Sometimes in life we get warm treatment and appreciation from those above us in authority, while other times, we cannot seem to gain their approval no matter how hard we try.
Mostly these are just the ups and downs of a normal life. But there may be occasions when we face unique circumstances, difficult or otherwise, which were put there by God to achieve His divine purposes through us.
It is evident from the Bible that God likes to use people of faith as instruments to help reflect His power and glory to others. Two examples are the prophet Daniel, who will serve under King Nebuchadnezzar, and Jacob’s son Joseph who served under Pharaoh of Egypt. Both youths were carried off from their homes as captives and placed into situations not of their own choosing. But God raised both to be in their king’s court and to provide a vital service to the Lord’s people.
God granted Daniel and his three friends great favor in both intellectual learning and spiritual discernment. Like Joseph before him, Daniel would become the most trusted advisor to the king as well as a prophet and messenger from God.
17 And as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every kind of literature and expertise; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams. Daniel 1:17 (NASB)
When it came time for the four youths to be presented before King Nebuchadnezzar, the hand of God was evident.
18 Then at the end of the days which the king had specified for presenting them, the commander of the officials presented them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they entered the king’s personal service. 20 As for every matter of expertise and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the soothsayer priests and conjurers who were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king. Daniel 1:18-21 (NASB)
Daniel and his friends had made the decision to put God first in their lives, and they were used by Him to provide a great service. Their journey would not be an easy one, though, even living in the king’s palace. There always seemed to be some enemy or challenge to come against them, just as we often find today.
Few of us are in a position of privilege such as residing in luxury or can make the claim of being “without blemish” as these four youths were reputed to be. Face it, most of us are quite blemished! But that is why Jesus Christ came to earth the first time, to die as a sacrifice for our blemishes and failings, and to be raised from the dead so that we may enjoy newness of life.
As Daniel’s prophesies will point to in meditations to come, Jesus will return to earth one day to establish and reign over a global eternal kingdom. This will replace the succession of four great world empires as discussed in Daniel’s writings, and their derivatives that are still found in our world today.
Like the four youths in Nebuchadnezzar’s court, may the Lord grant us the strength to stay faithful to Him no matter what trials we are facing today. May His hand of favor extend to us and deliver us from our troubles by His strength, purity, and power.
Lord, we are not without blemish in our lives. Forgive us for our sins and shortcomings and help us to follow You, walking as godly women and men. Use us to shine Your divine light in a lost and hurting world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.