I like epic movies, with all their grandeur and heroism. Who can forget “Gladiator”, “Brave Heart”, “The Ten Commandments”, “The Last Emperor”, “The Lord of the Rings”, or “Ben Hur”?
I also like to read about the great leaders of the past like the Greek Alexander, The Great, and learn his amazing war tactics, that are still taught in military schools nowadays.
But there is another leader that is less famous, while not less amazing: Cyrus, The Great, King of Persia.
Cyrus overtook the Babylonian Empire to create the largest empire up to that point in history.
The way he conquered the walled capital city of Babylon in 540 B.C. is particularly interesting. Babylon was considered impenetrable, with its extraordinarily tall and thick walls and its military power. The technique used by Cyrus army was quite clever: instead of climbing the walls, or break through the gates, they diverted the waters of the Euphrates river that crossed the city, and entered through the river bed, under the walls. There was not even a battle. They deposed the king and took over the empire.
Another remarkable characteristic of Cyrus as a leader was his respect for the religion and culture of the conquered peoples. For example, when he conquered Babylon, the Jews had been held captive there for 70 years, and Cyrus allowed them to go back to Judea and start rebuilding Jerusalem.
But the most amazing thing about this man is that a couple hundred years before his time, the Hebrew prophet Isaiah states that his people would one day be captive in a foreign land, and that a man named Cyrus would free them.
Here is how Isaiah describes the words of God:
“I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city, and set my exiles free…” Isaiah 45:13
Two hundred years before those historical facts happened, God revealed the details, including the name of the leader chosen to be the one that would free His people.
If that doesn’t make you think about the might power of our God, I don’t know what will.
God has control over history, while at the same time He allows many consequences of our decisions to happen, because otherwise we would all be robots programmed by God in every detail. He intervenes in specific situations, as He finds proper.
As recorded in Daniel 2:21:
“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning”
And to think that same God listens to my prayers is just awesome!