Can’t get the words out my head from the Israel Houghton song in church yesterday! ‘I’m not going back, I’m moving ahead, I’m here to declare to you, my past is over, in You, all things are made new, surrender my life to Christ, I’m moving, moving forward…’
So, today’s reading was Daniel 1:1-2. The people of Israel forgot who God was and with that also forgot who they were meant to be. Instead of living as a distinct people that would display God’s way to a lost world, they had turned all inwards and it became all about them. Despite God sending many prophets to warn them, they persisted in their independence. Therefore God removed his protection from them and the results were horrendous! Most of Daniel’s people were killed by hunger and by sword. Those who survived were forced to match more than 1000 miles from their homeland into a foreign country, Babylon.
I see two themes in these brief verses. One is the tragedy of turning away from God’s purpose. It’s possible for us as Christians to turn inward and begin to live for ourselves. It’s possible to be so busy hustling that we forget that all we have comes from Him anyway. When we abandon our Source and forget our identity, we are opening ourselves up to all kinds of tragedy.
The second theme is a little hidden at this point, but it is still there. Even in the tragedy, God was still working things out for the good of His people. Being in a hostile environment would not be easy, but it would give them an opportunity to remember their identity and to depend on God alone. Romans 8:28 says that ‘in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose’. God is such a loving God that even when I’m in self-created problems that came from my going my own way, He still is able to turn the situation out for my good.
That’s why the prophet Jeremiah was able to say even in that situation, “for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give to you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11
Prayer for today: Lord, help me to stay connected with you, today, this year and the rest of my life. Help me never to forget who You are or to forget my purpose. But even when I do, help me remember that You never give up on me and that You are able to make all things new. AMEN