Tuesday - June1st
Scripture to Read Today: Daniel 1:1-5
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Life can turn in a matter of seconds. It can radically change with little or no warning. Everything changes when you get a phone call from the police regarding a terrible accident, the divorce papers arrive, the doctor explains that the tests show the cancer is back, your adult child tells you they have no interest in faith, you get notified the company will be eliminating your position, or some other news arrives, turning your world upside down. We all need courageous hope in those life-altering moments we never dreamed could happen to us.
The Old Testament story of Daniel begins with radical life-altering change. The impact on the young Jewish man's life would be felt forever. He would never return to what he knew as normal. Around 586 B.C., God used the Babylonian empire to bring judgment on Judah, the southern kingdom of Abraham's descendants. The northern kingdom had been conquered by the Assyrians nearly a century and a half earlier.
Daniel and three of his friends were taken captive by the armies of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. As young men of noble heritage in Judah, Nebuchadnezzar ordered the four Jewish men to be trained in the Babylonian ways. He wanted them to be added to his closest advisors. They would enhance his perspective and understanding of the world he had conquered and the people now a part of his empire.
Daniel and his friends found themselves far from home, captives of the most powerful man in the world. They were to learn a new language, follow new customs, become a part of a radically different culture than their own. More than likely, the rest of their families had been injured, tortured, enslaved, or killed. They would never see their families again. They may not ever even learn the fate of those closest to them. With all of that, they would be called upon to be wise advisors to the very man who had ruined their lives.
The four young Jewish men knew the challenge of "Life Disrupted" personally. The story in the Book of Daniel's first five verses leaves the reader with little hope for a positive outcome. These four may simply be blended into Babylonian life, religion, and ways. Because of what had happened to them, they might never look back to their heritage as Jews nor to their God - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. At the outset of the story, it appears that they may look, act, and be Babylonian in a matter of years, never considering their roots again.
This is when many of us skip forward in the story to read the last chapter. We cannot exercise enough patience to read the linear narrative of what unfolds. We have to know now. Very well. In the years ahead, the four men from Judah would stand up for their God several times - even when threatened, thrown into a hot furnace, and forced to spend the night in a pit of lions. They would not forget their heritage, and most importantly, they would not forget their God.
Maybe your life has been disrupted by people and circumstances outside your control. One of the verses in Scripture I have memorized and turn to repeatedly during seasons of life disruption is Isaiah 41:10. Read it a few times today. Memorize it. Let it soak into your heart and mind. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).
When life gets disrupted, that is the moment to lean into God and let Him uphold you with His mighty hand!