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Today, the 16th day of Tishri, is the second day of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). It was on this day in the year 539 B.C. that King Cyrus of Persia captured the city of Babylon, thus bringing an end to the once great Empire of Nebuchadnezzar.

Many verses of Scripture speak of Cyrus, and sometimes he is referred to as God’s “shepherd” and as “anointed.” Today, let us read from 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 and consider something else connected to Cyrus that is very important for the Body.

“Now 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, saying, ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!’” 

First of all notice that it was the Lord who stirred up the spirit of Cyrus in order to build God’s house. That’s interesting because statements made about him – being called God’s “shepherd” and His “servant” are things also said of Nebuchadnezzar. However,  Nebuchadnezzar didn’t restore the walls of Jerusalem and build up the Temple, he destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, as well as carrying many of the people of Judah into captivity. One of those people carried int o Babylon was a prophet called Daniel. 

The point is this: God is sovereign and is truly in control of all things. On one hand, He raises up Nebuchadnezzar as His rod of correction who serves Him by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple. Then He turns around and raises up Cyrus of Persia to rebuild the walls of the city and Temple that the King of Babylon tore down. 

But here is the more poignant issue: these men were compelled to do His will, perhaps even unwittingly but how many of us are willing to be His servant, because it’s in our heart to do so? Must He compel us to serve Him or will we do so from our hearts? In this season of Sukkot, let us recommit ourselves to serve Him because He is sovereign. The One who raised up these kings to fulfill His will is the same One who calls upon each and every one of us to fulfill His will in our lives. He wants us to do it because it’s in our heart to do so. That should be our heart’s desire. 

Shalom!

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