Ezra begins with God’s direction to Cyrus to send the captive children of Israel back to their own land. We don’t know much about Cyrus other than he was the King of Persia and he conquered Nebuchadnezzar and took all Babylon captive. Archeologists  have discovered what’s been known as the “Cyrus Cylinder.” It’s part of his personal memoirs. This is what he wrote about himself: “I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, legitimate king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four rims (of the earth)… ”

The truth revealed to us in Ezra is that this “Great King” was a pawn in the hands of only Great King, the Lord God Himself. He used Cyrus as an instrument to accomplish His purposes with His own people, and when God was done with Cyrus, he let him go the way of all nations before him. Remember Shelley’s poem, Ozymandias?

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunk less legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

God alone is sovereign. He is sovereign over the kings of the earth and he is sovereign over the lives of men and women as well.

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” 1 John 4:10-11(NLT)