Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Ah, Babylon. The greatest and most powerful nation on the face of the planet. No other nation has been able to stand up to her prowess, not even Israel. Babylon led the people of God away in chains, and that wasn't even her first conquest. Throw a dart at a map of the world in that time, and you're likely to hit some region of Babylon's vast and growing empire.

It's the kind of empire that has a lot to brag about. Clearly, Babylon is powerful. Clearly, they are great. Clearly, they are strategic and strong. There's not a lot that Babylon can't do. At least, nothing that she's found herself incapable of yet.

Enter Daniel.

Daniel is one of the four men of Israel that we're told comes into a small, but powerful group of Babylon's wise men. He becomes an advisor to the king himself. He pushes the envelope from the very start, demanding vegetables and water for himself instead of the kingdom's choicest foods, but God pours out His favor on Daniel and the young Jew quickly rises through the ranks.

There comes this moment when the king has a dream that he doesn't understand, and he begs his wise men to interpret the dream for him. But to make sure they are telling him the truth, he doesn't even tell them the contents of the dream. They have to figure that part out for themselves. Everyone cries out and says it's impossible, and the king orders to kill them all. Then, Daniel steps up and tells the king his dream and its interpretation, and here, David is called the wisest man in all the kingdom. The king lavishes good gifts on him. He is praised for his excellence, for being the best wise man there is.

Which means the most powerful, wise, strong, and favored man in the most powerful, wise, strong kingdom in all the one of their captives.

Think about that for a minute. Babylon is the greatest kingdom in the whole world, with the best of everything, but the best in Babylon and the greatest among them is...a Jew. It's Daniel.

This is important. It's important for all of us. Because we are strangers in a strange land, captives in a world that is not our home. We often wonder what it is that we can offer to a world that is already great and powerful, that is so drunk on itself that it can't even imagine being any greater than it already is. This world already thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread and all its men, just piddly little peons. Pawns on the chess board. Mere tokens.

But what Daniel shows us, what God reminds us through his story, is that even the greatest kingdom in all the world becomes greater with a man of God in it. No one is as strong as he thinks he is without the Lord.

That means you're not as piddly as you think. You're not as piddly as the world may try to make you feel. In fact, the world needs you. Because as great as it thinks it is, the greatest in its you, if you live faithfully. You give this world what it can never have on its own, what it doesn't even know it's missing.

Babylon's king was surrounded by wise men. He always thought they were enough. He always believed he had the best of them, that he'd created the best team. But in his moment of need, he found out how lacking he was. He found out the limitations of the men he'd put around him. And he discovered a greatness he'd never thought to tap into, in a captive man of God who brought the full force of Heaven with him.

That's powerful. And it's a call to all of us, to be the men and women of God He has called us to be. Because even the greatest kingdom in all the world is nothing compared to the God who makes us great. This world needs us.

Even if they don't know it yet. 

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