podcast

#692 – One Leader, One King (Ezra 1:1)

Pray The Word
Ezra
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“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)

I love the opening of the book of Ezra. And did you hear that? “In the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia?” So Cyrus is not a follower of God, not a worshiper of God. “But so that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” If there’s anything we see from beginning to end in scripture … Well, there’s a lot of things we see from beginning to end in scripture, but one theme we see over and over and over again is that what God says he does.

We rest confidently in the reality that one day the True King’s Word will be fulfilled and a multitude from every tribe and tongue will surround His throne.

The word of the Lord will be fulfilled. God keeps his promises. “So in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” So what God has said will come to pass. Then it says, “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.” And what goes on to unfold after this is the story of God bringing his people back from exile and resettling them in Jerusalem where the temple is built. In the book of Nehemiah, God had said he would do this. When God’s people were exiled, as they turn to him, he would restore them. So now he’s doing it and he’s doing it through the life of a pagan king.

God is stirring up his spirit. Now, I don’t know how all this works. There’s a mystery that we see in scripture, how God’s sovereignty works with man’s responsibility, because Cyrus is not a puppet here by any means. We see all throughout scripture that man and woman are responsible for their actions. So there is responsibility there. At the same time, God is sovereignly working in all things to accomplish his word, his purposes. So, yeah, there’s a lot of questions that come with this, but there’s also so much comfort.

You just look around the world today and realize there’s all kinds of leaders making all kinds of decisions, doing all kinds of things, but ultimately there is one leader with a capital L, one king with a capital K, who is over all those other leaders. And he, ultimately, is bringing his word to pass. Ultimately, the word of God will be fulfilled. Ultimately, one day, what we read in revelation will be reality. Every nation, tribe, tongue, people gathered around the throne of our God singing his praises for his salvation. Like we know, new heaven, new earth, all who’ve trusted in God, with him forever. All who have turned from God in Christ separated from him forever.

We know the word of the Lord will be fulfilled and we don’t have to worry about any details in our lives or any details in the world. Ultimately, all that God has said will come to pass. So we live today with confidence amidst a turbulent world. We live with peace because we know the word of the Lord will be fulfilled and God will work in a way that his promises and purposes will come to pass. Oh, God, we praise you for your sovereignty over all things, over all people. We are so thankful that the leaders we see in this world and the headlines here and there are ultimately, ultimately under your lordship. We praise you for that reality. We praise you as our king, as the Lord over all. We trust in you. We trust in you.

We do not put our trust in other leaders in this world, we trust in you and we are so glad that you are trustworthy. We praise you for your promises that will come to pass. God, we look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, to a day when there will be no more sin and no more suffering and no more evil. That all who’ve trusted in you will be with you forever. So God, please, please help us to proclaim this word to others today, that they might know you, that they might trust in you, that they might be with you forever. God, please help us not to know where all the history is headed and then keep that to ourselves. Help us to share that with other people today. Help us to point people to what is coming in the future, to how your word will come to pass. Help us to call people today to trust in you.

We pray for this, for people right around us. We pray for this for peoples all around the world. God, we pray today for the Kazakh people in China specifically, as Kazakh men, and women, and children, families have come to China. God, we pray for the spread of the Gospel among Kazakh people in China, like almost 2 million of them. God, very, very few followers of Jesus, God we plead, we plead for your grace and your glory to be made known, your word to be made known among the Kazakh in China.

We know you desire their salvation. That is your purpose. God bring it to pass. Bring it to pass. Fulfill your word. We pray for the spread of your Gospel among all the nations. We pray for the spread of the Gospel through our lives and our families and our churches. We pray, cause your word to come to pass and work in every detail in our lives and every detail in the world toward that end, for the glory of your name and the good of your people. We pray this with confidence in your word, with trust in your sovereignty, with zeal for the accomplishment of your purposes. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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