Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing…
Ezra 1:1 (NASB)
Have you been taken by surprise lately by something that you would have never expected? As I write this two occasions come to my mind; my first is a day in June some years ago when the heavens opened and released a snow storm while I walked Cowdenbeath High Street, in Central Fife. My second example is when I bumped into an old friend at the supermarket, who I knew from his mischievious past, to put it politely. He was a changed man in Christ, praise God!
As I read the above verse in my devotions I stopped to ponder the unexpected in the story of Cyrus, King of Persia. I suspect if someone had asked the Israelites who would rescue them they would have named some names, but not Cyrus the king who held them captive. In the prophecies of Jeremiah God had said He would rescue Israel, and He began doing it with Cyrus. His rescue of Israel was an orderly affair, there was nothing random about it so that His Word would be fulfilled to the letter. God “stirred up the spirit” of the most unlikely servant to complete His work, and he obeyed. Cyrus didn’t shirk his calling or hide it in a dark corner, “he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing…” – it was out there for all to see!
Dear reader, in your walk with God expect to be surprised – there is nothing that our Father God cannot do. Such startling incidents are some of the most beautiful proofs of His ability to work wonders, even in the twenty-first century. Expect the unexpected, and praise Almighty God in it!