Reading: No scheduled reading
Thoughts and Reflections: Today is the regularly scheduled “Catch Up” day for the first week of June. If needed use it to go back and cover some readings where you may have fallen behind—it happens. Otherwise, below are some thoughts for your consideration from this week’s readings.
- Daniel and Ezekiel were contemporaries, and they knew one another. Ezekiel mentions Daniel by name (Ezek. 14:14, 20). What is remarkable about this is that the prophet mentions Daniel along with Noah and Job as individuals of exceptional faith and righteousness. That in itself does not surprise us but note that Daniel’s reputation was such while he was still alive, and apparently—if chapter 14 is written even before the siege is made on Jerusalem as many believe—still rather young. What a great testament to this godly young man.
- Effective discipline extends beyond the application of negative consequences. There were times when we felt it necessary to spank our children. But we never let the spanking be the end of it. After an appropriate time, we would sit down with the child and discuss why what had just happened. Our interest was not inflicting pain, but teaching important lessons.
So God disciplined his people. They were taken from their home and their lands and made captives in Babylon. But God did not leave it there. He continued to work with them and speak to them. He wasn’t finished. Daniel and Ezekiel stand as testaments to that fact.
- One value of familiarity with Ezekiel and Daniel is a better chance of understanding Revelation. Both books heavily influence John’s apocalypse. Revelation extensively relies on the language, imagery, and vocabulary of the Old Testament in general and the prophets specifically. Both of these prophets of the exile also contain portions of apocalyptic literature (a style of writing the relies heavily on symbolism) of which Revelation is the most prominent Bible example.
What is keeping you from doing your best? From reaching your goals and dreams? From being a person of righteousness and faithfulness to God?
“Well, I’ve just got to do this or that, or fix this, or get past that, or when I get a little older, or a little smarter, or I’m in better circumstances or….” There’s always something that could be better about us, our circumstances, and our lives. We make a critical error when we believe that everything has to be just right before we do and be our best. That’s just not true.
No better examples of this can be found than Daniel and Ezekiel. Here are two men for whom the majority of their lives were lived under negative circumstances—they were both captives and exiles from their homeland and likely from their family and kin. In no way did they think that the only way to do and be their best was to get back home and have their less-than-desirable circumstances be fixed.
As a matter of fact, it could be argued that their greatness is actually defined by who and what they were in the middle of those circumstances.
So, instead of waiting for things to be right so you can act, you may be missing the greatest opportunity you’ll ever have.