Our family moved to Garland, Texas in January and we needed to enroll our first and second grade sons in school. I went to the elementary school office but I received some disheartening news. There was room for our second grade son but our first grade son would have to ride a bus across town to a different school. What? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing (begin internal meltdown, pity party, and adult temper tantrum)! What was I to do?
As the book of Daniel begins, we are introduced to 4 handsome youths from Israel who were taken as captives to Babylon – Daniel and his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (their Jewish names). The first three chapters of Daniel present several different scenes in the lives of these young men.
In chapter one, the four friends are in training. Think college. The first matter that Daniel addressed was the king’s food and wine. God gave him favor and compassion with the chief of the eunuchs and the four were allowed to conduct a ten day food test. Another aspect of this situation is their learning and education. Daniel and his friends were committed to follow God and sought His provision for their food, health, and education.
“At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food … As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom … among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.” ~Daniel 1:15, 17-19
Daniel is the focus in chapter two. The king has given a very unusual, basically impossible work assignment – tell me what I dreamed last night and the meaning of the dream. The first group of wise men failed their assignment and the king ordered the death for all the wise men. When Daniel was found, he prudently asked why this matter was so urgent. After the king’s request was explained to him, Daniel took his work assignment to the Lord and prayed fervently for the answer.
“Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery … Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” ~Daniel 2:17-19
The third scene in this book involves Daniel’s three friends and a test of their faith in the God of heaven. King Nebuchadnezzar creates a massive image of gold and commands all the leaders to bow down in worship when they hear the music. Anyone who chose to disobey would be thrown into the fiery furnace. The three Jewish men would not bow and worship the golden image as they were commanded.
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” ~Daniel 3:16-18
The end of chapter three tells us that the God of heaven did rescue them from the fiery furnace. God used this particular situation to bring glory to His name and even Nebuchadnezzar was humbled and blessed the name of God.
God provides for us and cares about every aspect of our lives.
- Our health and education
- Our job and daily work assignments
- Our worship and relationship with Him
Daniel and his friends didn’t just go to God when they needed something or wanted God to take care of them. God was part of their personal, everyday lives. Every aspect of life included God – their food, decisions, prayer life, relationships, and conversations.
And here’s the end to my opening story…
I completed the paperwork for our 2 young sons to attend elementary school and I went to my car. Driving back to our rental house, I spoke out loud, “God, is it too much to ask you to allow both boys to attend this elementary school?” Trust me, there was a lot of “momma emotion” behind my bold question to God.
I arrived home and went to our bedroom, feeling somewhat distraught, when my husband appeared at the door. He said there was a phone call for me. I answered and a woman said, “Mrs. McCord, right after you left the school office (10 minutes ago), a man came in and withdrew his first grade daughter. There is room for your second son at our school. Both boys can start school tomorrow morning.”
What? Wow! The Lord heard my heart’s cry. Remember, God doesn’t always choose to answer quickly and according to our wishes. But in this situation, God was pleased to move in this particular manner. It encouraged our hearts and we thanked Him for His provision and care.
There is a God in heaven and He is very involved in our lives. Do I make an active choice to acknowledge Him in every part of my life? Each day? Each decision? Am I self dependent or God dependent?
“And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth.” ~Psalm 116:9 NLT