|Posted on February 10, 2020 at 11:55 AM|
…you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules. Daniel 4:26
The book of Daniel didn’t just tell me, it showed me that wisdom comes from God much like Solomon mentions in Ecclesiastes 2:26. No amount of my public or private schooling, no formal education I paid for can compete with the wisdom and understanding that God gave. I paid thousands of dollars to be wise only to learn I was a fool in the end. I wasn’t wise in doing what was right that’s for sure. I have a brother who dropped out of high school and was given the wisdom to start his own company before the age of 18 and then the foolishness to lose it all again and again.
It is evident that worldly wisdom is honored in this world and those without it are looked down upon, yet it is the wisdom of God that we all seek. I used to believe money would give me the financial peace I needed live with peace in spite of the sorrows and trials I faced. I sought love and approval in this world when I didn’t know God’s love for me. I wanted to feel joy even if for a fleeting moment by my accomplishments, possessions, power over people. But I was never content it was never enough I always wanted more.
I wanted to have the patience to wait for things I couldn’t have this very moment. Learning quickly that life is not a drive thru and no amount of repeated prayer works at the speed of the internet. I longed for others to treat me good, be kind and gentle toward me but then admittedly I was not quick to give others that treatment if it didn’t benefit me. I wanted to know there were things I could depend on, people I could trust. That their word meant something, that a promise could be kept in a world that continually let me down and deceived me into believing I could trust in it. I wanted to have the self-control and self-discipline it took to live a successful life so that I could overcome the fear of facing my giants and tearing down my Jericho walls. Of all the books in the bible Daniel taught me that when you are wise often times you will be required to be courageous even in the face of death.
Daniels first act of courage and wisdom was refusing to eat the food and wine provided by the king to those that were held captive. Daniel told the attendant that had been appointed to watch over him and his friends to test them for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water rather than that of meat and wine. I imagine back then people thought strength came from the food they ate (a truth that probably still holds true today) if you had a diet of meat from animals you would be as strong as the animal you were consuming. As for the wine well I would think that if your mind wasn’t clear perhaps it made you forget the sorrow that you were a captive slave.
He told the attendant if after ten days he looked pale and thin then the attendant could make a decision to continue feeding him this way or with the king’s allotment. At the end of ten days Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better nourished then those who had eaten what the king gave. I wonder if our own health would change if we adopted the same diet. I am reminded food is to feed the flesh 1 Corinthians 6:13 not to feed the Spirit as my brother, Jesus taught in John 4:32; 34.
So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them. Hebrews 13:9
A little truth about myself, before learning these things I thought it was normal to use the bathroom once a week what I didn’t know is that I was constipated all my life. After reading this I felt convicted to drink more water, about half my weight to be exact for ten days. Thinking to myself if in ten days I feel the same I will go back to drinking as I had before which was 2-3 glasses a day usually a coffee, a soda and some other sweetened beverage like tea or flavored drink. Plain water was never my beverage of choice.
When I started to use the bathroom once a day I thought I was sick. Something must be wrong with me. I have never gone to the bathroom this much. It must have been something I ate. But as my body remained properly hydrated I was rewarded with more energy. My skin was brighter and I didn’t have that hungry feeling all the time. That insatiable need to snack all day. For the first time in my life I felt content. Whether I had eaten little or much perhaps there was some truth to this Word.
Daniel’s next act of noted courage is when the king made a gold statue and commanded that all the people bow to the statue. Whoever did not bow to it, would be thrown into a blazing furnace. Daniel and his friends refused. The king asked if this was true and Daniel said in 3:16-18 “…we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” So into the fire they went and out of the fire God brought them.
“Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!” Daniel 3:27
There was a time in my life when I went on maternity leave and the store I managed had been robbed in my absence. It was an inside job. So with no proof of who robbed the place they fired everyone without reason. This is a work at will state. You can be released from employment at any time without reason, even reason of suspicion.
I returned to an entirely new crew that I had not hired. Their intention was to “fire” me upon return. I went in prepared for the furnace but when they gave me the reason for letting me go much like Daniel I pointed out that I had not break any breach of contract rule they accused me of and that I would not accept their line of reasoning. I argued my points and was sent home so they could verify my facts were correct and I was allowed to return to work with a three day paid vacation.
Once again Daniel proved himself to be capable and reliable for another king. And jealousy in the ranks rose and another decree was issued so that they could find fault with Daniel based on “the rules of his religious practices”. But this king favored Daniel. When he was caught bowing before God to pray they told the king and insisted he be thrown into the lions’ den as was the penalty for his crime of bowing before anyone besides the king. Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament as told in verse 6:14. I believe God did give him the wisdom he sought. But that is something I will have to ask when I get back home.
At last the king gave orders to put Daniel in the lions’ den, seal it with a rock so that no one can rescue him he said and then he said to Daniel “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” The king fasted, and refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t even sleep at all that night. Early the next morning he hurried to the den and called out to Daniel “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” and Daniel answered “Long live the king!”
Like my ancestor Daniel I remember a time I too was left to the lions in order to stand up for what I believed. It took me 15 years to be thrown into the lions’ den but with the help of God I survived the ordeal. In short it was my fear of asking my husband to leave the home for his repeated crimes of infidelity against our marriage. I was so afraid because he is the sole bread winner in the home believing if he goes so do the finances to sustain the household. But much like the king I sought God for wisdom and it came in the form of this statement to him.
“I need you to leave for an indefinite amount of time. Keep in mind nothing is in my name, everything is in your name so I expect you to continue to honor your obligations by continuing to pay for everything as you have already been doing in exchange for the care of our son and the keeping of the household.”
He agreed. We were separated for almost five months and though he placed absolutely no value in our marriage certificate he did keep his word and his financial obligation during that entire time. I was not overwhelmed by the threat of loss. I did not get consumed by financial stress. We used the time apart to mourn for what was lost and draw nearer to God 1 Corinthians 7:32 and sought the wisdom of God of how to rebuild our family based not on paper or stone but on a relationship with God first. We are still a work in progress. The way I see it, is it took 15 years to destroy our marriage if takes 15 years to rebuild it into something neither of us have ever known than time is all we have, I am not in a rush.
In the ending chapters Daniel has many dreams and visions of the coming destruction which I am not an expert on but for me it serves as a picture of what it looks like when humanity comes to the end of itself and learns to rely on God, put their trust in God alone as Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10.
When it was time for me to put my selfish needs to rest so that I could come under the control of the Spirit, from personal experience, they did go down without a fight. My own ways and desires devour and claw for their own way like an animal trapped to remain alive. But it doesn’t last forever nothing ever does only His Word. I endured the good fight of faith and a fight it was, I clung to the hope that God would save even when there was no reason to hope I would survive. A part of me had to die in order for this new way of life to rise. And all that was wrong with the way I had been raised and taught was made right.
I am reminded through his visions, though terrifying, much like life can be at times, that all these visions of trials and sorrows come to an end. They have been given an expiration date. That none of the things we suffer for last forever. No wound so deep God cannot heal. In verse 9:2 Daniel says “he learned from reading the Word of the LORD”… an example I too learned to follow. It wasn’t till I came to know God that I began to know my true self. Who I was, the things I did, were all manmade ideas that held absolutely no truth. I was deceived by the people of this world into believing I had no worth, no value unless I was just like the people of this world. I traded the truth for a lie as Paul says in Romans 1:25. But Jesus called me out of this world John 17:16. Daniel makes a plea for His people in chapter nine that I practically have all highlighted because at the time I read it, it was a cry for myself.
For all that I have suffered, for all the wrong that I did the Lord was always in the right to abandon me to my sins and the consequence there of. But Daniel reminded me that the God I serve is a merciful and forgiving God in spite of all I had done. Every curse and judgement written against me in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 was written long before I committed sin. God kept His word and did exactly what He had warned.
There is a verse in Romans 8:32 that says since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for all of us, won’t He also give us everything else? Of course many read it and think of all the good that God will give to them but I read it and think God did not spare his son from all the trials, sorrow and hurt that was brought upon him what makes me to believe I am immune from suffering much less? God was right not to spare me from the consequence of my own actions otherwise how would I learn there is a better way to live. As Daniels pleads so do I.
In view of all Your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn Your furious anger away from me…O my God, hear Your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For Your own sake, Father, smile again on Your desolate sanctuary. O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open Your eyes and see my despair. See how Your city- the city that bears Your name- lies in ruins. I make this plea not because I deserve Your help, but because of Your mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For Your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for Your people and Your city bear Your name. Personal Daniel 9:16-19
I heard the other day life can be summed up in two words “wait and hope”. I waited on God and hoped that these words were truth. I waited on Him and while I waited I read every verse He spoke. I wanted more of Him than I wanted of this world. Presidents rose and fell in my wait. Economies rose and collapsed while I waited. Birthdays were celebrated, deaths were mourned and still I waited and hoped. In the wait He transformed my thinking Romans 12:2. He rebuilt the way I thought. I started to see life through the lens of His Word not through the eyes of this world. Many tears have been shed, they never stop, they are part of the refining process, a sword needs both water and fire to be strengthened. I weep for those who don’t know. I weep for those who still hang on to the ways of this world knowing for myself that it all will come to an end but still I wait and hope.
Prayers take time to be fulfilled but I have seen many answered, many miracles performed since giving my life to God. It doesn’t matter how my life goes, who comes in or out of it I am not so attached to the things of this world as I was before. What matters is the end result that God works all things, even the not so good things, out for good. Even in these visions of terror and trial and sorrow and strife God still rules.
Many will be purified, cleansed and refined by these trials. But the wicked will continue in their wickedness and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means…And blessed are those who wait and remain…As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you. Daniel 12:10; 12-13