“I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth alone … It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.’” – Isaiah 44:24, 28 NASB
History tells us that Cyrus was a mighty conqueror. He was born around 580 BC in what is modern Iran. This was a warfare culture dominated by tribal rivalries. Around 550 BC, he gained power and melded the Medes and Persians into one kingdom. Then, in 539 BC, he led his forces in a swift conquest of Babylon, establishing the Persian empire. Nine years later, he was killed in battle.
We learn much about Cyrus from ancient records including a book written by the Greek historian Xenophon, who served as a mercenary in the Persian army. Human factors helped in his rise to power. But the Bible tells us that God Himself caused his success.
Through prophecy, He called Cyrus, announcing that he would accomplish His purposes, including rebuilding His temple. God promised to “subdue nations before him … open doors before him … shatter the doors of bronze.” He would do this even though he did not know God. But He acted, so the world would know that “besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:1-2, 5).
Looking at today’s world, our thoughts can be dominated by political powers, business and economic forces, media empires, armies and weapons. It can be easy to feel concerned and anxious. But the story of Cyrus reminds us that God is sovereign and in control. He has a plan for the world and you. Trust your life to Him. With Him, nothing is impossible.
Father, I submit my life to You. Use me to impact lives for Your Kingdom. I worship and praise You. In Jesus’ name, amen.