Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wise Men, Part II of III

Wise Men, Part II of III
Dec 20, 2010
Daniel 9:2 ". . . I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet . . .'"

Daniel was a prophet in the Old Testament who had an amazing ministry from God. Daniel was given many dreams and visions which spoke about both his current time and times to come (many of which are still to come). A little history for background purposes: Daniel was a Hebrew, taken captive by the Babylonians when they attacked Israel; he was brought to Babylon, castrated, and forced into the king's service. When Daniel was placed in service of the king, he decided to work as unto the Lord and serve his earthly masters well. In fact, Daniel grew in stature and standing with the king, and rose up in command under him. The king of Babylon was later overthrown by the king of the Persians, with Daniel remaining a captive in service to the new king. Eventually, Daniel was placed in high command over the entire Persian Empire. In spite of being taken away from his homeland, castrated, and forced into service to not one, but several Godless, foreign kings, Daniel kept his internal compass pointed toward the Lord and served God regardless of his earthly surroundings. Wow. However difficult you think you have it, your life does not compare to Daniel's.

Daniel was clearly a very busy man, being in forced servitude to several different kings. In spite of his work and probable lack of spare time, Daniel decided the most important thing to do was pray and study scriptures. Notice Daniel's own words found in Daniel 9:2--"I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet . . ." Daniel said this after he had risen in command in the Persian king's service (which was also after his famous night in the lion's den). Despite Daniel's many dreams and visions from the Lord, despite Daniel's knowledge and earthly stature, despite Daniel's own wisdom, he still studied the Scriptures, including the words of another prophet who was possibly still alive at the time, the prophet Jeremiah (who wrote the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations).

The point we should take away from Daniel's story is this: no matter how mature we think we are, no matter how wise we think we are, there is still more for us to learn, there is still more for us to understand about God and His Word. The mark of a fool is the display of his arrogance, thinking he has reached his pinnacle, thinking he has nothing else to learn from the Lord. Christian, you will never be done learning, you will never be done understanding, you will never be complete in your wisdom until you come into perfection in Heaven. Until then, there is always something to learn from the Bible, from personal prayer time, from your pastor's sermon, from books, and even from devotionals. The moment you decide you cannot learn a new perspective or detail from a common child's version of Noah and the Ark, you have become a fool. A wise man will find education in everything, even a small child's Bible story.

I've read through the Bible many times, the first time when I was only seventeen. Yet my understanding of scripture doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to know and understand about God and His Word. From last week's devotional, we read it took three learned men from the East (the Magi, or Wise Men) who understood prophecy and scripture enough to follow a star to where the Christ child was born. This star, because they studied and found it, led them to Jesus. A simple star, yet it took wise men to find it and then follow it. Listen to what the prophet Daniel says about stars in Dan 12:3--"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." Determine to be a wise man; study and learn your whole life, from everything, especially Scripture, and be wise enough to train your children to do the same. Your wisdom will shine like the stars, leading others to the Lord.

1. When was the last time you truly studied the Scriptures?
2. Have you devoted your whole life to becoming wise and mature or have you plateaued in your understanding?
3. How can you open your eyes to learn from everything, even from a child?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Dan 1:17, Dan 6, Dan 12:3, Phil 2:15, Col 3:23

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