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In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem. The Lord let Nebuchadnezzar capture Jehoiakim and take away some of the things used in God’s temple. And when the king returned to Babylonia, he put these things in the temple of his own god. One day the king ordered Ashpenaz, his highest palace official, to choose some young men from the royal family of Judah and from other leading Jewish families. The king said, “They must be healthy, handsome, smart, wise, educated, and fit to serve in the royal palace. Teach them how to speak and write our language and give them the same food and wine that I am served. Train them for three years, and then they can become court officials.” Four of the young Jews chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all from the tribe of Judah. But the king’s chief official gave them Babylonian names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego. Daniel 1:4-7
we have an enemy… and Paul says we are not ignorant of his schemes. one of his schemes is to assimilate us into his culture – in to the world. we can see him operating to do that to the young Jewish leaders in Daniel’s day. we are of the world but not of the world. while there are many wonderful things in our day there is also things that we should separate ourselves from. i’m not talking separatist life here but holy life. don’t compromise and be permissive. stand true to what you know God has said.
the enemy tried to change the names of daniel and his friends. he tries to change our destiny and our calling – he tries to cover up the truth with a lie and a falsehood.
Names and their meaning:
Hananiah – God has favoured – to Shadrach – “of Shach”, which was a name of a god or goddess of the Chaldeans, they worshipped
Mishael – who God is – to Meshach – “the messenger the sun”
Azariah – God has helped – to Abendego – “a servant, or worshipper of Nego”. The word signifies “shining brightness”: which some understand of fire worshipped by them; others of the bright planet Venus; and others of Lucifer
Daniel – judge of God – to Belteshazzar – Bel hath hid and treasured (Bel is a idol)
Don’t let anyone cover up your destiny. Don’t let anyone hold you back. don’t let anyone define who you are. listen to the ONE VOICE that can speak into your life and say who you are. God’s voice.
Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat. And he asked the king’s chief official for permission not to eat the food and wine served in the royal palace. Daniel 1:8
Daniel decided to obey God and live counter culture. He made up his mind to obey God. He resolved himself to obedience and while we know the end of the story, that he was tested and found to be more healthy and prosperous than his contemporaries who ate all the rich (and maybe idol offered) and unclean food, it could of led to his execution. He preferred death and punishment to disobedience.
He stood up and he stood out.
Will you make a stand for the ways of God and his righteousness today?
lets not compromise and fit in. Let us instead shine like stars in the darkness.
Philippians 2:12-16 My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life.
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
The Israelites forsook the spirit (the fountain of living water) and built their own cisterns. If water doesn’t have a renewable source, it stagnates and goes bad.
They replaced grace ( depending on God to do it for them – the spring of living water) with the law ( depending on their works to help them – digging their own cisterns)
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Galatians 3:2-3
they exchanged the living water of God, which brings true satisfaction and true wholeness and true life and created their own inferior copy, they tried to contain it and create something out of their own effort.
its so important we have a real authentic alive relationship with God, that we drink and find our satisfaction in Him, that we are led by Him and that we walk with Him. nothing else will satisfy or measure up to it. no relationship, no career, no religion – no nothing. In comparison to what God offers they are broken leaking useless cisterns.
Later in the NT living water is mentioned a few times:
John 4:10-14 Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. Sir, the woman said, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds? Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.
Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.
Although you wash yourself with soap
and use an abundance of cleansing powder,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,"
declares the Sovereign Lord.
Isaiah 1:18 contains a wonderful promise: Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
again, like the passage about the broken cisterns above, the israelites tried to wash themselves, cleanse themselves, free themselves. they tried to do what only God can do. in effect they exchanged the free gift of grace for regulations and restrictions which didnt bring any righteousness at all.
its like those scary germ microscope tests they do. the door handle/table/cup/whatever LOOKS clean but when you look closer with the power of technology… freak out! its a hive of germs!
Jesus often commented and called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs – all glittering sparkling white on the outside… but rotting bones and flesh on the inside.
Only Jesus can bring cleansing on the inside. Only He can remove the stain of sin and guilt totally and completely.
The point is were all trying to cleanse ourselves, or to cover our uncleanness by compensatory good deeds. But it won’t work. Outside-in cleansing cannot deal with the problem of the human heart. -Timothy Keller
And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7