Monday, May 26, 2014

Answering God

Einzelne KerzeNebuchadnezzar needed a miracle.  The dream was beyond disturbing; it was also beyond the ability of his army of sycophants to interpret.  He needed someone who could see into the darkness, into his nightmares and reveal the truth.   His wise men thought he was crazy; only a man possessed by the gods could help him.  He thought they were a bunch of cheats and declared either one of their number would tell him his dream or he'd kill them all. 

Daniel needed a miracle.  Lumped in together with hypocrites, fakes and conjurers, he was slated for slaughter.  He begged the executioner for a little time and went to find Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Then they prayed.

It was a pretty gutsy prayer. I don't mean the part where they beg for mercy. Surely all of us have sent up similar petitions trusting that Lord's mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3:23).  I mean that up to that point in Daniel's life it doesn't seem that he's been the host of any miracles.  What made him think that if he'd just delay a little while and have a little prayer meeting that God Almighty would reveal the mystery to him?

I wonder how often a lack of faith hinders my prayers?  I don't mean how often does my lack of faith hinder God answering them.  I mean I wonder how often a lack of faith stops my prayers before they start.  These four boys far from home prayed in the boldest faith.

They petitioned God.  God sent Daniel a vision in the night.  He provided the key to turning away the King's wrath.  More than simply saving the life of the four Hebrew boys, God transformed their near execution in to a triumph of provision!   So then Daniel answered God.

That's a funny turn of phrase isn't it.  "Answering God."  God replied to Daniel's petition by offering a him a life-saving vision and Daniel answered God in poetry, prayer and praise.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.
I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might,
And have now made known to me what we asked of You,
For You have made known to us the king's demand (Daniel 2:20-23).

I want to share with you that I have a real need to answer God.

You see my family is in the middle of a life-altering transition.  Long ago we left our home in America and came to a far away place believing that we were acting in obedience to God. We have certainly been blessed again and again in our host country, but we think it's time to return.  As I faced up to this news months ago, I was in need of some nearly miraculous providence.

I, in an unusual bit of boldness (prompted by terror most likely) I fasted and prayed.  I confessed that I didn't know what was in the future, I couldn't see into the darkness. I was without the wisdom I needed and without the power to make anything happen.  At that moment we were potentially homeless, carless, and jobless. We had families who would have taken us in, but in and of ourselves, we had nothing.

And now? My husband has a job (in God's provision settled months before we could arrive).  It comes with a parsonage, some of the kindest most relaxed people we have ever interviewed with, and enough money that I can stay home and see us through this transition. I could write paragraphs to share the details but suffice it to say, I have need to answer God.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
He changes the times and the seasons
And is Himself unchanging;
He reveals the future;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.
And He sent the light to dwell with us.
I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom,
And have now made known to us what we asked of You,
We went out empty and returned full.
We gave to you and you returned to us by opening heaven.
We will testify to your care for your servants.

How has God blessed you?  How will you answer him?


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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