Wednesday, October 19, 2011

He Turns the Hearts of Kings

The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1 ESV)

Artaxerxes

God is sovereign and does what He pleases. It’s abundantly clear throughout Scripture that no earthly power can thwart or withstand His will. Consider Ezra’s testimony concerning Artaxerxes, after the king made a decree strongly supporting the rebuilding of the temple and the establishment of God’s law (and the law of the king – see Ez. 7:26) in Israel:
Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me. (Ezra 7:27-28 ESV)

Cyrus

Earlier in the book of Ezra (and in 2 Chronicles), we read a similar narrative about Cyrus, king of Persia:
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: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. (Ezra 1:1-2 ESV)

Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar made a similar declaration after his humiliation described in Daniel 4:
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:34-35 ESV)

God is Able

As the One who grants authority and power to men, God is fully capable of ‘turning the hearts of kings.’ This holds true even in the midst of political tumult and national apostasy.

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