Did you ever ever find yourself in a place you didn’t want to be? A captive of sorts. Hope is not a tactic. We can’t just hope that things will get better. Hope without a plan or spiritual truth is nothing more than wishful thinking. Hope must be anchored in truth.
Jesus needs to be in the middle of our hope.
In the book of Daniel, we see Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who have been captured along with other young men, in King Nebuchadnezzar’s possession. They were expected to eat the King’s food and drink his wine, because it was of the highest quality. But, the food was not kosher, had been sacrificed to other gods, and would have defiled them if they had eaten it against God’s law. So they asked for vegetables and water, instead, to honor their God.
After hearing this message yesterday morning, I look differently at the small things in life. You know the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”? It’s wrong! I know, who would of though?. Our preacher insists that “It’s in the small stuff”, and I get it. By resolving not to defile himself, Daniel was blessed with the gift of interpreting dreams. This gift allowed him to save the lives of many people. A small thing that gained him a place of respect and in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. (If you’re not following me here, read Daniel 1 in the Old Testament)
These four young men were schooled in Babylonian history, culture, literature and religion. But even though they were in Babylon, they were not of Babylon. Their parents had taught them of God’s Word and they were faithful God. But, God was also faithful to them. He used them even in the Babylonian court to remain distinctively God’ people. They were able to infiltrate the pagan courts as his witnesses.
These young men gave themselves to God in a remarkable way. Are you doing that? Have you trusted God to provide what you need to serve him in a way you don’t feel equipped? If you haven’t I encourage it strongly. It’s a great way to see God work in the small things! We make decisions every day that are opportunities to be faithful to God or not.
The world tries to compress us into what it wants us to be. Television, radio, social media, the news – they all try to tell us it’s okay to do what makes us happy; what makes us feel good; what makes us popular. But do things the way God wants you to do them. Honor him in the little things and see how he will honor you.
The devil is in the details. He knows how to manipulate. He let’s you go to church, attend Bible study, even listen to K-love. But causes us to fight over stupid stuff. Don’t be fooled by his deception! Obedience in the simple things can prepare you for what lies ahead.
God equips us to make the most of our stay in captivity. We don’t belong here on earth. We are only visitors here for a time. But God has you where he wants you. He will give you the knowledge and the skill to complete the task at hand.
This sermon really hit home because God has done this so often in my life. I have stepped into some areas that I had no business being in, but because I felt Him nudging me forward, I stepped out in faith. I could never have imagined the things God was going to lead me into and how he would be so faithful in equipping me. Don’t think that I have it all figured out, because I don’t. But, I continue to step forward, knowing that He is with me, guiding me as I continue to learn the skills that I need.
Yes, hope is a good thing, but be careful to put your hope in the right thing because it can be dangerous if misplaced. Hope in God that you believe in and trust is a good thing. Hope that things will turn out okay, but no plan in place as to why or how? Probably not a good thing.
So, where are you on your mission? Stop waiting to get in that ideal situation. We are all at some time in our own Babylon, but we aren’t alone. God is with us. Equipping us in our captivity.
My blog posts can’t do justice to Jon’s sermons, so come join us in Milan, IN next Sunday if you find yourself in the neighborhood. Need to know the way? Our website is being updated and it can give you some information about us. Click here.