Posts Tagged ‘cyrus’


 “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.” Daniel 5:1,2

Sheer rebellion. We look back now and can clearly see Belshazzar’s utter foolishness in defying God, but at the time, he was the guy in power and he sure seemed to be bullet-proof. After all, the mightiest army on Earth had just left and given up the siege around Babylon. Where were those rumors now that there would only be three generations to Nebuchadnezzar’s reign in Babylon? Cyrus was gone. The great Babylon was impregnable! They were stronger than God!

And then came the writing on the wall …

Daniel was an old man by now. Under Belshazzar’s grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel had been a man of great authority in charge of the affairs of state for this great empire. He was a man much sought after for his wisdom and his eerie ability to understand mysteries and dreams. He had a personal connection with God that even the king respected. But not Belshazzar.

Character and integrity are not always passed on to subsequent generations, and Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, although aware of his grandfather’s humbling experience with God, refused to submit to God. He heard Daniel’s warning from the Hebrew prophet that he would be the last of Nebuchadnezzar’s line, but he laughed at it. And now Cyrus, Babylon’s greatest threat, had been defeated and just to show his arrogance and defiance, Belshazzar would bring out the sacred vessels and have a drunken party for a thousand of his lords.

Daniel, who had been set out to pasture, was in his 80’s by now. He knew the time was nigh for the fulfillment of the restoration of Jerusalem that would come after 70 years of captivity. He had served well during those 70 years, but how long it had been! But there would be one more mission for God, his greatest one. He knew the prophesy in Isaiah 44 and 45 well. Whether he understood the details or not was not important. That which God had promised, He would bring to pass. And somehow this revelation had been handed to Daniel to be brought forth at the right time.

And now the queen was calling for him to come into the banquet room to tell the king what the writing on the wall meant.

God does not move according to our time schedule. I guess you already knew that. There is a three-part process that sometimes takes so long, you wonder if it will truly ever come to pass. But God says that he that comes to God has to first believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). The prayer, the promise, and the fulfillment — You pray until you get an answer, and then you wait for it to happen – and it always takes longer than you expected.

How long did Daniel wait? When was the prophesy first revealed to him? Did he know that he could not die until he met Cyrus? Did he stand inside the banquet room to point at the handwriting on the wall and then show this new king the ancient prophesy that was 400 years old with Cyrus’ name clearly written along with a full description of exactly how he would conquer Babylon? Did Cyrus the new king turn slowly to look at that handwriting and feel a cold chill come across him that it was God, not Cyrus, that had conquered this city?

They say that God moves in mysterious ways. I suppose that’s true. I, for one, have quit trying to figure out what He is doing. I often joke that I subscribe to the Alfred E. Newman philosophy from Mad Magazine, “What, me worry?” It’s a whole lot simpler to just let God be God. He does a pretty good job of it when He is free to do things His way. Just let me get out of the way.

Sometimes we put a time limit on God. We toss our prayers out there, click our heels three times and expect to be back in Kansas. And when the answers to those prayers fail to materialize,  is that a failure of God’s timing, or a failure of us to pray until we get a real answer? Do you pop out 60-second snapshot prayers and expect God to jump to your rescue, or do you contend before God, grab hold of the horns of the altar, and continue to cry out to God until you feel that anointing come down with that sweet knowledge that you know that you know that your prayer is answered? That kind of victory in prayer gives you a grip on an answer that is sure for Eternity. Without that, all you have is a case of wishful thinking … and that is presumption, not faith.

Daniel was a man of prayer – three times a day – and yet he ruled the largest kingdom on Earth at that time. He made time to pray, and he sought the face of God until He answered him. That’s why when Daniel prayed, God listened. If ever there was a man to choose for this incredibly important mission that would take 70 years to fulfill, it was Daniel.

God chose wisely.

“But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.” Ezra 5:13

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