The Lord Stirs

The Book of Ezra records the return of the Jewish people to Judah after about fifty years of Babylonian captivity. They were granted permission to return and rebuild their temple and their culture after King Cyrus and the Persians took over the Babylonian Empire. This grant came in the form a a decree given by Cyrus, but scripture also reveals that this was truly a decree from God, based on his promises: “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) The unstoppable nature of God is evident in this first verse. Cyrus was anointed by God according to the prophet Isaiah and was given his authority and rule by God alone, at a time appointed by God alone. The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that God’s people would return to the land (Jer 29:10) after their Babylonian captivity. In our text, God’s chosen ruler (Cyrus) frees God’s chosen people (the Jews) based on promises made by God’s chosen prophets (Isaiah and Jeremiah) for the precise moment in history of which we read. God is in control of rulers, history, and prophecy. He is truly unstoppable!