Right Where He Wants YOU!

Text: Daniel 1

If you are an occasional reader to this blog, you know that I haven’t posted anything for months!  Some have asked if I will be writing in 2016.  Well by God’s grace and the Spirit’s leading, I hope to find a place in your life once again.  Through reflections on God’s Word I hope these interactions with Scripture will be a helpful means of caring for your soul.

So why has there been such a long delay in writing?  There are a lot of reasons.  First, I agreed to teach two new classes this past fall at Moody Theological Seminary.  Most of my spare time was occupied with reading, doing research and writing lectures.  Then in November my wife, Carol, was diagnosed for a second time with breast cancer.  Cancer, along with other health challenges, was not what we had been anticipating.  And so with what seemed like unrelenting visits to doctors and surgeons, we found ourselves asking, “Why are we in this position AGAIN?”  Do you ever ask yourself that question?

Quite often when I find myself in the “land of why” it seems that the Spirit of God brings me back to Daniel 1.  It is a chapter about “unwanted places.”  And according to verse 2 the Lord is the invisible guide into these unplanned, unwanted, seemingly futile life circumstances.  As the chapter unfolds, we see three major events unfolding.

  • The Lord placed the people of Israel in the land of Babylon, just as he said he would do in Leviticus 26:33 and 39.  We see the activities surrounding  divine placement in Daniel 1:1-7.
  • Then we are told that Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself in verses 8-16.  It was an intentional choice made on behalf of four young Hebrews while they were in a location they never wanted to be.  There has been a lot of speculation as to why the four men chose the dietary restrictions they did.  Most likely it had little to do with Jewish dietary laws, and more with a decision to not be influenced by Babylonian culture.  These four Hebrews wanted to maintain their distinctive identity as God’s people.
  • Finally, we are informed in verses 17-20 that God gave them unusual wisdom and everyday skills that would enable them to succeed in their new setting.  In fact, when the king inquired about their well-being, these four men surpassed everyone else in knowledge and skill.

The author seems to be introducing a cause-effect situation that shows us that obedience brings blessing. And quite often we are called to obey in those very places where we don’t want to be.  What does this mean to us, the reader?

Our unwanted places are God's places to represent Him in everything!

Where are your unwanted places?  Some of us will find ourselves dealing with unwanted job transitions this year.  Still others will be confronted with unwanted health issues. M of us will find ourselves forced into unwanted situations based on the decisions of others, and they will impact our relationships in a variety of ways.   

When you are living in your unwanted places, remember this: None of these situations are beyond the scope of God’s sovereign love and good purposes.   

The Father will guide us everyday to open our lives to “providential conversations” where we can boldly exalt the Triune God.

Please don’t waste the place where God has you today. It is your platform to glorify Him.  

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