2 Chronicles!

2 Chronicles 36:23

Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, "The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up."

Saul was handed the piddly little kingdom of Israel and it was too much for him.  Power went straight to his head and eventually the kingdom was take from him and given to David with the promise that his son would build the House of God.  Solomon did this (in a physical sense) when he built the Temple.  But Solomon showed that sin is ever with us by beginning the long descent of Israel into sin, oppression, civil war, apostasy, defeat, deportation and slavery.  It looked like curtains for Israel.  Then, from out of left field came the Persian king Cyrus.  By some strange gift of grace he who was ruler, not just of a state the size of Vermont, but of "all the kingdoms of the earth" (or at any rate the known earth) managed to humble himself and let Israel rebuild the fallen Temple.  This startling act of humility was in disproportion to his worldly power, just as Saul's startling slide into pride was.  Humility can still make you great–even if you already are.  Pride can still ruin you, even if you don't have all that much to be prideful about.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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