONTENTS OF THE ARK
- THE ESCALATION OF FAITH