Just in time for Study #11 is this fine post from over at MereComments. It is not entirely unrelated to our study and may help with some of our own meditations...or not. but I hope you'll find it interesting just the same...
Today the Orthodox church remembers the Prophet Haggai, who prophesized in the 6th c B.C. after the exiles returned to Jerusalem. The Persian King Cyrus sent Zerubbabel back to govern, and gave authority to the Jews to rebuild the Temple under Ezra the High Priest. Haggai spoke on behalf of the Lord, urging the Jews to get on with the rebuilding, scolding them for leaving the Lord's temple in ruins while "you busy yourselves each with his own house." He asks, "Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?" The Lord notes that they harvested little, eat, but never seem to have enough. Why don't they put first things first? We know the Temple was built, of course.
Cyrus the Persian is spoken of in Scripture as the Lord's instrument in history when it came to the fate of the Jews. Fr. Pat Reardon reminded me of this story about President Truman recently:
Once, after his retirement, he was introduced as "the man who helped create the state of Israel." Without a moment's hesitation, Truman shot back, "What do you mean, helped create? I was Cyrus, I was Cyrus" - referring to the Persian monarch who enabled the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem after the first dispersion. [A websource for this here].
...At the close of the short prophecy of Haggai, the Lord reminds us of his Lordship over history: "I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations..." (2:21-22)..
You can read the entire post here