“3Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.” – Daniel 1:3-4
“19And 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. 20And 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.” – Daniel 1:19-20
Why are these verses important? Well…
Isn’t it normal for the sermon, motivational speech, video, story… to focus on the messed up guy or girl who overcomes everything to be used by God in a mighty way? They always seem to get all of the publicity.
The Moses’ who can’t talk without a stutter, the David’s who are the youngest, the disciples’ who are unlearned, the Paul’s who are completely opposite of Christ…
We focus on their amazing stories of being used by God. They were nothing. There was no way these people could be used. Yet they were.
It is truly a testament to God’s greatness. It gives hope to the weak, poor, unlearned, unskilled…
But what about the people who actually have stuff going pretty well? Those who were blessed with skill, understanding, wealth, strength? Where are their stories of triumph?
I feel like I have been very blessed by God. He has given me much of those qualities out of his endless grace… and the stories of God using the unlikely pump me up… but at the same time demoralize me. Why? Because I sometimes wonder if God uses those he has blessed with greatness (not saying I am great… but I have been given much more than so many… and not saying that ultimately we have any type of merit… we are all depraved to the max and can do nothing on our own…).
That is why these verses are so encouraging to me.
Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) were no slouches… they were not bums. These guys were on top of things. They were the best of the best… even “ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were all in his kingdom”! These guys were the cream of the crop…. And if you know the rest of the book of Daniel, you know that God will eventually use each of them to do mighty things for Himself.
That encourages me. God uses everyone. Not just the messed up and unlearned… but the clean-cut and wise.
As long as you just listen to Jesus and do what He says… you can be used by Him.