Thursday, June 02, 2011

June 2, 2011 … Integrity Triumphs Over Adversity

Passage of the Day: Daniel 1: 1 – 2 … 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. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.

My Journal for Today: You’ve gotta love the openness and reality of the Bible, more specifically today in the Old Testament book of Daniel. As we read in today’s highlight passage, God never coddles the sinfulness of His people. For many years God’s people, the Jews, had been disobedient and recalcitrant; and so God allows the wicked nation of Babylon to consume His chosen ones in captivity.

John MacArthur in Strength for Today points out that this illustrates that “… judgment [begins] with the family of God (see 1st Peter 4: 17). “ And it also shows that God’s discipline is always levied against His children to produce greater righteousness and Godly integrity (see Hebrew 12: 5 – 11 - linked for your study).

It was this stage of historical captivity, involving the Jews with all of the associated Babylonian cruelty, which produced the remarkable display of faithful spiritual integrity which I’ll be highlighting this month … as Daniel and his young Hebrew friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are tested and found to be pure jewels in God’s crown.

Think of the word picture involving a jeweler desiring to show his best gems, possibly his prime diamonds. To do this, the jeweler always displays these prime jewels or sparkling gems on a blackened backdrop, shining a focused, bright light to reflect off of the facets of the cut gems to entice a buyer who is looking at the gems. And that is what we will see in the book of Daniel as the shining integrity of these four young Hebrews is displayed, shining against the dark backdrop of their Babylonian captors.

And right now in history, knowing what God has communicated to His people (including His remnant in this country) … a stark warning that He can, at any time, as He did with the Jews in today’s passage, turn a nation over to its own selfish ways and let Satan deal with His people for a season. Reading the passage in Romans 1: 18-32 (please read it as it’s linked here) gives me pause, and makes me wonder if God hasn’t already begun to leave this country to our own fleshly captivity. Certainly something to ponder; and about which we should pray.

My Prayer Today: Shine through me, Lord! Have mercy on Your people, Lord! Amen

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