O. T. #1967 "Strength and Vitality"
June 21, 2021
Daniel 1-Part 2
LET IT GLOW
I am writing this ahead of time, for when you read this, I am enjoying being with all our children and grandchildren. (all 13 of us) It has been 2 years since we have seen our Rhode Isanders because of the pandemic. Please pray for our safety as it is supposed to be stormy all week. (But this grandma has games packed away to take and snacks to enjoy.) I know that it will be a time of rejoicing for us.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High. To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night. (Psalm 92:1-2)
For Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands. (verse 4)
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (verses 12-13)
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourish; To show that the LORD is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (verses 14-15)
Do we take time to recall the good past deeds that God has done in our lives? Do His works in our life cause us to rejoice? Are we publicly thanking and praising our Lord Jesus for His love and faithfulness to us? Is God really our rock?
The blessings of God should inspire His people to praise Him for who He is, thank Him for what He has done, and trust Him for what He will do. (Tony Evans)
The cedars of Lebanon grew to 120 feet in height and up to 30 feet in circumference; thus, they were solid, strong, and immovable. The writer saw believers as upright, strong, productive, and unmoved by the winds of circumstance. Those who place their faith firmly in God can have this strength and vitality. (Life Application Study Bible)
Is our faith making us strong and full of vitality?
LET IT GROW
Last time, we read of the supreme world leader, Nebuchadnezzar, invaded Judah and Jerusalem. He took precious and valuable items from the Jewish Temple back to his land and placed them in the temple of the false god of Bel, also called Marduk. (verse 2)
Then the king of Babylon brought certain foreign captives to the king's palace for teaching them their language of the Chaldeans. What characteristics did those young men have? They were unblemished, well favored, skillful in all wisdom, cunning in knowledge, and understanding science. They were smart one, right?
The king had a plan for those chosen ones:
- Their academic program would include math, history, science, astronomy, and magic.
- Their provisions would include the king's meat, dainties, and wine that he had. (verse 5)
- They would learn the language of the Chaldeans.
- This would last for 3 years, they would come before the king.(verse 5)
- Their Hebrew names would be changed into the foreign name, by which we remember them-Daniel (Belteshaz'zar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego).
King Neb was trying to make those Hebrew guys and God-worshipers into pagan god worshipers. Look at the meanings of their Hebrew names and the new names:
- Daniel (God is my judge)-Belteshazzar (Bel, protect his life);
- Hananiah (the LORD shows grace)-Shadrach (under the command of Aku, the moon god);
- Mishael (Who is like God?)-Meshach (Who is like Aku?);
- Azariah (the LORD helps)-Abednego (servant of Nego/Nebo, god of learning and writing)
[Resource: Life Application Study Bible]
This is one way the king attempted to change the religious loyalty of these young men from Judah's God to the gods of Babylonia. As we read through this book, we realize that Daniel and his friends did not allow the outward circumstances or name forced upon them, to change the integrity of their hearts, for they served only one King and held only one worldview. There were times that they demonstrated such faith and loyalty to God.
Are we showing the world around us that we are a new creature in Christ? That we have a new name written down in glory? Are we showing them that a Christian life is different, loving and forgiving, faithful to God?
LET IT GO
Keep us near the heart of God today, Lord Jesus.
Keep us planted in Your house.
May we older folks continue to bear fruit of the Spirit for Your glory.