Not to be overly simplistic, but . . .
Uh, no. Let’s be simplistic. Knowing God makes all the difference.
Hovering over the opening verses of Ezra this morning. And one verse in particular has me thinking this, if every world leader believed what this world leader believed, then what a different world it would be.
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:
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel — He is the God who is in Jerusalem.”
(Ezra 1:2-3 ESV)
Over the past few months, as a church we’ve been working our way through the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings. Throughout the book, the message has been clear.
. . . know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will.
(Daniel 4:17, 25, 32 ESV)
Nebuchadnezzar eventually got it (Dan. 4:34-35). His grandson, Belshazzar? Not so much — and so, the handwriting was literally on the wall (Dan. 5:24-27). Cyrus, it would seem, got it too. Oh, the difference it can make in the world when the heart of a world leader is humbled and ready to be stirred up by the LORD.
Think about it, partisan politics doesn’t matter if whoever is in charge knows, really knows, that the God of heaven is the only One whose vote counts. Party platforms which give way to heavenly agendas are gonna make a difference for earthly outcomes. Or, on the other side of the pond, expansionist aggression would be governed by the enlightened apprehension that God alone lays claim to each country.
Yeah, I know it’s simplistic. It’s unrealistic. Nevertheless, it’s true. If all those created by God, knew God, then what a different world this would be.
That kingdom’s coming. Amen?
For now, the only earthly kingdom I impact is my own little realm of decision-making and influence. And if I believed what this ancient world leader believed, then what a different world my little sliver of the world would be. God could stir it up with me too.
Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem.
(Ezra 1:5 ESV)
The hearts of about 50,000 people (Ez. 2:64-65) knew that God was God, and their spirits were stirred to go up. They knew that earthly rule was God given rule, even when that rule was simply over their own lives.
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
(1Corinthians 6:19b-20 ESV)
How then should I live? Jesus is the answer.
Simplistic? Perhaps. Realistic? I’m thinkin’ . . .
By His grace. For His glory.