I liked a little Biblical blip mentioned as part of our sermon yesterday. The text was Ezra 5-6 – this is a happy passage in which the Israelites recommence (and then finish) their rebuilding of the temple, and even get an edict from Darius the king of Persia backing them up. I mean, backing them up (ESV).
Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill.
Those Persian kings didn’t mess around. But anyway, chapter 6, after the rebuilding is finished, has a curious ending.
And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
The reason this is a curious ending is because all along we’ve been talking about the king of Persia – why this sudden mention of the king of Assyria? Well, actually, Persia had conquered Assyria, so the king of Persia is the same person as the king of Assyria. But then, why suddenly refer to him as the king of Assyria? Probably because the Israelites had a long history of trouble with the kings of Assyria – they were, if you will, just about as far from God as any men they could imagine. But God, you see, had turned even his heart, even the heart of the king of Assyria. What a glorious and powerful God.
I love little Biblical vignettes like that that you could easily skip right over – this is what pastors are for! And I love that we have a God that can turn the heart of any man.
Well, I can’t put a song in your head and then not give it to you.