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Synopsis of Putting Holes in the Darkness
Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from:
Well…. today, before I tell you the verse containing the key slice of the Bread of Life let me begin with a story told during a bible study by Anne Graham Lotz. When the Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson was a child the story is told that one night his nanny found him looking out his bedroom window into the darkness. She looked over his shoulder to see what he was watching; a lamplighter lighting the street lamps. Little Robert said to her, “Look; I’m watching that man putting holes in the darkness.”
Have you been discouraged by looking into the darkness brought on by the spiritual and moral decay of our great nation? It makes me think, I know I can’t change the world, but maybe, I can put a hole in the darkness. That thought brings me to thinking about Daniel, a Jewish young man in the nation of Judah when the Babylonians from the East swept through and destroyed every thing in a series of ruthless operations. This was when the enemy King, Nebuchadnezzar, ordered the brightest young Israelites from the Jewish nation to be slaves in his palace. But as I read chapter one of the book of Daniel I see Daniel putting holes in the darkness. Now, lets look at the first slice of the Word of God, Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
Wow! Can you imagine that; the king of the nation brings into the Jewish nation his own false gods. ( notice god is spelled with a lower case g ). Just how do you think these changes affected the average Christian , errr excuse me – Jewish, citizen. Also, how did they affect Daniel?
This brings me to think about the political changes happening in our nation. How do they affect you? Better yet, how do they affect the general population of this country? Lets examine how the religion of the Babylonians differ from that of the Jews? Let’s check it out in Jeremiah 32:29 And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.
And now lets see how it affected Daniel and his Christian, …. Errr… Jewish friends in Daniel 3:12 where the Chaldeans accused them, now renamed as … Sadrach, Meshach and Abednego, to the king… There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. 19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
WOW! How did that affect their faith. Now, let’s examine the religious changes in our nation over the last ten years. Better yet, how have these changes affected the church in the last ten years. How…. Yes, how has this impacted your faith? Watch it Bro. Dick, you’re getting personal now. Hmmmm…. Maybe that’s my job.
O.K. How about verses 3 through 7 of chapter 1 at four more changes that happened in Daniel’s life. And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; 4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. Sounds like an indoctrination through education to the King’s religious and philosophical and political thoughts.
5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Hey, hey…. Look how the nation is going to take care of you through it’s handouts of the best of the best.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. Ah, now you have Jewish names in my nation; you are now no longer Jewish, you are Babylonians.
When so many changes take place at the same time, in the world, in our country, in our community, in our churches, and even in our homes and family structure. How does that impact you…. or your family? How might today’s changes make Daniel feel? Which changes, thus far, can you identify with. Think of your children and grandchildren and the nations educational system; and of the changes in the nations identification with your religious beliefs.
Bro. Dick, where is there encouragement in such times? Glad you asked. God Is Our Fortress Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Since we are dealing with “now” circumstances, not 2000 years ago, let me reiterate that verse with a different version; TLB Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. 2 And so we need not fear even if the world blows up and the mountains crumble into the sea.
With that verse in our back pocket lets ask, how did Daniel handle the changes as they swirled around him? Verse 8 through 17 of chapter 1 give us a clue. ~Daniel’s Faithfulness. But Daniel made up his mind not to eat the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the superintendent for permission to eat other things instead.
9 Now as it happened, God had given the superintendent a special appreciation for Daniel and sympathy for his predicament. 11 Daniel talked it over with the steward who was appointed by the superintendent to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 and suggested a ten-day diet of only vegetables and water; 14 The steward finally agreed to the test. 15 Well, at the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the youths who had been eating the food supplied by the king! 16 So after that the steward fed them only vegetables and water, without the rich foods and wines! 17 God gave these four youths great ability to learn, and they soon mastered all the literature and science of the time; and God gave to Daniel special ability in understanding the meanings of dreams and visions.
Daniel did not accept the Kings’s handout; he stuck to his guns. And how did that become a hole in the darkness example to others. For that we go to verses 18 through 21. King Nebuchadnezzar had long talks with each of them, and none of them impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they were put on his regular staff of advisors. 20 And in all matters requiring information and balanced judgment, the king found these young men’s advice ten times better than that of all the skilled magicians and wise astrologers in his realm. 21 Daniel held this appointment as the king’s counselor until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.
Sounds to me that Daniel must have read Psalm, God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. Not only did he know the verse…. he kept his faith in it through his trials. Now, if Daniel had not been true to his conviction, his faith in his God, do you think anyone back home would have known about it. I think not. But, what a blessing he would have missed. What blessings are you or I missing today by not Putting Holes in the Dark. In our community, in our country, in our families, in our children or grandchildren.
Lets now shift gears and discuss Moses. How did he make a similar choice, and what was the result? For that we go to Hebrews 11:24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. First of all, he decided against the freebies given out to those who “just go with the flow.” He saw through the promises of the “good life” of the “rich and famous.”
Can you think of others who followed his example? How about the Exodus 12:35 And the people of Israel did as Moses said and asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. 36 And the Lord gave the Israelis favor with the Egyptians, so that they gave them whatever they wanted. And the Egyptians were practically stripped of everything they owned!
WOW ! What happens when God’s children follow his advice, and have faith in His promises, and stick to their core convictions, and Puts Holes in the Darkness? They reach their promised land.
What does this mean to you personally? Let’s see John 9:5 “ But while I am still here in the world, I give it my light.” Friends, I see us as God’s flood light; Jesus is the light, the Holy Spirit is the power, and we are the switch to make Christ shine. When we turn on the switch we lift Christ as we are commissioned to do, and the Holy Spirit will bring all men unto Him. It is our business to direct attention to the Lord, as the Author and Giver of every good gift.
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