How I see myself will influence and affect the way I live, run my family, career, finances, friends, hobbies, public and private interaction, perform in Church and relationship with God. Would you say you have self-esteem or self-love? Reading yesterday’s Note helps us understand that once one enjoys God’s grace in salvation, that person will have self-love because of God’s love. It is extremely important to grasp who you are as a child of God.
1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! The one who has been born again has been elevated to a higher position before God than the one who is unsaved.
We are the same being in the flesh. We are saved sinners, we do the same work and studies, live in the same family, drive the same car, wear the same clothes, have the same features … the difference however is mostly invisible. Spiritually we are alive, are children of God and have eternity with Jesus in sight. Yes we sin but our goal in life is to conform to the likeness of the Lord Jesus. Because God loves us we can loves ourselves and this makes us very different from the unsaved. Now we come to “Dare to be a Daniel”.
1) The most staggering experience for the Kingdom of Judah.
Da 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God.
Although this was prophesied, it was still a huge shock. Nebuchadnezzar is on the throne of Babylon who had replaced the Assyrians as the superpower in the eastern Mediterranean region. He takes Judah captive … she loses sovereignty as a kingdom and with pagans entering into the Temple … reserved for God’s presence with His people … and removing articles dedicated to the Lord, was desecrating the sanctity of the temple. To makes things worse he took these articles and … carried (them) off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. What an abomination! This whole period was known as the Babylonian Exile. It was God’s punishment on the nation for the sin of rebellion, idolatry and pagan practices. God promised Abraham he would be a people and have their own land living under God’s rule. Now they were out of the land, under the rule of a harsh pagan ruler and the priesthood, sacrificial system and Scriptural rule were no more.
2) The great question now is, “has God forgotten His promise that there will always be a king on David’s Throne?” Remember the Messiah would come from David’s Bloodline and the Bloodline flowed through the kings of Judah … but now the kingly reign ended from a human perspective. What now? How would God realize His promise? It’s easy for us on this side of Calvary to appreciate that the promised Messiah came in the Lord Jesus Christ … but for the serious Jew of Daniel’s day, what was happening was devastating. It was kingdom lost; promise failed; God deserted! We will see that God is true and faithful to His promises. He is always the same, yesterday, today and forever. He is consistent and unchangeable. What He says He does. It is totally impossible for God to be what He is not … so we will see that God does indeed pursue His Messianic Promise to the People of Judah!
3) How will God bring about the continuation of the Bloodline in a pagan country? When we can’t see beyond the immediate problem we must not assume God falls into our category.
Isa 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
God is always many, many steps ahead of us for He sees down the pages of history before it happens … so much so that before the creation of the world, world history was mapped and planned to unfold as each epoch came along.
4) God works ahead of time. He uses the unexpected … even unbelieving pagan kings!
Da 1:3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace.
He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. It’s possible to read passages of the Bible and miss important and key points made. Here we see God working in Nebuchadnezzar’s heart to “order” the chief court official, Ashpenaz to choose certain Israelites to serve in the king’s palace. They would not be servants but men of statue and caliber, assisting in matters of governance and rule within the Babylonian Empire. There were three requirements of the king …
(1) Birth: They needed to be chosen from the disposed king’s bloodline. (From the royal family and the nobility). Remember kings had many wives and flowing from this was many children. Here we see our God at work, preserving the Bloodline even though this would not have been in the king’s thoughts.
(2) Beauty: They needed to be well disposed. (Without any physical defect, handsome). They needed to be both healthy and able young men.
(3) Brains: Their IQ, intellect and academic abilities were important for good leadership. (Showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians).
Spiritually, these are our characteristics. We have the New Birth … parented by God, the King. We have His beauty (credited holiness and righteousness) and we have a new mind (brain) to learn the things of God and follow its teaching.
O God, it is so amazing how You work behind the scenes where people don’t see. Amen.