In the first year of the King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict declared: "Thus says King Cyrus 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 in Judah." Ezra 1: 1-2 NRSV
God stirs up the spirit of the King of Persia to rebuild Jerusalem. God has used an enemy of God's people to carry out the punishment to the unfaithful of Israel. Now God uses another enemy to bring the people back and rebuild the city of Jerusalem. King Cyrus is not a good person nor does he a worship the one true God. In fact, he is probably trying to pacify all the people under him in order to keep the peace. However, this scripture reminds us that God can use anyone, even our enemies, to carry out God's justice and mercy.
Quickly think of one person whom you consider to be your enemy. What would you do or think if that person did something to benefit Christians around the world? Or even if that person did something that helped you and your church? Would you be able to see God's hand in this? Or would you tend to mistrust that person?
I would have a really hard time trusting. I might be able to see God's hand at work but I still would be very wary of placing my confidence in what that enemy had done. Yet, God works through even the most unlikely in order for God's will to be done. I need to remember that always.
God, we trust you but it is all those other people out there who we distrust. Help us to discern when you are working for good in the world even through those whom we consider to be our enemies. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims