1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these 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.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Have you noticed something about Daniel? People who teach Sunday School love Daniel. And people who are new Christians worry about Daniel. Yep, the Lions await you. You are going to be sent with lots of approval to Somalia and the pirates are your charge. Tally - ho. Bon voyage!!! Roar of approval - like we all used to do as kids - hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaa Wave Now.
Daniel isn't like Joseph. Noooooooo. Daniel is what the indians call a poor hunter - a veg- et-ar-ian. Now, let's be kind. I'm sure God loves Daniel too.
No, I'm kidding, God equips us to do His work. Frankly, Daniel was needed to be a Perfect to get the attention of three Emperors and get the Exiles back to Israel. God put Daniel just were he was needed and caused good things to happen for him. However, this is a most unusual story in Scripture. It's like Hezekiah seeing the sun move backwards. Usually there isn't much acclaim in doing His work. And usually there is a lot of struggle like Joseph. And even when Joseph was chosen - you don't hear of Joseph's perfections - but of his willingness to be humble and forgiving.
Now if you were Pope and you sang that to the tune of "If I were King of the Forest". It's a catchy tune. I bet you did that.
NOW IF YOU WERE POPE FOR THE DAAAAY. What would you do with that? Me - I'd have prime rib.
Actually, I have an agenda. Quelle Surprise. I would say this - we are not in the days were families typically look like this:
and what we are watching on TV does not look like this:
And Pope Francis is saying even atheists have a shot at His Kingdom with good works.
I'd have to say to the new Pope - I drove past the convent in Houston - and I realized - I don't want to live there. But if you gave me the opportunity to live on a farming Monastery with the opportunity to read the Word of God and feed people each day - you betcha. But there is a caveat - we have to agree that Jesus healed a specific person - Peter's Mother-in-Law.
And Jesus didn't look over at Peter and say, "Well, one of your imperfections is that you are married." Jesus was known to be a communicator for - for - for - GOD. Yep. Jesus knows God pretty well.
Pope Francis, sir, Jesus had a team of people go out for HIM to give up lives and hearth for Jesus. They are recorded as Authors of Scripture. Yes, Jesus' brothers. The Scriptures know the word for cousin - that is used for Elizabeth. And Jude, Jesus' brother records that Evangelism is for all people, but we need to stay in His Word to see HIM work well. Jude is bashed, but Jude ends very well with love.
Theologians come and go - but St. Thomas Aquinas had some very Anita Bryant ideas about women. Ever wonder where the idea that blondes are dumb came from... thank you, St. Thomas Aquinas. Seems redheads are harlots and brunettes are greedy. But only if you are sans penis. St. Thomas Aquinas did NOT want to get married. So badly he locked himself away in a tower. Unfortunately for us, he rather stayed in a tower the rest of his life. No huggie, no kissie until you are a Bride of Christ. But if you are a Priest - you sure better not get married.
Well, Daniel needed to be perfect. And God used him to make an amazing miracle. But the Second Temple, without the Ark returning to it, was stuck on perfections and didn't fire up the Essenes except out. This is a Work of God, but most of God's work is Him overcoming Weaknesses and not perfections to be miracles.
Pope Francis, evangelism is good. Or we go far over and fail to feed the ones already in the flock while appealing to atheists and those people who never will care to be part of Church. Not even our Lord could bring in some of the people.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15
Who is our Neighbor? The one Jesus said who shows mercy. A parable about who deserves our mercy, giving mercy to people in need. However, some people never did show Jesus mercy. Negative attention getters can't be revered. The sheep of the flock show mercy. Feed the people showing the mercy. (Pope Francis, the Church has maligned the married - why not use this resource? And if we are going with the idea that God calls the righteous and those forsake marriage - no, Matthew 6:12 says God calls sinners.)
So let's letter rip - that's a joke. We need all the Word of God the Nicene Council brought us at great peril and risk of life.
Our culture is changing. I bet a lot of us recognize this -
Yes "The 300". King Leonidas and Emperor Xerxes discuss surrender. We are SO Stuck on the subtitles we should be called salmon and not people.
We do this to Scripture too. Immediately after seizing the kingship, Darius I of Persia (son of Hystaspes) married Atossa (daughter of Cyrus the Great). Then Xerxes claimed he was sprung from Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, and that it was Cyrus who had won the Persians their freedom.
Xerxes married a gal named Esther. You could see their tombs in Iran today. And here is the shape of Xerxes tomb, to the left.
Xerxes is monotheistic. And part of your Bible today. This is the king portrayed in modern movies, like "300", and video war games as ruthless and wholly corrupt. The Scriptures show a lot of suggestions are made to the king all the time, but the Book of Esther begins with Xerxes re-thinking his actions. This is a man favored with God's help, a plot against him is averted by his choice of new queen and the queen's family.
We accept willingly this Emperor was corrupt. And fail to see we don't delve into images. We allow the subtitles to dictate to us.
Scripture isn't about Jesus meek and mild. Jesus was born to an unwed mother. God did not have to do that. God did not have to make John the Baptist's father mute. Seems rather impolite. It's the fight and the struggle that God uses to refine us. Fight the Good Fight but don't salmon up.
Jesus was recognized as Joseph's own grown son twice in the Gospels. Look that up. It's important. This is about blending people back into the world to urge the world to look to Him. It's about not looking like the 1950s to the world. It's having a place to go if your child lives with a significant other. Only in Church is this considered to be a bad thing. ME? I'm for Marriage. I'm for doing the hard work. But let's be real. In the world you are supposed to apologize, if you are not for living together.
We are facing this divide. Put on your 'we all get along' with the subtitles and just love one another. And have struggles for who presents themselves in a 'we can use them' fashion. We have to be real where we are to learn to deal with our culture. Not just do like they did in World War II reading the readings and ignoring the bombs. We have to be in the world. We cannot ostrich up in Church and be equipped.
We need to embrace God using weakness to make the path straight. Not forgetting when up to our rear in alligators the goal was to make the Higher Path Encouraging and Welcoming. Not put on your best and most fake, get the job, appearance.
Or we can say Daniel is unique, gifted, talented and we won't make fun of him. Employ the Gospel of Love. Even the perfect ones need love too.
Then we are so acclimated to Church that we look rather foreign in the work place. In our neighborhood. The Church as a whole unit needs to be both Daniel and John the Baptist. The Word of God is about blending our Higher Path into a place of Encouragement.
We hold maxims because we remember them. We readily remember 'don't let the sun go down on your anger'. 'Turn the other cheek'. And we hold them to be the immediate Biblical answer. Yet sometimes turning the other cheek is exactly what the evil one would want. Sometimes we have to employ "Rebuke the devil and he will flee from you." Exactly like, if people are not going to reason with you, why provoke another fight but sometimes the fight is what they did in Scripture ... to learn. WE have to apply the right Scripture for the right solution. In Prayer. In checking the true reality of our goals.
What would we do if Jesus could see us thinking... HE is there.