In the traditional Haggadah, the book of liturgy which is read at the Passover Seder meal, one statement that is particularly relevant to Israel today says: “An enemy rises in every generation to annihilate us.” The Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who oversees the world’s largest terrorist apparatus, has publically declared repeatedly that “there is no cure for Israel but annihilation.”
As Israel continues its week-long Passover Feast of Unleavened Bread, Iran has launched a six-day series of large-scale military drills of their army, navy and air force spanning 2.2 million square kilometers. This massive show of force is code-named, “Mohammed, the Messenger of God.” There is also an unprecedented influx of advanced weapons from Iran flowing into Syria and Lebanon who share our northern border. Indeed the enemy is at our gates.
The Handwriting on the Wall
During the Babylonian captivity God intervened in a drunken, blasphemous orgy of the king of Babylon, his nobles, wives and other assorted women. As they praised their idolatrous gods, “The fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall” (Dan. 5:5). Terror struck the party. The prophet Daniel was brought in to explain the writing on the wall. Daniel told the king that “the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified” (Dan. 5:23). The prophet told the king the handwriting on the wall proclaimed that his kingdom was “finished” and was to be “divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (v. 28). “That very night” the king “was slain” (v. 30)! Our God’s mighty hand has always been behind history.
The Hand of God on Cyrus
In a great irony of history God chose a Persian king to finance and support a remnant of Jews to return to Israel. Today, Persia is Iran.
“Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held [“seized”] --
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut” (Is. 45:1).
Cyrus was the founder of the Persian Empire who conquered Babylon, as Daniel had prophesied. But Isaiah’s prophecy was written 200 years before Cyrus was born! God “seized” the hand of the heathen King Cyrus and anointed him to free the Jews from captivity. God calls Cyrus “My shepherd” who will rebuild Jerusalem and lay the foundation of the temple (Is. 44:28). God’s hand was guiding and directing history again. God “stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia… to build the God of Israel a “house at Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:1-2). For us in these perilous times, the truth that we are serving the God of history is greatly comforting and reassuring.
God’s Hand on God’s Man, Ezra
Ezra was a Jewish scribe in Persia whom God hand-picked to receive the blessings and support of King Cyrus. At least six times the Bible says that “the hand of his God was upon him.” Why did God choose Ezra? There were two very good reasons. First, God had found a man who was “separated from the filth” around him (Ezra 6:21). Secondly, Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord and to do it” (7:10). He was “encouraged, as the hand of God was upon me” (7:28). Ezra was separated to his Lord and loved, taught, and obeyed God’s word. He practiced what he preached. The hand of the God of history will always be upon those who follow the example of Ezra.
The Hand of God in a New York City Subway
The first time we heard David Wilkerson speak we were powerfully impacted. On the way home in the subway Karen could not stop crying. I said to her, “What is it?” She replied, “I don’t know, but the hand of God is on me!” The hand of God was leading, directing and encouraging us. That night our history was about to change.
The Hands of Yeshua
Yeshua said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). Then “He laid His hands on them” (v. 15).
If we prepare our hearts to seek the Lord, and come to Him as a little child, we too will feel our Master’s touch. Our Passover Lamb with His nail-scarred hands is always reaching out to His children. Let us take His hand and let Him lead us into the history He has prepared for each of us.