Zechariah 1:7, “Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying…“
The Jewish name for the eleventh month is the month “Sebat” or “Shebat” and since I am not to lecture you on the Jewish calendar but to wish you a happy new month – Happy New Month guys! I appreciate and love you from the bottom of my heart, sincerely! Better late than never right!!!
Now to the matter of the day, I will be sharing something today that I just fully understood myself. Ever noticed that in the scriptures, after every test came a lifting from God? Abraham, David you just name them, even Jesus too. I think it’s even applicable with man, look at the way companies and institutions carry out their staff promotions. The focus today however, won’t be on these great people but on some others, Daniel and his three(3) Hebrew friends (Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah) renamed by Nebuchadnezzar as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and of course Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar after Nebuchadnezzar’s god, funny story. I will try to be as straight forward and brief as possible so please tag along to the end, it promises to be a blessing.
Daniel was a man who feared God indeed even in a land where God had sent him in as a captive. He and his friends were the good figs, very good figs that Jeremiah spoke about in Jeremiah 24:4-5, “Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good“. They obeyed God and went into captivity and remained there praising and serving God.
Not only did Daniel initiate the refusal of the kings delicacies because it was not the custom of the Jews to eat what was being served but he also sought God’s face when the king required an interpretation for his dreams. He didn’t forget to tell king Nebuchadnezzar and even all the wise men in the kingdom that it was the God of Heaven alone who could tell secrets and mysteries and that it was Him who had made him to know the king’s dreams and interpretation those two times. Daniel praised God three times daily in Babylon even when it looked like God had forgotten His people in a strange land. It was Daniel who when God had lifted him up all those times in the kingdom where he was taken captive that he didn’t forget to pray for God’s forgiveness on the behalf of the children of Israel and also searched the scriptures for when the children of Israel were to be released from their captivity. Daniel feared God, served and praised God when God wasn’t doing them well as it were. Captivity wasn’t really the time to remember God and to remain faithful. Daniel remained faithful in his service to God even when God wasn’t making sense and God lifted him up ever so often.
“Then this Daniel became distinguished above all other high officials and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him“. God graded Daniel and his grade was “Excellent”. Even the men he worked with could not find any grounds for fault or error in him except in his service to his God. Not once nor twice because of Daniel and his friends, the kings of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar, Darius) ordered that his people serve the God of heaven because there was no God that could deliver as such. These men even in their bondage brought praise to God on the earth. When Daniel had learned that the document that was meant to kill him had been signed he still went on and sealed it by kneeling to pray and praise God with his windows opened.
Hananaiah, Mishael and Azariah followed in Daniel’s steps. Loving, fearing, serving and praising only the God of Heaven even to the knowledge of the whole kingdom and God did not fail to lift them up. Now imagine what these four were going through in a tough place that wasn’t theirs to begin with. Brought in chains to a land not theirs for the sins of their people. Yet still loving, fearing, serving and trusting God. Believing God for the end of the captivity of Israel. I don’t know about you but this is what having a heart totally loyal and committed to God is all about. Loyalty that doesn’t change with circumstances and events of life. 2 chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him“. Little wonder why He showed up for them in such powerful and wonderful ways – the powerful mystery of the fiery furnace and the lion’s den.
As you remain committed to God even when it doesn’t make sense, when His word tries you like it did Joseph, then our God even our God and with the help of no man will surely lift you up and set you high up there as an example to all. God in His faithfulness has even tried His very own words and found it pure such that you have no cause to fear that it would fail you. Psalms 12:6 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times“. Proverbs 30:5 confirms that “every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him”. When the word of God tries you and finds you blameless, then you have got the heart God is searching for, a man after His very heart.
In your own little way God’s word will try you and I pray you will not be found wanting. In this month of November, irrespective of what 2017 had accomplished in you life, chose to still love Him, trust Him, fear Him and serve Him because the heart that does that is a heart ready for a promotion in a very short while. Remain faithful and committed! Love and peace my dear people and a very happy November is my wish for you! Amen.
Enjoy the new week too!
*Main bible references: Daniel chapters 1 to 6