God has a way of accomplishing His will and work through extraordinary means. Take for instance our text from today, taken from Ezra chapters 6&7. God's people Israel have just come through a period of 70 years of disposession from their homeland at the hands of their captors the Babylonian/Persian peoples of the east. Their troubles came not as the result of their adversary's great strength, but becasue of their own moral weakness and unfaithfulness to God. Having learned their painful lesson of the price attached to idolatry and spiritual infidelity, they find themselves in a strange reversal of events.
The three kings of Persia; Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes (arguably NOT the benefactors of the Jews) have each been prompted in their administrations to not only approve the return of God's people to their homeland, but to actually affirm and assist the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem!
Ezra 6:14 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia.
Wow! The onetime captors of God's people become complicit in their restoration and prosperity! It is absolutely amazing how God can transform adersaries into advocates! Just how is this possible? It comes through heart surgery!
We live in such a sin besotted world that we become dull in our ability to apprehend the spiritual brokenness around us and within us. We fail to see that we and our enemies both share the same affliction brought upon us by our sin infection. We become prisoners to own selfish impulses and our natural inclination to devotion to God is kidnapped by our own rebellion against Him. The result is that captive and captor both suffer the same consequence- spiritual heart disease and separation from God (as well as each other).
Then God intervenes. Captor kings (Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes) undergo remarkable tranasformation via Divine heart surgery. Captives such as the exiles of Israel, likewise rediscover a new perspective born of hearts that have been pursuaded by God's merciful (though apparently hard) spiritual intervention. Enemies become allies as they are drawn together to accomplish the common goal o giving God the glory He alone deserves.
The story of the people of Israel and the "Three Kings" of Perisa would be too fantastic to believe were it not for the fact that it is testfied to by history itself! Our God beckons us to Himself by directly speaking to our hearts through His own Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself declared that such divine "heart surgery" was His specialty (John 16:8)!
One day, EVERY knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord!