“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
As a child of God one of the assurances God has given every believer is being successful. In giving life, God has also blessed with each one of us with gifts, which then can be developed into excellence and with that receive the blessings of success. Proverbs 22:9 says, “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.”
One example we see here is Daniel. He was one of “four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” (Daniel 1:17). After he helped Nebuchadnezzar interpret one of his dreams, “Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men” (Daniel 2: 48).
One of the things we learn from Daniel’s life is that he did not let success get into his head. Knowing from whom it was; he remained faithful to God. Sometime later in his life Daniel was asked by King Nebuchadnezzar to bow and worship an image of his. To object would mean suffering death by being thrown in a blazing furnace. Look at what he told the king. “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).
God, indeed, rescued him. Humbled after being rescued, “Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon” (Daniel 3:30).
God desires that we should all be successful. He has blessed us with gifts which can lead us to “serve before kings.” However, wherever this success takes us, we should honor Him and not let success get into our heads. Daniel would meet other challenges in his life, such as an order to obey a decree to worship false gods which he refused to give to. He was then thrown into a den of lion. God delivered him, and “Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (Daniel 6:28).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, creator of heaven and earth, I thank you for the gifts that you have given me to “serve before kings”; and today I pray that I may always use them to honor you, just like your servant Daniel did.
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!