This is Part I-Don’t-Know in our devotional/study series “An Awkward Stance – A Study of Daniel.”
Good morning, peeps!
If I remember correctly, we left off talking about Daniel and his homies having complete knowledge of who they were. They knew they were royalty. And not just any kind of royalty: covenant royalty. The sacredness of that had been communicated to every generation from the moment the covenant was made: from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Chico (??), it had been passed down. They had the words of their forefathers.
There comes a time when what Grandpa’nem have told you ain’t enough. You gotta know it for yourself.
Growing up, I always heard “You can’t live off Mama’s prayers. You need to talk to God for yourself.” When I first heard that, I probably thought, “Well, that kinda sucks. Have you heard my mama pray??” Oh my goodness. My mama prayed – no: wailed. The kind of wailing that would embarrass me. Okay, don’t start taking off your belts to whup me – that’s just how I felt as a child. Prayer time would be over and my mama would still be at the altar crying out to God like she wasn’t aware that we had a whole 3 hours of church service left. And she prayed ugly, with snot hanging down from her nose. When she’d finally get up, she would bring that snotty towel back to her seat and place it on the pew. Eww. I was completely disgusted. As turned off as I was, there was still a sense of peace…the peace that comes from knowing that MY mama prayed. I was covered! Mama had me. Thanks, Ma!
There comes a time when what Mama prayed ain’t enough. You gotta talk to God your own self.
I know you’re wondering what in the world this has to do with Daniel’nem. Everything. Let me run back to Moses to make my point. Let’s say that the exodus from Egypt and his ability to lead millions of people out of slavery was funded by the prayers of his mama. Let’s just give her credit for a moment. Cool. Thanks, Ma! And let’s just say that God’s grace and the mercy He showed by not wiping out everyone when they made the golden calf was all because of the prayers Moses’ mama had prayed. Cool. Thanks, Ma!
But there came a time when what Mo’s mama prayed wasn’t enough. He had to talk to God himself.
Think back to Exodus 33 when Moses and God had a face-to-face convo. It was in the tabernacle – which was a tent, not a building – and when Mo went in, a pillar of cloud “stood” at the doorway. Here’s what has been breathing down the back of my neck for the last couple of days: Mo’s ability to do all of the stuff he’s famous for was funded by the time he spent with God. The tent had been there – Mo had to make the choice to go in…for himself. The confidence he needed to do the things God was calling him to do required him to “have a little talk with Jesus”…himself (or hisself). Mama couldn’t do it for him. The same thing holds true for Daniel. Just saying, “I’m Abraham’s graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaandson”, wasn’t going to cut it. Daniel could not refuse the king’s portion or stand with his back to the lions in confidence if he had not spent time in God’s face.
Just saying you’re a child of God ain’t enough. You need to talk with your Father.
There are things God is calling you to do. You already know what they are. God is calling you to make choices that you are not overly excited to make. Yay. The only way you are going to be able to make them and move in confidence is through your time with God. Let me tell ya, I feel like I can go out and conquer the world after listening to my kiddos tell me how awesome I am as a mom. Are you kidding me?? Bring on world hunger – I’ll make batches of Hamburger Helper and wipe it out TODAY! You have friends who make you feel invincible, don’t you? Just imagine how you will feel after talking with God.
Daniel was able to make his choice because of the time he’d spent in God’s face.
Daniel was not immortal – he was human. He was not a cherub that sang “hallelujah” all day long while flying (I don’t know if they fly) around God’s throne all day – he was human. Not only was he human: he was a teenager. A teenager. Who has a teenager? Oooh. Some of them have the drive of a dead gnat…that’s in a balled-up piece of tissue…laying at the bottom of the bathroom garbage can. Too descriptive? Most will take the easy way out of any situation if they can get away with it. So what was it about Daniel? What gave him the confidence to defy the king? You do know that his refusal of the king’s portion was straight-up defiance, right? Let me sit on that for a second. If you were looking at this like Daniel kindly pushed his plate away and said, “I’m not hungry”, noooo. Do not downplay this thing. This was an order by the king and Daniel said “I ain’t doin’ it.” Remember that the eunich in charge of Daniel told him that he feared for his life. When you go against a king’s order, death is next. “But, I’m Abraham’s graaaaa–… ”
Only time spent in God’s face…