Scripture Readings: Daniel 10 :1, Isaiah 45: 1- 13, Ezra 1

I have stirred him up in righteousness,

    and I will make all his ways level;

he shall build my city

    and set my exiles free,

not for price or reward,” says the Lord of hosts.

Isaiah 45:13

Before we move on to Daniel’s vision, I felt called to spend a little time with Cyrus the Great, the king mentioned in the text of Daniel 10. Cyrus was king when Daniel wrote the words in Daniel 10. He had become king over a large empire, taking over Babylon while the Jews were still exiled there. He was the king that allowed the exiles to return to their homeland after 70 years in Babylon. The interesting part of the story is that Isaiah documented this event, actually naming Cyrus, 200 years before it happened. These are the words of the Lord , “ I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob,  and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. ” (Isaiah 45:3-4) The Lord called him by name, a foreign king of Persia, and anointed him as the ruler to set the exiles free.

“The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia”, according to 2 chronicles 2:22. This king was recognized over and over again as the real reason God’s people were allowed to return to Jerusalem. What reason did God have for using a man like this? God called him righteous, and his righteousness was credited to this stirring of his heart. It’s so interesting to me how God used different people in different times to do his works. Why? We do know that Cyrus later was killed in battle and never had a remarkable conversion to any particular religion. He is credited to be a proponent of social justice and truly sounds like a likeable guy. History tells us that he took over Babylon without a fight, so he most likely was a great negotiator. He helped expand an empire, bore two sons, had a great relationship with his wife and encouraged one of his sons to explore the regions to the empire’s south. Egypt. Which leads us to our next king, Darius the great who expanded the empire even more and to Daniel’s last great vision concerning the kingdoms to the north and the kingdoms to the south.

Today during your prayer time, focus your heart on events past and present. How has God stirred your own heart? How has he stirred your heart for justice? Jesus spoke intently about justice for the poor, the widows, and orphans. As I write this evening, extreme atrocities occur in a distant land, in Ukraine. Spend some time today in prayer for their lands and their people. Could God possibly be stirring your heart to help in some tangible form?