I love the way God teaches me through my children.
Tristan and I are going through a plan on www.YouVersion.com titled “The Book of Daniel with kids” it is 22 days long and we are on day 3. Today I yet again had to read through Daniel 1, and to be honest I complained. (Philippians 2:14 do everything without complaining… oops) I’m ready to get into the meat of this book and wanted to move on. Remember the title…My God showed me that I had been missing the meat He had for Tristan and I in chapter 1. The exact “meat” that God had been revealing at a deeper level in my husband and I for the last few weeks. That GOD is in ALL things…GOOD AND BAD.
Tristan and I read the International Children’s Bible (ICB), which I personally recommend for all children (even some adults). (The link above however is the closest they have online which is NCV) Here are a few of the key verses that helped me explain to him, and remind myself, about Gods Sovereignty.
- 1:2 – The Lord allowed Nebuchadnezzar to capture Jehoiakim king of Judah.
- 1:9 – God made Ashpenaz want to be kind and merciful to Daniel.
- 1:12,13- “Daniel said to the guard, “Please give us this test for ten days: Don’t give us anything but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then after the ten days compare us with the other young men who eat the king’s food. See for yourself who looks healthier. Then you judge for yourself how you want to treat us your servants.”
- 1:17 – (a)God gave these four men wisdom and the ability to learn. They learned many kind of things people had written and studied. (b)Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams.
In these first two verse we see God working. God allowed the king to be captured, and I can imagine that the men of Nebuchadnezzar weren’t too gentle when they were capturing him. Yet, what I want to point out is that GOD ALLOWED it to happen. In Romans 8:28 we are told that God works ALL things for GOOD, for those who love God and are called to His purpose. We are ALL called to live out Gods purpose, but not all love God. I mention this because I want anyone who is reading this to understand that there is an expectation that we are all called to when we ask Jesus Christ to be our Lord. The Holy Spirit will strengthen you as you walk in obedience to Gods call on your life, and you will WANT to live out this expectation with a desire that you’ve never had for anything else in your life. (If you’re not experiencing this, then it is possible you have not truly accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Pray about this and reach out to someone who can guide you into this relationship.)
Back on topic, the second verse God gave me a beautiful analogy to give to Tristan to see if He understood where we are. Imagine some one’s heart is dark, yet in the center of it there is a small Light. This small Light is placed there by God. Now imagine the heart of Gods children, it is filled with Light. When we are filled with a room filled with those who have dark hearts, what will happen to the one heart that has a small Light when we live the way God tells us to? Blessed his heart (& mine) he knew the answer. “That Light will grow” All throughout the Old and New Testament we are told that we will have trouble in this life. But in john 16:33 we are given a promise, Jesus has already overcome this world. The end of our life here is already written and given to us. Jesus is the Light of this World, and His Spirit now lives IN US. Therefore, WE are the LIGHT of THIS world. We are to SHINE HIS LIGHT, especially in the darkest of situations. We never know who God has placed a small seed of Light in, just waiting for one of His Children to Be the LIGHT that they were freely given.
The third verse shows us this Light that Daniel displayed. He knew that He was the mouth piece for himself, and these 3 other men of God. He also knew that they were to be trained for 3 years. He respectively asked to be tested for 10 of the 1095 days and if they were not pleased then the 4 men would do as they asked. Daniel knew that God was with them, and His way was best. By doing this Daniel honored God and saved the 3 men as well as the guard and chief officer Ashpenaz.
The last verse has two parts. Because of Daniel’s obedience to Gods ways all four men were given wisdom and the ability to learn the things needed in order to ultimately fulfill Gods purpose for the men of Judah to be captured. In 1:20b it says that Nebuchadnezzar found that these men were 10x’s better than all the fortune-tellers and magicians in his kingdom. These 4 men stood out above all the rest because they had Gods blessings. But it was Daniel who had an extra amount of anointing. He was also able to understand all kinds of dreams and visions. Daniel’s life up to this point is very similar to the life of Joseph. Both men were held in captivity, both men honored God in their actions and both men were given gifts that would advance them in the eyes of their captors.
I want to end this by going back to the men of Judah that were captured. It doesn’t say here in Chapter one how many of these men were captured, but as I turn to Numbers 2:3 it tells me that there were 74,600 in the camp of Judah. Different time, but I’m using this as a reference point. That’s a lot of men, and only 4 of them were chosen to Shine Gods Light in the lives of their enemies.
Friends, the odds may be stacked against you according the standard of the our enemy, the world. BUT….the LIGHT that is IN YOU was placed there so that YOU would influence those around you, whom God placed there. Jesus came so that ALL would be saved, so whether that person seems good or bad, the seed of Light is in them….waiting for someone to Shine so that their Light will grow. God will place us each in situations that will challenge and sometimes terrify us. But I pray that you stand firm in Truth. That the spirit of fear is not from God, therefore has no true power over you or I. Fear is a LIE, the belief of this lie is how this fear was created. We break this lie with TRUTH. Know your fears, and then seek out the TRUTH so break this fear.
The World needs to see YOUR LIGHT. God has called you and I to be the Light of the World. This is why Jesus died for us, so that each of us would gain access to the Father….we are called to Shine in the dark. Know that NOTHING happens in this world that God is not aware of. He does not create nor need to use the bad in order to advance His plan. He will however allow it, which means He has already planned the GOOD to come out of it. (see Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20) Jesus is the Anchor of our souls.
Oh, one last thing…spend time with children…let God teach you through them. They understand more than we think.
~sometimes I just gotta write~