June 9 - A Questionable Life, Part 2
Daniel 1:1-2 (ESV) In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god.
Here’s the thing about King Nebuchadnezzar: He wasn’t a nice guy. He was a prideful ruler and wanted everyone to see how powerful he was. He swept into Jerusalem, pillaged the city and its Temple, killed the strongest, abducted those he found useful and let no one remain in the city but the weakest people to survive on their own. And to really add salt to their wounds, he took “vessels of the house of God” that held sacred meaning for the Jews and tossed them into the house of his false god, flaunting his misguided belief that “my god is better than your God.”
Those vessels from God’s temple held great significance and were viewed as holy by the Jews, but Nebuchadnezzar just used them as cheap objects to point to his power and his ability to overcome Jerusalem. It sounds like a repulsive practice to us, but take a look at the world around us. We are surrounded by similar acts in our culture, where something sacred is taken and reduced from its absolute value to a relative value. The example Greg used on Sunday was marriage.
Marriage is a sacred gift from God which mirrors His covenant relationship with His people, but many people just see it as a way to attain their own personal happiness. After a few years when they hit some speed bumps in their marriage and discover it isn’t always easy or fun, they’re ready to toss their commitment aside for something shiny and new. Rather than viewing marriage as a vessel for honoring God, many reduce it to the value of just another disposable trinket.
The world wants to tell us that we are nothing more than the culmination of our desires, but we are so much more than that. We are the image of God. Once we start aligning our values with God and living out the teachings of Jesus, those around us will notice we are different and question us. That is our opportunity to share why we respond and act in unexpected ways. That’s when we can share the truth about our glorious, mighty God!