Joshua 14–A Long Time In Coming

Joshua and Caleb sat across the table from each other.  As they looked into each other’s eyes, there was a sense of accomplishment.  These two men had initially scouted the Promised Land and they were the spies that begged Israel to move forward. Now, Caleb approached his old friend and simply asked to be granted the land that God personally promised him in the presence of Joshua.

For Joshua it was a joyful day.  He was thrilled to grant to his friend the land God promised.  What’s more, as Philistine lands, He knew Caleb and His folks would clear it.  Joshua had grown old from the journey, but, Caleb had not! He was as fit as he had been 45 years before–another kind gift from God.  It had to be a great moment in the leadership journey for Joshua, clearly one so significant, that God wanted it in His word. 

Remaining faithful is much harder than simply being faithful. Life takes its toll on us. Years of following, battling, and facing the world wears folks down. We begin to doubt whether God is going to come through in the end. This story in the life of Joshua reminds us that God always keeps His word.  He prepares us individually for the journey He has laid out. The Lord knows the journey’s ending as clearly as He knows its beginning. 

While it can be a long time in coming, we must wait on the Lord to complete His work and keep His promises. Isaiah said it best, “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings–like eagles! they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Here’s to You Caleb! Go clear your mountain tops!!!

God Bless You


Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’[a]

10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)

Then the land had rest from war.

Joshua 13–Don’t Worry, I’ve Got This

Reality Stinks…Joshua had simply grown old and there was still lands to take. Amid all the victories and the clear obedience of the people, God sits Joshua down and speaks of next steps.  The Philistines were left. God said to Joshua–don’t worry, you focus on getting the land distributed and I will drive out the mountain people, Myself.

In God’s mind, a covenant is a covenant.  He told the people He would give them all the land, and He intended to do so. 

For Joshua, it had to be a hard message.  He had done all that had been told to him to do and now he was at the end and could no longer lead campaigns.  But God was not threatening or disciplining Joshua; instead, God was comforting the strong and courageous leader that he could do the next part of the mission, distribution, and God would take care of clearing the land.

As in Joshua’s life, we have reality checks in our lives as well.  We are bustling along attacking our missions; when life throws curve balls.  All at once, we are faced with hard realities and fear the mission will not be completed.  In those times, our heavenly Father pulls us aside and through His word says, “I got this!”

It is often hard to hear, it takes a great deal of faith, but, if we will trust God; He will complete what He has started in our lives.  To God, it is not an act of discipline–instead, it is a simple act of love and faithfulness.

God Bless You


When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.

“This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek and the border of the Amorites; the area of Byblos; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

“As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.”

Joshua 10 Part 2–Obedience and Victory

God knew what He was doing.  As Israel continued to seek Him, He was able to lead them to victory after victory.  What could have taken months to complete God was able to finish in a very short time.  The five kings that reigned in the south decided to show Israel who was boss–and they did.  They made clear, as they sat hiding in a cave while their armies were being destroyed, that God was boss, and Israel was the nation that God had raised them to be.Israel simply honored God’s commands and did what God told them to do.  The result was victory after victory.

Make no mistake, to achieve those victories, Israel was in battle after battle.  Men died; cities were wiped out–it was a difficult journey.  The claiming of their inheritance came to Israel at a great price. But the comfort comes from the truth that they fought those battles with God leading Joshua, God protecting the nation, and God providing victory.

Such is our journey. If we allow God to lead, He will do so with a glad heart.  We will see amazing victories.  But we cannot forget that our journey is still war. Our victory will also come at a great price, and we will see that it is God’s leadership and grace that will carry us through.  We cannot be afraid to face the battle.  We cannot be afraid to honor God in all that we do.  If we will do so, then God will lead us to a victory that we can be proud of.

God Bless You


20 So Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely, but a few survivors managed to reach their fortified cities. 21 The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites.

22 Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.

25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua put the kings to death and exposed their bodies on five poles, and they were left hanging on the poles until evening.

27 At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the poles and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day…

40 So, Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills, and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

43 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

Joshua 9 Part 1–Don’t Worry God, We Got This?!?

Why did the leaders of Israel make a treaty with the Gibeonites? Every other major decision that happened was preceded by Joshua entering the tent of meeting and consulting the Lord.  God led them through forty years of travel and finally into Israel. Now as they had begun the campaign to clear the land, all the kings decided to unite and go to war–all but the king of Gibeon.  These descendants of Ham (Noah’s son) created a very thoughtful deception and came to the people of God and asked for a treaty.  

It was at this point, where we expect to read, “Then Joshua sought the Lord and …” Sadly, that did not happen that day.  Israel was winning and Joshua was leading by faith.  So, when these travelers from a distant land came to make a treaty, Joshua and his elders felt like they could handle this small task. They did not want to bother God with such a small thing…

In truth, no matter how much we try, as God’s chosen, all of us figure we should help God out from time to time. We seek Him and follow, and He protects, provides, and prepares us for the daily journey.  Then, on any given day, we are faced with an opportunity to make a small decision or take matters into our own hands. Like Joshua, we are either too busy or too distracted to stop and seek the Lord. Then we blunder ahead and make a choice that has very long-term implications.

These people were never wiped out; and remnants of their place can still be found in Ethiopia. They were always servants, but they were never destroyed. They remained attendants to the tabernacle and the temple–Ironic.  God remained true to His people’s covenant–even though it was one He had no part of negotiating.  Jesus said it best, “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and, all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

God Bless You


However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded[a] with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”

The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”

“We are your servants,” they said to Joshua.

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the Lord, the God of Israel.

Joshua 8 Part 2–The Victory Party

The people of Israel obeyed.  They wiped out Ai. They were able to take the plunder from the victory without fear, and the campaign to claim their inheritance had begun in earnest. The post battle victory party looked a bit different than one would think.  The Israelite people gathered in front of two mountains, they built an altar, they made sacrifices and then Joshua read to the people all the words of the law.

It was not an option to miss the reading.  whether native or foreign born, if one was to be a part of Israel, they would listen and know God’s law.

It was apparent to Joshua as the new leader and shepherd of this people, that they needed to remember the importance of trusting and following God. Moses had instructed the people to build the alter here and they made that a priority. 

It is quite possible that after the extreme circumstance of the recent days, that spending a day listening to the law and making sacrifices did not seem like great fun.  Yet, these people did so without grumbling or complaint.

God must be the priority. In victory or defeat, we must continue to seek God and follow Him.  If we will, God promises us, as His people to meet our needs and direct our path.  Joshua knew this better than any of the people. He had been watching the results of failing to follow God his entire adult life.

So now as the leader, Joshua was careful to listen to God, follow Him closely and lead His people toward the Lord and not away from Him.

We also must live a life that leads people toward God and not away.  We must listen to the word and seek God in prayer and fellowship.  It is not always convenient; it is certainly not always fun–but it will help us to face our battles with confidence and it will help us to prepare for our eternal inheritance. 

Paul said it best in Colossians 3:1-4, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

God Bless You


Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the Lord burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on stones a copy of the law of Moses. 33 All the Israelites, with their elders, officials, and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord, facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born were there. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.

34 Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them.

Joshua 6 Part 1–Joshua’s Leadership Perspective

Now, as a guy, I love action movies.  I have seen more westerns, war movies, and covert-ops intrigue movies than I can count.  I must admit, however, that in the hundreds of hours of entertainment that I have enjoyed–NEVER did the big battle scene start with a bunch of priests leading the brass section of a marching band…God’s ways rarely are the same as our ways. 

There are several reasons for that.  I want to highlight three.  First–God is God and we are not.  As Joshua watched God over the 40 years he spent in the desert; one thing became clear–It is God’s power and leadership that delivered Israel–not anything they had or did.  Manna from heaven, water from rocks, crossing seas and rivers on dry land, leadership by clouds of fire and smoke all reminded Joshua that God did the heavy lifting–and as leader; he needed simply to trust and follow.

Second, God sees all time at once.  The Lord knows the outcome at the same time He knows the planning.  God never has to wonder what the end looks like.  So, when God directed Joshua’s battle strategy, He did so already aware of the outcome.  Joshua saw God forecast for Moses the entire journey from Egypt–God was never wrong.  So, when God gave Joshua direction, Joshua never questioned it.  Joshua simply followed.

Finally, God made sure that His own name was exalted–not Joshua’s nor the Israel’s.  While that may sound egocentric, the reality was that when the people become the center of attention, they release their dependence on God, and become self-important.  That independence always leads to chaos and defeat. As a group, people are a mess. God loved Israel and wanted them to enjoy the inheritance that He provided.  The Lord knew that would never last unless they did things with humility and dependence upon Him. So, that was why God always did things in a way that pointed back to His plan and His power. Starting a war with a concert was a great way to show that enemies were facing God–not a bunch of nomadic wanderers. 

If we, as His chosen, could accept that truth as readily as Joshua accepted it, then we could experience the same victory and blessing that God gave Joshua.  Joshua led with wisdom and humility–that choice was and is a perpetual one; it is made daily and sometimes hourly.  It is a mindset that is not dependent upon circumstance.  It is a life of surrender and trust in the God that created and is in control of ALL things.

God Bless You


Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat,[a] and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.”

And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” 11 So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

12 Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.13 And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.

15 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.

Joshua 4 Part 2–The True Changing of the Guard

God never does things half way. When it came time to cross the Jordan and start the new campaign, God did it in a big way. He stacked up the waters so that Israel could cross on dry land.  He exalted Joshua as leader before the people.  Then He prepared them for the first of many battles that were to come. 

Verse 14 stood out.  “That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of Israel; they stood in awe of him all the days of his life–Just as they stood in awe of Moses.” 

Joshua had big sandals to fill–God knew that, and so God made sure there was no doubt that Joshua was the leader–with the full confidence and Spirit of God resting upon him.  Remember, this was a stiff-necked people.  They needed a strong leader that would operate like a gentle shepherd. Joshua was uniquely trained to fill that role.  As time would pass, Joshua would be given the opportunity to show what a lifetime of faith and obedience could produce.  That picture should have inspired Israel for generations.  That picture should inspire us for all the days of our lives.  

These people, led by this man of God, had the single most direct illustration of the preparation, protection and provision that God could offer. Now, as they sought to claim their inheritance, the world would get a glimpse of God’s direction and care for those He loves.  One can never forget, Joshua was not leading a warrior nation–He was leading a nation of priests called to share God’s love with all men.  Joshua, the great General was now also the amazing shepherd to lead God’s people to fulfil their destiny and their role as that nation of priests.

God Bless You


Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched.12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them.13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.

14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.

15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”

17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”

18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.

19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Joshua 3 Now Is the Time to Let God Shine

The time had come.  The wandering was over, the spies had returned, and now, God was preparing to make Canaan Israel’s land.  The entirety of Israel was made ready.  The priests would lead with the Ark, The people would follow according to the order they knew. Joshua would lead and Israel would cross the Jordan on dry ground…What?  That is correct.  Even though the river was running at flood stage, God parted the river and made the ground on which the people crossed dry.

It must have been quite a sight to see the water bunched up like a wall and the ground in the riverbed dry. As the people crossed, they knew that this would be God’s battle and not theirs. The priests, the soldiers, and the people would see that God was in control.

God does the same in our lives. If we are willing to follow, He will establish His presence for us and will lead us through the treacherous, and dangerous paths we cover.  We, like Joshua, need to listen and follow the Lord’s command.  If we will, God is faithful to do in our lives all that He has promised. In that, not only will we see His hand in our lives, but we will show others who may need to know the Lord His greatness and His faithfulness.

God Bless You


Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittimand went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

Daniel 2 Part 2–Making Our Dreams Come True

For King Neb’s magicians and prophets, it was not a stellar day. The king was having nightmares and now somehow it was their fault. That certainly did not seem fair.  But, the fairness of the King demanding their lives for his unwillingness to work with them–even a little bit, was unbelievable. So, as the soldiers approached to take Daniel and his friends to be ripped limb from limb and their houses be laid to ruin, Daniel was able to keep his head about him and focus upon God–not on the current circumstance.  He tactfully asked his executioner to lay the story out, and when he gathered all the facts, politely and humbly asked the king far a little extra time. Amazingly, the king gave him a day.
 
Next, Daniel got the gang together and did what true men of God do in dire circumstances–they prayed.  While praying in the night, God revealed the dream and its meaning to Daniel.  No one saw that coming. So, Daniel did what mighty men of God do when God answers their prayers–He praised God for who He is and thanked Him for the great thing the Lord had accomplished.  It was a good result for an unthinkable circumstance.
 
Life simply is not fair. Circumtances appear that are by most standards, unbelievably outrageous.  They are insurmountable, awful, and impossible to manage.  In the midst of those circumstances, God’s people hit their knees, keep their heads, and seek the Lord in humility and by faith.   That is when God does what He does best–turn the impossible into a praisewothy and teachable moment. 
 
After that, all that is left is the call for praise and thanksgiving. We have watched God come through time and again. As His chosen, to do anything other than to trust and seek Him in times of trouble, is simply foolish. Then, after He delivers, once again; we must remember to be thankful and grateful for His provision and protection.
 
That pattern has worked for many of God’s people–like Daniel. Help me, Lord to make that pattern work for me and my family as well!!!
 
God Bless You

This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.

14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 1 Part 2–God Perfectly Prepares Us for His Plan

There simply is never an OOPS! God is the most methodical and purposeful Leader and Father! Daniel and His friends, Hannaniah, Azariah and Mishael were taken captive from Israel by Babalonian soldiers, and then they were put into the service of the King–Nebchaduneezer. Unlike the other captives, these young men remained pure and kept holy with what they ate and drank.  As a result, God blessed them mightily. At the end of the training, each captive was sent to be interviewed by the King.
 
In the interviews, it is said that they stood out in the areas of literature and wisdom and that Daniel had a unique understanding of visions and dreams.  It was said that they were 10 times better than the magicians and enchanters already in the kingdom.  Clearly, these men stood out. At this point, no one knew what a difference these men would have for the nation of Israel and the empire of Babylon.  Well, that is not actually accurate…God knew.  He prepared these young men.  He gifted them and brought them together to impact Babylon and Israel.  That preparation started in Israel, continued in their training, and would shape them all the days of their lives.
 
The same holds true today.  The preparation that God started in our youth, continues throughout our lives.  We are uniquely situated  to carry out our piece of the Lord’s plan. We must remain committed and teachable. We must also be ready to employ all that we have received to honor the Lord and His plan.  We must not underestimate what value we each bring to God’s plan.  We must also maintain our faith through seemingly dire and dark periods. Remember, each event does shape who and Whose we are.  The encouragement we can receive from this is simple–God has a plan.  If we will trust Him, He will prepare us and employ us to be a significant part of His plan; and shape our lives and the lives of others!
 
God Bless You

As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. 20 And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. 21 And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.