I wake up most nights at least one or two times. Occasionally the Lord will wake me to pray. More often, I’ll just wake up in anticipation of the day starting, or to simply use the bathroom and find a glass of water. My wife and I like the room to be completely dark when we are sleeping. This poses a problem when navigating my room during night time hours, and can result in a few stubbed toes, (and maybe an un-sanctified word accidentally slipping through my lips) before I can find the light switch. That’s the point. When I’m surrounded by darkness I have to know how to turn on the light. Cursing the darkness does not activate any power that can illuminate my room, and it actually extends the period that I stay covered by darkness.
If you’ve read this far, you are probably wondering what this guy is rambling about. Well… This week in the Life Journal we have started reading the book of Daniel (one of my personal favorites). Daniel 1 and 2 tells of a young Jewish man named Daniel who is exiled into captivity into the wicked Babylonian kingdom. Daniel gets recruited into King Nebuchadnezzar court to serve the pagan king and his officials. This is a problem for Daniel because he is a committed believer in the God of Israel and his ways. The culture of Babylon begins to conflict with his faith and Daniel has to stand his ground when asked to change his diet to serve ”King Neb”.
Let ‘s look at Daniel 1 verses 8-16: But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”
Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.
Daniel was rooted in his faith, never compromising but also never condemning. Because of the level of respect Daniel had built through serving the king’s attendant with a pure heart, he had God’s favor. Because Daniel had favor he could ask for an opportunity to let his GOD FIGHT FOR HIM. I really like the Idea of Jesus proving himself through me rather than me trying to prove Jesus. Now I know this seems like a simple concept, but think with me. Babylon’s King had appointed people who were openly performing witchcraft to help lead his empire. You can most certainly say that Babylon was a spiritually dark place. No one could blame Daniel if he decided to throw a fit and condemn the king and culture he was unfairly thrown into. Thankfully Daniel had kingdom wisdom. Instead of cursing the dark he turned on the light! Eventually the result of Daniel’s choice gains favor with the king, and in chapter 2, we see spiritual awakening happen in Babylon. This is what we are called to in our homes, communities, workplaces and Appalachia. When you find yourself in an environment that doesn’t honor Jesus, you really have two choices. Complain and grumble about the dark. I promise you’ll end stubbing your toe. Or going to the real source of power and revealing the light. Church let’s turn on the light!