"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
Seventy years had gone by since the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Jeremiah had prophesied that the exiles would return from Babylon after seventy years. That very year, the Babylonian Empire was overthrown and replaced by the Persian Empire, headed up by sixty-year-old King Cyrus.
Think about it. The captives who had been taken away as children were now old men and women. Their children and grandchildren, born in Babylon, had never seen Jerusalem. They grew up hearing stories from their elders of Judah’s unfaithfulness to God, their abandonment of His Word, and the terrible consequences of that apostasy.
The roots of the Pharisee movement began during these years. Synagogues were established and Rabbis, teachers of the Scriptures, rose up to teach the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets to these children, growing up in Babylon. They urged them to be faithful to God’s Word and believe His promises.
And right on schedule God moved the heart of Cyrus, suddenly the most powerful man in the world, to issue a decree “so that the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.”
God will keep His Word. The ebb and flow of kingdoms and empires is an instrument to bring about His will. He will use unrighteous pagan rulers who know nothing about His Word and care only for power, to see to it that His Word is fulfilled.
Don’t put your faith in politicians or judges. Even the good ones, with the best of intentions, are bound by the limitations of their office. “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:9)
Lord God, as I watch the executive decrees, legislations and judicial decisions being handed down at every level, I know that this World is not friendly to Your Kingdom, but I know, too, that You will fulfill your Word. I will trust You, whatever comes. Help me to stand in faith on Your Promises; Jesus, You are Lord of all. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles