Vol.5, No. 40 – October 18, 2020
Who is in charge? — Ezra 1:1
In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing. –Ezra 1:1
Who is really in charge here?
This year, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Jerry Nadler acted as if they were in charge. How about Castro, Arafat, or Putin, or Kim Jung Un. None of these.
It is the same person that was in charge in 538 B.C. (actually before, and will be in the future). Cyrus was top dog of the vast Persian Empire (modern Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, and just about any other territory his war machine desired. According to verse 2, King Cyrus boasted that all the kingdoms of the earth were his.
Cyrus was a polytheist. He worshiped the Persian gods; however, he gave recognition to the many regional gods, and to rally popular support (that seems always to be the case), he took three politically correct actions:
- He returned stolen images
- He rebuilt broken down temples
- He resettled displaced people to their homelands
How nice, and he admitted through his actions he was seeking to gain divine favor (from whatever god was in his presence).
HOWEVER . . . the Almighty God of heaven has His plans and purposes. The Lord God Almighty moves kings, emperors, and the common person to accomplish His broad sweeping intention.
The book of Ezra challenges the reader to believe that God works within a specific framework, including time. He has His plan, He keeps His Word, and His prophecies will, absolutely, be fulfilled.
Some arrogant and envious anti-Semitic Babylonian was probably staring at the process. As an activist, stating a case on the Capital Hill of Persia. What a lucky break for the Jews. Wonder how much they contributed to the political kitty. It seems like that is the way it goes—for the followers of Yahweh! Our king issues a royal edict allowing these foreigners to go scot-free! Wow, can it get any worse!
No. Cyrus had his plans, but the providence is God’s.
- Abraham—a ram caught in the thicket on top of Mount Moriah
- Joseph—from the doghouse to the penthouse
- Moses—from a basket to adopted son
- Jonah—from the belly of the fish to an evangelist in Nineveh
- And a seemingly endless testimony of God’s plans with His people
- What is your testimony?
In 1787, Benjamin Franklin spoke the following to the Constitutional Convention: In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national good fortune. Now, have we forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived for a long time, 81 years, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of man. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
Who have you acknowledged as in control of your life, your family, your church, your work, your country, and the world? How does that play out in your life? There is to be only one in charge. If we place another first (including ourselves), we practice an untruth, regardless of what we want.
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. –Proverbs 16:33 (As if saying, We toss a coin, to see if it is heads or tails, but it is the Lord who controls its direction; hence its decision.)
Who is in charge . . . Ezra 1:1