Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the "why" from the Word

I like to be liked. I do. So posts like yesterday's post make me a little uncomfortable as I enter into the realm of "odd." In fact I ended my evening last night by asking my man if he thought I was odd. He lovingly said "yes."

So here I am. The odd girl who is about to partake of a 40-day Daniel fast. Trying to lay down the world's approval and settle back in to that audience of One.

Today I want to tell you more about what He showed me from the book of Daniel as I sought him about this crazy fasting thing. Quite a bit fell from the pages, so I am going to bullet-list it for simplicity sake.

  • Daniel 1:8-9, Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies. And God brought him into the favor of those ruling over him.

    Granted, we do not serve a king in this country, but Daniel's heart goal is what draws me--not to be defiled, stained, or polluted by the world. God then blessed him and brought him into the favor of those over him.

    On this side of Christ, we are under grace. Food itself does not defile. But our world is defiled. And one way to set ourselves apart from this world is to abstain from some of its delicacies. In this case, for me, I'm following Daniel's lead and setting aside certain food and drink.

  • Daniel 1:11-16, Daniel and his three friends asked the steward over them if they could simply eat vegetables and drink water rather than partake of the king's rich foods and drink. The steward agreed to a 10-day trial. After 10 days they appeared better than all the other men who had eaten of the king's foods. So he took away their king's portions and gave them only vegetables. It appears they did this for at least the three years of king's training that they were under (see 1:5).

    The word translated "vegetables" actually means "something sown." This is what I call "God-foods." Foods grown from the ground, free of manipulation. In my personal fast I will limit myself to eating those things that grow from the ground--fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts. God-foods.

  • Daniel 1:17-21, God blessed their setting apart. He gave them knowledge and skill and understanding so that they were 10 times "better" than all who served before the king.

    I'm not trying to be some wise-guru of sorts, but wow. I want my King to find me worthy of His best. Worthy of a taste of His knowledge and understanding. It appears that setting ourselves apart from the world at large sets us up for His pouring out, both for our good and for the glory due His name.

  • Daniel 10, just read the entire chapter. It is now approximately 60 years later. 60 years! Daniel sets out again, humbling himself before the Lord and seeking understanding. For three full weeks he eats the same way that he ate in chapter one while communing with God in prayer. And he was visited by an angelic being with a heavenly message.

    OK, so I am not expecting to be visited by an angel. I am certain I would completely freak out. But the thing that hit me here is that God moved towards Daniel as he set himself towards prayer. He communed with the God of the universe, humbling himself and seeking understanding, and the Most High responded. That. is. amazing.

  • Daniel 10:12-14, This is where it gets crazy. The "angel" explains that on the first day that Daniel began praying during his fast, this angel was sent. But that the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood him for 21 days. So Michael, one of God's chief princes, came to help him get past.

    Did you catch that?! Daniel set himself apart to humble himself and pray for understanding and an angel was sent to him. BUT, the angel had to war in the heavenly realm against evil forces of darkness. Take a breath.

    Is this not crazy?! Paul tells us of these principalities of darkness in Ephesians 6 but to think that our prayers can call down heavenly beings to war against those strongholds kinda blows me away.

So those are some things that He showed me from His word. A time of humbling, a time of setting apart from the world at large, a time of seeking His face and His understanding, a time of warring against strongholds. All for His ultimate glory and, graciously, for our good.

Bringing it home...

What thoughts does this text stir up for you personally?

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