In the Book of Daniel, there were four powerful kings that God used as His instruments. We’ve looked at three that had a strong spirit of pride: Nebuchadnezzar was under the “The Seduction of Pride”; Belshazzar was under “Stubbornness of Pride”; Darius was under the “Deception of Pride”; and now the last king, Cyrus, the “Reversal of Pride.” All four of these kings reigned during the 70 years that the Jewish people were in captivity in Babylon and Daniel ministered to them all.
Daniel 1:21 – Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus. Daniel 6:28 – So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
The book of Daniel has 12 chapters; the first 6 are what happened during the 70 years while God’s people were in exile. The next 6 chapters, are the visions that Daniel received. Some of these visions are about the end times; some are about what would happen up to when the Messiah came and about what happened when He came.
Daniel 7:1 – In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. Daniel 9:1 – In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me – to me Daniel – after the one that appeared to me the first time.
Daniel 9:1 – In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans – (Verse 2) in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD, given through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem. (Daniel understood that they would be released after 70 years.)
Daniel 10:1 – In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. Daniel 11:1 – “Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.”
If you have been seduced by pride, then you are stubborn and easily deceived. You cannot get through to someone who is stubborn and full of pride. They are so hard to talk to, especially about the things of God. They have a closed mind.
Some people have to learn humility the hard way and force God’s hand to humble them, as Nebuchadnezzar and Darius was. Belshazzar died the very night that he saw the hand writing on the wall. However, Cyrus shows us that pride can be reversed.
Why Does God Humble People?
Because “Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall!” If people will open their minds and hearts to the All Mighty, they will learn humility before they are destroyed. He loves us enough to show us when we are being stubborn or deceived.
God’s Plans For Us Are For Our Good
Deuteronomy 8:16 – “who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end. This passage was what God said to the children of Israel in the wilderness. But what about when they were captive in Babylon, was that for their good also?
Jeremiah 24:5 – “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. God didn’t do this to punish them. They had not let the land rest every seven years like He had instructed them, so this was His way of teaching them humility, He disciplined them. He did it for their good.
Jeremiah 29:10 – “For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.” (Verse 11) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thought of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
These next verses are the last two verses in the Hebrew Bible, not the book of Malachi. Our Bible is not written in chronological order, as some will argue. The Hebrew Scriptures end with the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem. Hebrew Scripture is divided different then our Bible: The “Torah” is first, then the “Prophets,” and then the “Writings.”
2 Chronicles 36:22 – Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, (Verse 23) Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdom of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? May the LORD God be with him, and let him go up!
God Knows You Before You Know Him
It is believed that Daniel not only read Jeremiah’s writings, he read Isiah and showed them to Cyrus and then Cyrus gave the decree to build the temple. Daniel had access to the Scriptures. Isaiah 45:1 – Thus says the LORD to His appointed. To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held – To subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not shut: (Verse 4) For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.
Isiah 44:28 – Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ‘
Cyrus made the proclamation: “God has told me!” How else would he have known, but Daniel show him the words of Isaiah? What Isaiah wrote, was 150 years before Cyrus was even born and made this proclamation. The other amazing thing is that God said, “I named you!” And God calls Cyrus His shepherd. The first 10 years of Cyrus’ life, he was raised by a shepherd and his wife. He had been taken at birth and traded for a dead baby. His grandfather was king and had a dream that his grandson, when born, would one day overthrow the grandfather and that’s exactly what Cyrus did. And that’s how Cyrus got back in the palace and became king. However, God knew all that and it was written down about 150 years before it happened!
When Daniel shows Cyrus that God knew all this and is the One that named him, what else could he do but what God commanded him to do?
God’s Plans For Us Includes Provision
Ezra 1:4 – And whoever remains in any place where he sojourns, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem. Ezra 3:7 – They also gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre to bring cedar logs from Lebanon to the sea at Joppa, according to the permission which they had from Cyrus king of Persia.
God was providing for them in everything they needed through Cyrus. This is the “reversal” of pride. When pride gets reversed in our life, we immediately step into God’s plan and also step into God’s provision. If you will recall when the children of Israel walked in the Promise Land, there were houses already there, built by giants. Now when they go back to Jerusalem, after being humbled for 70 years, they begin to build with everything being provided for them.
We all have a choice whether to humble ourselves or wait until God does it. I’d rather do it myself. But He will do it in order to accomplish His purpose. If God has to do it, I can almost guarantee, it is not going to be pleasant.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. We humble ourselves before we pray! Praying with a prideful heart won’t go as far as the ceiling.
James 4:10 – Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. Jesus is the perfect example that we all should follow: Philippians 2:5 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (Verse 6) who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, (Verse 7) but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Verse 8) And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Humble – to rank yourself below others. Philippians 2:3 – let each esteem others better than himself.
Renew your mind with the word of God; take every thought captive; have the mind of Christ. If we do that, we will humble ourselves and God won’t have to do it for us!