Study from God’s Word… Daniel, Chapters 1 – 2 … Passage for Reflection: Daniel 1: 17 … NIV 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
My Journal for Today: Well, here I am in my year of Bible studies, in Babylon, many having been taken into captive by King Nebuchadnezzar; and we begin to read of a group of young Hebrew lads who were chosen, along with a number of promising and vetted Hebrews to be educated in the way of Babylon’s culture; and using these unfolding events, God gives Daniel a special gift of being able to discern and interpret dreams, a skill which will prove invaluable in allowing Daniel and three of his friends, to rise to some degree of power in the Babylonian court of Nebuchadnezzar.
Today, for discussion and consideration, Dr. Smith highlights the fact – and truth – that God can use human, or what we would call “secular” education, for His glory; but this can and will only take place if those, like Daniel and his young friends, who were renamed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego by Nebuchadnezzar, were well grounded in their faith BEFORE going through man’s worldly curriculum.
I am a good example of what can happen if an immature faith collides with a worldly, ungodly educational process, since I went off to college with an ungrounded faith in God and no real relationship with my Lord. It only took a few weeks of exposure to the ungodliness of an educational system, which actually mocked Christianity, to lose what “faith” I had. And so I came out of four years of college, labeling myself as an “agnostic” (a code name for “atheist”); and not believing in God at all. I had literally become, “a devil’s advocate.”
Dr. Smith is right that God doesn’t despise the education of the human mind. He created the mind to observe what He has created and to learn to use the mind HE created to come to know and understand what HE would reveal to the human mind/heart. But Satan, using his devices in the world, can put the human mind, with its deceptive heart (see Jer. 17: 9) through a systematic course of ungodliness which can draw that mind/heart away from God. But today’s highlight passage is an example that a mind and heart which is already well-grounded in faith to the one true God, can use any or all worldly education to sharpen that mind for God’s glory. And that’s what happened to Daniel and the three other Hebrews boys.
Hence, we have a warning for Christian parents from this part of Daniel’s story and from my own witness. We must do all we can, as God’s word touts in Deut. 6 and Prov. 22: 6, to raise up our children in the faith so that they are ready, as was Daniel, to take on the worldly rigors of “secular” education.
Our two daughters went off to college – to state universities - well grounded and committed in their faith; and here they are now, solid in their Christian discipleship and raising their children to be witnesses for Christ in their lives. We need not fear worldly education if we have the Holy Spirit’s ministry of enlightenment in our hearts to buffer what the world would teach us (for assurance, see 1 John 4: 4 and Prov. 3: 5 – 6 and Joshua 1: 8). These latter passages give us the confidence that God’s enabling grace in our hearts as born-again, committed Christians, can/will overcome any temptations or misinformation provided by a world bent on unGodly influence.
I now know, first hand, that being educated in God’s truth can overwhelm, cleanse, and by choice, reform a mind into an intellect used for His glory. As Gods’ word itself touts (in Prov. 23: 7 [NKJV]), “As he [any man] thinks in his heart, so is he.” So, after I surrendered my mind/heart to Christ, my discipleship and education in God’s truth [i.e., from His word] reshaped me, as promised by Romans 12: 1-2, to become a living sacrifice for Christ and a witness for Him (see Acts 1: 8) … instead of an ungodly witness for Satan and the world as I had become in college.
I pray we all take the young minds we have been given by God in our children and grandchildren to do all we can to raise them up to be surrendered to Christ … before the world’s influence can shape their mind for Satan’s service.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to do all I can to see that our grandchildren do not fall prey to the world’s influences which will attempt to draw them away from You. I beg You shape their minds for Your glory. Amen