Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Lost Was Found! Happy Ending

Yesterday morning the calm of our lockdown routine was shattered by one blog post by my brother in law, Rick Huntress.  To read the whole poem, you can go to but, these words were rather heart-stopping.

This evening at home

Tested our resolve

When Grammy and great granddaughter

Were nowhere to be found

Rick went on to praise the Lord for hearing their prayers and bringing the wanderers home safely.  Well!  What happened??!!??  We couldn't call home to ask, as everyone should have been asleep.  We could see Rick had posted his poem at 2 or 3 in the morning, so maybe they would all be sleeping late.  We had to wait.  
We held out til after 1 our time, which is after 7 their time, and we called my sister Wendy who is an early riser.  She gave us the first version:  
After a family dinner last night, after 7 PM, Clarity, aged 2 1/2, wanted to go outside and play on the rocks.  My Mom, Clarity's great grandmother, agreed to go, so they put on warm jackets (thankfully!!!) and went out.  A little later, Ryan, Clarity's Dad, looked out the window and said, "I don't see them."  Our daughter Evangel went to look for them, not worried, just curious what they were up to.  She walked out to the rocks, and then all around the house.  This was not normal.  There was no sign of them.  
Everyone in the house now mobilized, with Josh heading out on his bike, Evangel and Ryan grabbed baby Cyrus and went in the truck and my sister Wendy walked up the road.  Rick was in the house in his wheelchair.  Command control, I imagine.  
No one found anything. Evangel decided to call 911.  No one disagreed.  It was just too mysterious.  My Mom has NEVER gone walking in those woods because ticks have been a very big issue since they moved there.  Lyme's disease can make life miserable.  
The 2 theories were not pretty.  
1. They were abducted.  
2.  My Mom fell and was hurt.  But where? 
The police got there fast..11 of them, I think, in 9 cars.  They brought a sniffer dog, and got Clarity's scent off of her car seat.  Evangel said it was horrible giving them a description of what they were wearing.  They also brought a heat seeking drone.   (We thought that was cool!  Who knew Maine had such technology?)  
My Mom told me what happened to her from her angle.  Clarity was "rock hopping" on a stone wall, and balancing on logs and having a great time.  Mom said it was like you read in a book.  She just looked up, and couldn't see the house.  So she told Clarity it was time to go home, and started walking, but the house didn't appear.  
They walked, and called "Helloooo" in case any one was looking, and walked and talked.  Clarity never knew they were lost, and never got at all afraid.  (Good job, Mom!)  
They came to a pond with a boat in it, and saw an abandoned shed, and finally, the back of a yellow house.  Clarity said, "That's not our house." rather flatly, it sounded like.  Grammy said, "That's OK, we can go up their driveway, and get on the road, and go home that way."  And that's what they did. 
Once they were on the road, they saw a man with a flashlight, looking at the side of the road.  They  didn't know it was their pastor, Pastor Storey, searching the side of the road for any sign of a struggle.  After they connected, Pastor Storey called Evangel, who could now have a good cry of relief.  Ryan came out to carry his daughter into the house, and the dogs reached Mom and Clarity soon after.   They did the same loop down through the woods, and back up the hill behind the neighbor's house in about 15 minutes, since they could run and not go the speed of a 2 year old.  
What a reunion!  Bunch of tears flowing, I imagine.  The relief from the fears was great!  Mom was embarrassed, but understood why they had called the police.  
Mom had a reaction after she went to bed a few hours later, of shaking all over.  She has never been lost in the woods her whole life!  But now she made a major family memory none of us will ever forget.  
I asked Clarity about it the next day on the phone.  I said, "I heard you went rock hopping."
"AND log hopping!" she clarified.  No mention of a fearful walk at all.  
Her Aunt Ariel asked if she was scared.  "Yes, I was so scared when I was at Grand-mummy's house and the chicken flew into my face" was the surprising response.  
I told my neighbor here in South Africa about it, and she said if they worst had happened, I'd have had a hard time getting a flight back to America right now, during the lockdown.  That was a sobering thought.   It could have been horrible if something had happened and we lost the two of them and then had to try to get there to comfort the family.  If I let my imagination go there, I can cry just thinking about it.  
We have much to be thankful for!  We praise God and thank Him for His mercies on this, and are just so grateful we can turn to Him with these problems that get out of our control.  He is good.  
Mom a few weeks ago.  

See all those rocks to climb on in the back yard?  
The first police cars arriving.  Neighbors in that house across the street helped search too.  Church was all informed by prayer chain.  We in South Africa were sleeping peacefully and obliviously.  
 The reunion afterward.  Evangel's taking the picture.  Mom is back-to the camera, with the pink jacket.  Grampa Nathan half shows up on the left, then Uncle Rick, Clarity, Aunt Wendy, dad Ryan, Uncle Josh, Aunt Holly, Grandmummy Sandy holding baby Cyrus.
Aunt Wendy and Clarabelle as she calls Clarity.  And they all lived happily ever after and nothing so scary ever happened to them again.  I hope.  

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Shooting in the dark

Paul's been pondering his spiritual journey, and noting something.  He didn't have a lot of mentors.  He had very few one-on-one chats with the men who influenced his walk with the Lord.  He didn't meet for coffee or have accountability partners.  He never went for therapy.

Even with his pastor/missionary dad, there wasn't much one on one.  Paul was fourth of six kids, and teaching was generally delivered to them as a group.

In pondering this, we're seeing a good, seriously encouraging side to this.  Paul has been walking with the Lord since he was 15, with some ups and downs at the beginning, true, but with steady progress and growth.  How?  It's worth knowing because we'd love to replicate him.  We'd love to have hundreds and thousands of Christians who devote their full lives to reaching others with the GOOD NEWS of Jesus, boldly.  Day after day, year after year, on four continents, in season out of season.

In his pondering, he made a list of men who influenced his life.  Besides his mom and dad, there were missionaries, preachers and Bible college teachers.  Most of them didn't know that their teaching was life changing for him.  But their discipling of him was at a distance, not personal.  Biographies of missionaries and evangelists were helpful to him, but, of course, that teaching was not personal.
Gallup, our eye candy, shown with 2 books that influenced Paul's walk and mind  Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians and Pilgrim's Progress.  Don't you love Gallup's cross-eared look? 

His mom did spend personal time in training him, especially getting him started in Bible reading each day and seeing that all six children had their own Bible reading each morning before doing other things.  He spent (and spends) a lot of time in the Bible.  That has been the BIG help in his life and ministry.

He mentioned his sister, Faith.  She launched their whole family into a nursing home ministry that still goes on today, more than 50 years later.  She also set the example for the five siblings of memorizing hundreds of Bible verses well enough to quote them all together accurately.  Faith was his partner when his dad sent them out two by two to speak in public schools in South Carolina.  They sang together while she played the accordion, and then he would preach with chalk art. She was a big help to him. 

Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation...for the Kingdom of God is within you"  (Luke 17:20-21).

I find this so comforting!  We are sowers of the seed.  But the seed falls on different kinds of soil.  We read it in family Bible reading today, which inspired this writing.   :-)   Jesus said, "So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;  And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how" (Mark 4:26,27). 

We don't know what is going on in people's hearts.  We'll be able to tell eventually by their fruits, but we give out the seed (the Word of God) to people, not knowing if they are "good soil" or "rocky" or what.  It takes time to see the "Fruit".  The Doings.

So how does this comfort me?  Because we have so, so many unknowns in our work.  Paul can give out the Word to 1000 people a day, many days.  Many of those people will give a word or a sign that they want to follow Jesus.  Yeah!  That's hopeful!  But because we don't see the heart, we don't know what's going on "underground" as the farmer can't see the seed while it's underground.

That doesn't mean nothing is happening!  The kingdom of God does not come with observation.  Later we'll know some, but I think we'll learn the most about what we helped in, someday in Heaven.

We'd like to do more, to follow up more, to get more feedback, but there is only so much time and strength.  It's OK not to know everything.  God does His work even in the dark.      

Sunday, April 5, 2020

When We Call--and God Comes Down!

When We CaII—And God Comes Down!

God said, “I wiII heaI their Iand”—if we humbIe ourseIves and pray and seek Him and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chon. 7:14).  There have been times when peopIe have gotten serious to seek God and turn from sin.

NearIy everyone in many communities got saved when CharIes Finney preached on turning from sin in NY State in the earIy 1800’s.  That’s a Iot bigger and better than being heaIed of a deadIy disease.  We’re taIking about saIvation from everIasting fire (Matt. 25:41). 

In the 1858 revivaI starting in New York City, peopIe sensed the awesome presence of God.  A ship, the USS North CaroIina, approached New York harbor.  AII 30 or more unsaved saiIors feIt guiIty of their sin.  One had heard the GospeI and toId the others.  By the time the ship docked, aII the saiIors were rejoicing in their newfound saIvation.

When God came down to WaIes in 1904, muItitudes crowded into churches to spontaneous, joyfuI singing, prayers that got anwered, and 100,000 sinners coming to the Lord.  Pubs cIosed down for Iack of business.  JaiIs were nearIy empty.  PeopIe paid oId debts.  Enemies forgave each other.  A Christian man who wouId never teII the GospeI to anyone in pubIic, now won aII 18 men in his sports cIub to the Lord.

In Korea in 1907, eight and nine year oId boys wouId go out into the streets after schooI pIeading with peopIe to turn to God.  In three or four days the boys from one schooI won 400 men!  One new beIiever took a BibIe back to his viIIage and read to his neighbors each day.  In a short time 50 of them had beIieved!  They couId see from the BibIe that they needed to be baptized.  So they baptized themseIves!  It was said that more was accompIished during the revivaI in haIf a day than ordinariIy happened in haIf a year.

Many began to memorize Scripture, hundreds or even thousands of verses.  Two girIs memorized the entire New Testament except for Matthew.

In 1949 as God’s peopIe on the Hebrides isIands sensed their need and were praying, one man reminded God that He had promised to pour His Spirit on those who were thirsty.  The man said that he was thirsty and expected God to keep His promise.  SuddenIy, the stone house shook.  PeopIe in the countryside began waking up and waIking to the church at 11 PM!  They were awe struck—they knew that God was there!

Hundreds made a profession of faith and continued in the prayer meetings.  OnIy four women dropped out of the prayer meetings.

This worIdwide pandemic and coIIapsing economy are wake up caIIs.  We need God’s mercy and supernaturaI power for ourseIves to bring miIIions to turn from sin to trust Jesus for His mercy.

Monday, March 30, 2020

What to Do About COVID-19

What to do about COVID-19

Recognize God’s hand in this pandemic.  “ShaII there be eviI (caIamity) in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6).  God says that He makes peace and creates  caIamity (Isaiah 45:7).  .  “When Thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the worId wiII Iearn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).

God said, “…If I send pestiIence (epidemic)…If My peopIe…shaII humbIe themseIves, and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways; then wiII I hear from heaven, and wiII forgive their sin, and wiII heaI their Iand” (2 Chron. 7:13,14).

Many times, especiaIIy in the book of Judges, God sent severe troubIes to His peopIe for their sin, and when they repented God gave them reIief.

God commands aII men everywhere to repent, turn from sin (Acts 17:30).  God wiII not even Iisten to our prayers if we hoId on to sin (PsaIm 66:18).  “Your sins have hid His face from you that He wiII not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). 

What sins?

AduItery.  Whoever Iooks at a woman to Iust after her has aIready committed aduItery with her in his heart (Matt. 5:28).

Anger.  Whoever is angry with another is in danger of the judgement, and whoever caIIs him a bad name is in danger of heII fire (Matt. 5:22).

Unforgiveness.  Jesus repeatedIy said that if we don’t forgive others, God wiII not forgive us (Matt. 6:15; 18:21-35; Mk. 11:26).

Dishonesty:  AII Iiars go to the Iake of fire (Rev. 21:8)

SeIfishness:  faiIing to share or heIp those in need, faiIure to Iove your neighbour as yourseIf.

Hurting others by what you do or say.  Do unto others as you wouId have them do unto you.

Not making things right with those you’ve wronged.  Jesus said that when you’re bringing a gift to God, and then remember someone has something against you, first go to the person and be reconciIed with him or her.  Then offer your gift (Matt. 5:24).

FaiIure to put God’s Kingdom first—even before necessary things Iike food and cIothes (Matt. 6:19-33). 

These are a few sins.  Get serious.  Read the New Testament to find and obey God’s other commands.  “And this is Iove, that we waIk after His commandments” (2 John vs. 6).  Here’s how we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He that says, I know Him, and does not keep His commands is a Iiar (1 John 2:3,4).

Get this message across to as many others as you can.  “Repentance and remission of sins shouId be preached in His name among aII nations” (Luke 24:47).

Sunday, March 29, 2020

New Babies

 And then there were 5!  All the "cousins" as we call them, Daniel, holding baby Caleb, Connie, Nathanael holding the pillow with baby Cyrus on it, and Jedidiah in the yellow shirt. 
Caleb and Cyrus are "twinning" from two different sides of the Atlantic, and two different hemispheres.  Cyrus is on a pillow Joy gave us. 
 Caleb Seth Young got a special birthday 02/02/2020 and a big welcome from his family!  I found his birthing long and stressful. I'm not cut out to be a midwife, but he did have a safe home delivery with minimal interference from the midwife. 

 The "cousins" enjoyed the broom challenge.
 Connie's 9 now, old enough to be a big help with her fourth brother. 
 Caleb was not troubled by his first trip to church.  Nor was he particularly impressed that his great uncle Paul was the preacher. 
 Jedidiah is now 4, and suddenly not the baby of the family any more, but he's intrigued by his baby brother and very loving. 
 Great Uncle Paul prayed a blessing over baby Caleb.  He's been born into a fun family, and will be trained to serve the Lord. 

A month later we had the loss of our dog 11 1/2 year old dog Berwick.  Berwick was a good, faithful dog in these last years.   She was a beautiful German Shepherd, named after South Berwick, Maine, where Paul and I first met. 

We could see that she was aging, as she began having trouble climbing the 17 steps into our home.  We knew the end wouldn't be years away, but was coming sometime.  Unfortunately, I pinched her front leg with the car one day.  She seemed to recover from that, but then a few days later, her back legs just didn't work.  It seemed too soon as she was still so pretty and had such a good disposition, but we had to let her go.

We were dogless for 6 days.  We were planning to leave for a missions trip on April first so it would not have been a good time for a puppy, but that Corona virus was changing everything.  Lock-down was announced for the whole country of South Africa beginning at midnight on March 26th.  We decided that a lock down was a good time to bond with a new puppy and begin training. 
Gallup is our new little puppy!  She is 9 weeks old.  We named her Gallup after Gallup, NM, where our first child, Evangel, was born.  
See the watch?  She's a watch dog in the making.  We're finding her not only terribly cute, but smart too.  And she's giving me good exercise!  We live up 17 steps, and trotting her up and down is going to keep me from atrophying during this lock-down. 
Aunt Grace's visit was another highlight since we've been back.  Nathanael and Connie pose with her in Simon's Town, South Africa.  Times may be tough, but new babies are hope personified.  

So Much Has Changed

 Just a few weeks ago, before the world went crazy, Paul's sister Joy came for a visit.  Paul's sister Grace came earlier in the year too, but we have been rather crazy busy, in a good way ever since we came back from the States.  We were gone more than 6 months in 2019, so coming home in early 2020 meant we were facing a lot of undone stuff, and Paul was eager to jump in and start preaching again.  Blogging has not been a priority, you might say, but now that we are on day 3 of lockdown, I aspire to play catch up!  Starting with Joy's visit.  

Joy is a good sport.  I wrote to her in advance, and told her we were seriously behind in our newspaper distribution (they were literally up to my eyeballs deep in our garage.  Thousands of "prison edition" Challenge newspapers filled with inspiring stories of how God changed people's lives.  I asked Joy if she'd like to help me distribute them, and she said and enthusiastic, "I'm in!"

She didn't know what she was getting into this trip.  It began with our infamous South African "loadshedding".  It meant we had the power off for up to 8 hours a day.  The good part was it is scheduled so you can plan around it somewhat.  

That improved somewhere in the first week of her visit.  I read that some jelly fish had been removed from some pipe at the power station and we were done with power outages for awhile.  

Then at home we tried to upgrade to Fibre.  We had been on a list for months, and now they were going to do it, and they did.  Except for one little detail.  They needed to send a little code to our cell number, and our cell number had changed.  We had to do 5 pages of paperwork and scan that to get the change registered.  It took TWO WEEKS to change that number!  For TWO WEEKS our WiFi  didn't work except inexplicably occasionally between midnight and three AM.   Joy is very much a computer person so that was annoying for her, I'm sure.  

 Another disaster occurred while she was here.  Our beloved German shepherd Berwick died.  Her legs ceased working one morning, and we wondered if she had a stroke of some kind, as it was so sudden.

Then along came the Corona Virus.  Things really headed south with that.  I guess I don't need to elaborate.  Joy had hoped for some prison ministry, but all prisons were closed.  Schools followed soon after.  She and I kept up with our street ministry of passing out papers.  We passed out thousands!  We had great fun and adventures!  The wind made paper passing a wrestling match to hang on to it long enough for the person to receive it sometimes.

One time I sat down on a step to rest, and came face to face with rats at Steenberg train station!  Too close for comfort!

I ran around in traffic poking papers in people's windows, saying to myself, "I'm glad my Mom can't see this."  But it was so fun!  Many people were delighted to get the paper!  Some of our favorite "customers" were prison "graduates" who had received the same kind of paper in Polsmoor prison.  They knew Paul's chant, "To read!  Not to smoke!" that he would declare loudly as he passed them out.  They act all nostalgic about Paul's visiting them in prison.

Other Christians encouraged us.  One lady really yelled at me, telling me the Corona Virus was caused by "people like me".  I was grateful for a man who just smiled at her, and shook his head and encouraged me.

That was after Joy left.  I went by myself once, at a shopping center, and then Paul got into it after she left because by then schools were closed so he was more free.  We really tried to distribute a lot those last few days.  Paul and I together did 500 papers in about an hour.  I had some guys refuse a paper from me, so I smiled and said, "That's OK, my husband will get you."  They smiled and DID receive one from Paul.

Now we're praying they're enjoying these papers as they're confined to their homes.  Police patrol the streets and we're only allowed out to buy food and meds. I'm glad we did as much as we did, but we still have a pile ankle deep to give out.  I'm not sure when we can do that.

 So much was closed, but Joy and I found time for some walks. 
We took a tour with Cape Town Free Walking Tours, through a section of Cape Town called Bo Kaap.  It is a primarily Muslim section, painted in vivid colors.  We had a beautiful day, the last big outing before people began to be restrained. 
 Table Mountain looms picturesquely over Bo Kaap. 
Pigeon paranoia.  :-)  Or Keep Looking Up!
The virus cut Joy's visit short by about 30 hours.  She got out 3 days before our national lock-down started.

I am comforted reading the 10 plagues of Egypt.  They all could end quickly and abruptly when Egypt finally obeyed.  So that means our plague can also end quickly.

 "If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  But what if people don't repent?

Friday, December 6, 2019

Why Cy?

We thought some might be interested in the story of the Biblical Cyrus, who inspired our Cyrus's name.  Also it's a good excuse to share more baby pictures.  I asked Tim to write it, since he's our history buff.

He doesn't answer the why of his name, but his name was chosen for the blessings and good things said about Cyrus in the Bible, and for the good that he did.

Who was Cyrus? According to the generally accepted histories, this is his story.  

Cyrus’ story begins with his grandfather dreaming that a great flood would come and overrun the whole land of Media and that it had to do with his daughter.  Being a somewhat more principled man than others who had heard of possibly prophesied usurper relatives, he had her married off in to the ruler kingdom/satrapy of Persia.  This settled the man’s nerves for a while, but then he had another dream.  Again the land was overrun, and it seemed linked to his daughter.  This was too much.  So he had her brought home, to try and deal with her son, as soon as he was born.  He went to someone he thought, ‘would just follow orders’ and instructed him to go and steal his grandson, take the boy to his own home, and then kill him.  The grandfather had the generosity to say that the officer could do it how he wanted.  

The officer, being aware of the royal will, went and stole the boy, and took him to his home as ordered.  Then he called for a shepherd.  But he did not want to ‘just follow orders’ because he was aware that the daughter, whose son he had stolen, might become the ruler, and she would surely give someone else orders.  So he instead had the very scared shepherd take the boy to the mountains, with orders to kill him.  The officer had come to the conclusion that as long as he did not kill Cyrus, Magane (Cyrus’ mother) would not kill him.  In my opinion the officer had a low opinion of Magane’s intelligence and capacity for revenge.

The shepherd arrived in the mountains to discover that his pregnant wife’s baby had died while he was gone and she was giving birth.  He had been very scared when ordered to come, and it is suggested that she had been so afraid that it had been one of the reasons the baby died.  The shepherd now returned and just knew what he had been ordered, but his wife made sure that he did not obey orders, and instead they used their dead baby to fool the messenger sent to confirm the murder.  So Cyrus lived, the shepherd and his wife were happy, the officer and his wife were happy, and the scared grandfather was happy.  Magane was not happy, but she eventually just returned to Persia.

Ten years passed and Cyrus was showing all the marks of being special.  Then a noble’s son went out to the countryside to play with the peasant boys.  This was a mistake and what might be called the inciting incident to Cyrus’ rise to power.  The boys were playing king, and Cyrus was the king.  He ordered the noblemen’s son to do something, and when he was disobeyed, beat the noblemen’s son.  This of course had them in a fuss, so the nobleman himself went to the king for justice.  Presumably, this is because those peasants were directly under the king’s protection, though this section is unclear in the version I read.  

The ten year-old Cyrus was then brought before the king and he impressed him enough that the king looked more closely into the matter, until it was revealed that he was the boy meant to be killed.  Did the king kill him?  No, his wisemen and soothsayers said that now that the boy had played at being king, the prophesies were fulfilled.  So the king had him welcomed into the fold and reunited with his mother.  Then he killed the officer’s son, and tricked the officer into eating his own son.  I retract my earlier comment about the grandfather being principled. 

Cyrus though, according to accounts, grew up as a good mix of Median and Persian ideals, learning how to be honest, tough, and also how to survive in his father’s and grandfather’s courts.  After a few years of growing up, the officer who had been forced to practice involuntary cannibalism, planned for long term revenge, and began inciting Cyrus to take the throne, which he did.  

There was another king, the king of Lydia, Croesus (who has his own extensive backstory) who decided to invade and fight against Cyrus.  He came to restore the grandfather to the throne, and perhaps also to expand his own territory at the expense of the king he came to rescue. He had a mathematician of some standing in his employment, which was a way of foreshadowing who would win.  After digging a new trench for the river Halys at the orders of the mathematician, the Lydian army was in Persian territory.  

He engaged Cyrus in battle, and after a day of fighting, both armies stayed put in their camps, and then the Lydian king decided to go home, and come back to the campaign in the next year.  He retreated, and started to disband his troops, when he found that the Persians were upon him.  Gathering up a rushed-together army he attacked them, but Cyrus used his camels and that scared the Lydian horses, so that they ran though their own lines and forced Croesus’ army into the nearby city.  It was well fortified and seemed secure, being built with walls on a hill.  However, the rear of the hill was less carefully guarded because it was a nearly shear cliff.  Some soldiers went up and took the town, and the king with it and Cyrus was now master of two empires, or very near to it.

As he was leaving to subdue Babylon for himself, he discovered that Lydia and the governor he had appointed had revolted, so after dealing with that, placing the officer who had been forced to commit paternal cannibalism as the new governor, Cyrus came to deal with Babylon.  The city was considered perhaps the most impregnable of its time.  According to Herodotus the walls were over 300 feet high and 80 feet thick.  Except Cyrus invaded under the walls, after diverting the waterways, and was inside the walls, interrupting Beltshazzer’s feast.  Or at least that is what Herodotus says.  Here, I think it is better to ignore Herodotus and go with Daniel, as he is inspired and know that at least for a while that Cyrus was not involved with Babylon.  It is best to recall that Herodotus was inclined toward telling a ‘good’ story and that we know he entirely leaves out mention of Cyaxares who Xenophon discusses as a joint ruler with Cyrus for a while.  Which suggests an entirely different succession than the Herodotus viewpoint.  

This brings to mind the words of a book referenced in a podcast, “The story of Persia…”  It also brings to mind a statement made by Jacob Abbott, “In a word, the real Cyrus is now a far less important personage to mankind than the Cyrus of Herodotus and Xenophon, and it is, accordingly, their story which the author proposes to relate in this volume.”

Some time after the uncertain events in Babylon, Cyrus allows the Jews to return from their exile in Babylon.  This is prophesied in Isaiah (44:28 and 45:1). This was prophesied in roughly 150 years before Cyrus was actually born and these passages Cyrus is described as ‘anointed one,’ a shepherd for Israel.   One who would have the foundation of the temple relaid, and have Jerusalem rebuilt, even though at the time of prophecy it had not been destroyed.  

This is actually carried out as described in Ezra, Daniel,  and

2 Chronicles.  

It is worth pausing on Cyrus, a gentile, being called a shepherd of Israel.  This is a much more exalted title then those who don’t know the Bible would guess.  Moses shepherded Israel, David shepherded Israel, and to hear that type of high language applied to a non-covenant member, is shocking.  Further, the same thing applies with the language of the ‘anointed one.’  The word for that is anglicized as Messiah.  And that is a very high title.

What was the end of Cyrus?  Some say he died peacefully in Susa.  In others he dies, fighting war elephants against the Indians and their allies.  Others (Herodotus) say that he fought a warrior queen of a barbarian nation in the north.  He loses, dies in battle and the warrior queen finds his body, and pours blood into his mouth, demonstrating her views that his war against her was unjust.  

Something to remember is that Herodotus is a Greek playwright.  He was writing to entertain a specific audience and that audience was very pleased with him for showing them in a good light, and for the play over all.  That audience was Athens, and Athens of this time saw Persia as an enemy, and while Herodotus is showing the buildup of the Median Persian empire that nows threatens Greece, he is also painting their arguably best king as tragic figure corrupted by power, until he starts unjust wars and dies disgraced in an unjust war. 

People then and people now take the facts, the rumors, and the opinions of their day and try to process them into their own worldview.  With Cyrus he is seen as the genius child, corrupted by the despotism to which he was raised to, or the child raised to the top of the empire he had built, and he died peaceably at the top of that empire.  
So who was Cyrus?  

The author, our own Timothy P. Young.