So, as many of you know, I am a lover of inductive Bible study. In particular, Precept Bible studies- scripture upon scripture, building precept upon precept. And recently, I joined a group of amazing women and on Tuesday nights we study the word together. It has been a sweet time of fellowship and richly rewarding to my daily walk.
Just a few short months ago, we completed a 5 week study in Ezra and Haggai, and I’ll admit, at moments (lots of them), I thought to myself… “I have bitten off more than I can chew!” The homework was rigorous, the scripture daunting, and my mind was all sorts of scattered when I would sit down for quiet time & study. That is usually when the enemy wants to rob you of a blessing.
So, I pressed on.
Even when I could not make the group discussions due to calendar challenges, I continued to keep up with the study on my own and have reaped the benefits from this amazing, amazing scripture. A portion of scripture I have never before studied.What a timely reminder for me direct from my Savior!
In my other community group, we were simultaneously studying the book of Daniel, where the Israelites are pillaged and taken as exiles and slaves to Persia under the Pagan, King Nebuchadnezzar. What follows are a series of amazing events and Daniel is faithful, holding true to his Jewish heritage, and holding fast to his faith; a tremendous example of what it means to be a Christian in a perverse and tumultuous world.
So riveting. So incredibly convicting.
And in Ezra, the first Jewish exiles return to Judah after being in captivity for so many years and they return home and rebuild the temple. Their tears and sadness turn to gladness and rejoicing! It was especially impactful reading these 2 pieces of historical scripture back to back.
But, what struck me the most was the idea of exile. That idea of feeling completely and totally alone.
But, hope was never fully lost or forgotten because Hope was always with them. Because He had made them a promise of future redemption.
And so they waited.
Waiting is not a foreign concept for me. I constantly feel as if I am in a state of “wait”. For most of my young adult and adult life I feel like I have been lying in “wait.” For the right college, the right friendships, the right major, and then the right first job and the choosing of the correct career path, followed by searching for the right place to plant myself and purchase that first new home. And finally, the waiting line I currently find myself in, is waiting on him. My future husband. But, “wait” is never ending in our lives, we are always, always waiting on something… or someone.
Wait is a spiritual discipline. A time to pray, a time to worship, and a time to acknowledge His total and complete sovereignty.
During the wait, Daniel remained steadfast and he was exalted among the Jewish nation to the very top of Persian rule; the interpreter to the King and most trusted adviser. And he prospered because of his faith in the Lord and the way in which he obeyed.
What do we do in the wait?
What do I do in those seasons of wait?
Am I steadfast? Faithful? Faith-filled?
In a state of worship rather than a state of complaining and comparison?
In constant prayer?
If I am honest, in those times of wait, in those times of uncertainty, I am anything but Daniel-like. I am often in a state trapped in comparison and envy, in a season filled with resentment and worry, and rather than stop, breathe, and praise, I get caught up in my own impatience rather than in worshiping Him.
So, when I face a challenge, a season of wait, a moment of total insecurity and improbability, I want to go back to my home, like Daniel, and face Israel, and pray. Out in the open. Boldly. Beseechingly. Faithfully.
Don’t function in exile. You are not alone and you most certainly are not forgotten. He has a long memory and He will not forsake His children.
Challenge the Daniel within us all in 2017. Can you imagine the impact we could have in this New Year, if we all committed to be a little more like Daniel? What an incredible witness, even as the days become dark.
Face Israel, and pray.