“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 want to stop here at the end of this verse. We’re not going to dive into what Cyrus king of Persia proclaimed. I just want to stop here and think about the wonder of this verse, especially on the first day of a New Year, and to read Ezra 1:1. And we prayed according to similar language at the end of 2 Chronicles chapter 36, “But here are the people of God in exile” and Ezra 1:1, from the very beginning of this chapter, we see a picture of the Sovereignty of God over all history and overall nations and over all kings.
You can bank your life on the Word of God and the sovereign operation of God’s Spirit in the world.
When we read in the Bible about the king’s heart being in the hand of the Lord, here’s an illustration of that. Cyrus king of Persia makes a decree and what happens after this, Cyrus king of Persia is making a decree that the people of God can return to Jerusalem and build the temple there. And it’s all because the law-word stirred up his spirit, according to the word God had spoken through Jeremiah. So did you hear that? Like what we take away from Ezra chapter one is, one that the word of the Lord is sure, is a rock that God will do what he says in his word, guaranteed. You can bank your life on the Word of God and the sovereign operation of God’s Spirit in the world. History is not random. That world events and world leaders are ultimately under the rule of God’s Sovereignty and he is guiding all things in history toward a definite end, a definite aim, a definite goal.
And obviously, we read in the rest of scripture where that end, that aim, that goal is in every tribe, tongue and nation represented around his throne, giving him glory for his salvation.
So let’s pray accordingly, “Oh God, first and foremost we say today at the beginning of this New Year, we trust in your word. Your word is a rock. We pray that you’d help us to stand on that. Every day we pray Psalm one over our lives that we would meditate on your word and that you would lead us and guide us and bless us that we would experience the blessed life, the happy life, the full life, no matter what happens in this world, as we’re standing on your word, we praise you that all of your word will be fulfilled.
And God, we are so thankful as we look around us in the world, as we look to a New Year with all that it holds, we are so thankful to know that you are sovereign over it all, that you’re king over it all, that Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to you that you are the Lord. And so we enter into this New Year with confidence in you, not in ourselves, not in our circumstances, not in anyone or anything else, but with confidence in you and God we pray that you would lead and guide our lives this year for your ends, for your aim, for your goal. Lead and guide our lives to glorify your name in our homes, in our workplaces, in our churches and among the nations. God, we pray that you spend us however you want making your glory known in the world around us, making your grace known, help us to lead people to Jesus this year.
And God, we pray you would help us to lead the peoples to Jesus. God we pray for the spread of your gospel and your grace and your glory among the nations through us, among unreached people like the Baluch and the Saudi Arabs and Tibetan Buddhists. God, we pray for the spread of your Gospel to more and more people groups this year, the spread of your word under your sovereign leadership. Oh God on this New Year’s day, we say all of our trust is in you, in your word and we pray that you lead and guide us for your glory in this year, in Jesus’ name we pray according to Ezra 1:1, Amen.
View the 2022 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan.