The last few years in my assignment have been extremely as I have been increasingly involved in youth, something I did at the beginning season of my work in churches... youth-camps, youth-choir, youth meetings, youth magazines, youth conferences, youth evangelism and mission and much more. And now as I have reached my late 60’s it is there again but on a totally different level. Primarly because God has brought me to a new “place” in Him and into a new level of partnership with Him in the fulfilment of His agenda. And it’s also because he is intensifying His for clear and obvious reasons:- The development of the European nations
- The condition of His House, the church
- The heavy attack on the coming generations to abort what God is working on behind the scene.
The last is not new as it has happened in crucial times and seasons primary to a massive intervention from God in the life of individuals and of the nation, events which propelled Kingdom-history into a new season with irresistible spreading.
+ It happened for Abram and Saraj. It was not abortion because they couldn’t get children, but the enemy of God’s plan found alternative options... an obvious was Eliezer.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." But Abram said, "Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!" And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Gen 15,1-4
God loved Eliezer, honored him, used him... but He pursued an other option, His own.
“Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived ... So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram ... Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.” Gen 16,3-4,15-16 and 17,15-22
Drama takes place on the scene. God came, spoke about His plan, cancelled Abram’s plan and left him.
+ It happened in Jacob’s family as Joseph became a target because God chose him to prepare a way for Israel out of Egypt.
But the truth was:
“Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, "Make everyone go out from me!" So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph; does my father still live?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come near to me." So they came near. Then he said: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph: "God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children's children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine." Gen 45,1-11
“Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's household. And Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim's children to the third generation. The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were also brought up on Joseph's knees. And Joseph said to his brethren, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here." Gen 50,19-24
+ It happened to Israel on a greater scale, on the national level. A new Pharaoh rose in Egypt and was the instrument to destroy the nation under the heavy yoke of slavery.
“And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever." So Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” Ex 19,3-11
+ It happened for Jesus as king Herod chased Him to kill Him while He was just a baby.
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him." When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son." ... But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child's life are dead." Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene.” Matt 2,13-15,19-23
And it continued even after he stepped into His assignment... which was to destroy the works of the enemy. The devil had a plan for his own survival. God had a plan to overcome and raise a generation of sons who would overcome like His Son did.
“So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” Lk 4,28-30
The devil didn’t get Him in His life-time and His death was definitely not the work of the devil. No, He gave His life.
“Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!" And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.” Lk 23,44-48
He rescued a criminal’s life while on the cross... no, He was not powerless.
“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Lk 23,39-43
All physical elements manifested.
He took the keys of death and of the Kingdom of death from the hands of the devil... no He was neither limited nor intimidated.
His Father removed Him from the kingdom of darkness... yes, He was fully connected to heaven.
God even used the devil to advance, intensify and accelerate, consolidate Kingdom-advancements:
“So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.' "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4,24-31
Jerusalem reached a ‘boiling point’:
“So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.” Acts 5,11-16
He came to destroy the works of the enemy:
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1Joh 3,8
+ It happened to the first generation of the Kingdom-Church. It went from revival to resistance, from people-movement to people-murder, to genocide.
In this booklet we will have a look into a specific situation and season in the life of the nation of Israel, also called the captivity-time in Babylon. We have already seen how close Israel came to national abortion and mandate cancellation which happened in the days of Abraham and again in the days of Moses.
The historical context is given to us in the book of Chronicles and in the book of Kings:
“Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zebudah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him. And the Lord sent against him raiding bands of Chaldeans, bands of Syrians, bands of Moabites, and bands of the people of Ammon; He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken by His servants the prophets. Surely at the commandment of the Lord this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? So Jehoiakim rested with his fathers. Then Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place. And the king of Egypt did not come out of his land anymore, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the Brook of Egypt to the River Euphrates. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother's name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done. At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, as his servants were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his servants, his princes, and his officers went out to the king of Babylon; and the king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, took him prisoner. And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land. And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king's mother, the king's wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. Then the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin's uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah ... Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then the city wall was broken through, and all the men of war fled at night by way of the gate between two walls, which was by the king's garden, even though the Chaldeans were still encamped all around against the city. And the king went by way of the plain. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and they overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his army was scattered from him. So they took the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they pronounced judgment on him. Then they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with bronze fetters, and took him to Babylon. And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord and the king's house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls of Jerusalem all around. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive the rest of the people who remained in the city and the defectors who had deserted to the king of Babylon, with the rest of the multitude. But the captain of the guard left some of the poor of the land as vinedressers and farmers. The bronze pillars that were in the house of the Lord, and the carts and the bronze Sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried their bronze to Babylon. They also took away the pots, the shovels, the trimmers, the spoons, and all the bronze utensils with which the priests ministered. The firepans and the basins, the things of solid gold and solid silver, the captain of the guard took away. The two pillars, one Sea, and the carts, which Solomon had made for the house of the Lord, the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure. The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the capital on it was of bronze. The height of the capital was three cubits, and the network and pomegranates all around the capital were all of bronze. The second pillar was the same, with a network. And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers. He also took out of the city an officer who had charge of the men of war, five men of the king's close associates who were found in the city, the chief recruiting officer of the army, who mustered the people of the land, and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the city. So Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, took these and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. Then the king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land. Then he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, governor over the people who remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left. Now when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah--Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan the son of Careah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men. And Gedaliah took an oath before them and their men, and said to them, "Do not be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you." But it happened in the seventh month that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck and killed Gedaliah, the Jews, as well as the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. And all the people, small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose and went to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans. Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He spoke kindly to him, and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life.” 2Kg 23,36-37 24,1-17 and 25,1-30
A similar record of these spiritual declines and lack of people with a life shaped by God, a voice tuned into His voice and a stature developed under God’s purposeful and gracious dealings, leading to nationals disasters can be found in 2Chr 36.
Years later as the nation was in babylonian captivity Jeremiah wrote a letter to the exiles. His words will be the frame of this booklet because of its actuality and relevance. When God’s people leave their wal with Him and there are no sign of repentance and change, and not even a consciousness about the situation -not to speak about understanding- then God is ‘forced’ to act. At least to speak.
An example is to be found in the book of Malachi where God is recorded to say:
“You have wearied the Lord with your words.” Mal 3,17
And the people replied:
"In what way have we wearied Him?" In that you say, "Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the Lord, And He delights in them," Or, "Where is the God of justice?" Mal 3,17
That’s the situation. Then God has to act and he does act because He is not passive, He is zealous with His people, for the nations and their peoples, societies and institutions. He is also zealous for the investment He has made in our lives.
Unfortunately in the confused world of Christianity, confusion originating in revelational ignorance, double-mindedness and unholy alliance with secular humanistic ideologies, these words heard and penned down by Jeremiah have been lowered to the usual individualistic level where it is all about I, me and my:
First God is speaking:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer 29,11
Great words... we loved them... Israel loved them. What we might have paid attention to is that God said: “I know the thoughts that I think...”
However the question which is left with us is: Do we know what He thinks besides the comforting fact that He said that His thoughts were to give us a future and a hope? We do know what we think. But do we seek His presence and intimacy, do we walk in such a way that these thoughts are released and the future and the hope, He mentions is made known to us?
Personally I doubt.
Most christians are interested in future and hope but not really in what will bring it to them... His thoughts. This is of course my personal view. Legitimate though. What we seldom see is that God is speaking primarly to Israel and about Israel. ‘You’ is not me or you, it is Israel in exile in Babylon. But we unconsciously forget or consciously ignore that. The issue here is the thoughts about the future and hope for Israel as a nation. In the same way God knew about the situation of Israel in Egypt and heard the cry rising to His throne, their sufferings, their dislocation, God also knew Israel’s situation in Babylon and ‘heard’ the hopeleness ‘expressed’ in their inability of singing the songs of Zion.
So God thought thoughts of deep peace and extreme generosity, giving them future and hope.
“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord.” Jer 29,12-14
The key-word here is ‘then’ which indicates that the flow of thoughts and wordfs continue and become more detailed. ‘Then’ means simply ‘because of what I just mentioned for you’.
So basically God is saying: I have thought thoughts about you, your present situation and your future... therefore call upon me, talk with me, seek me, and I will be found by you. meaning: We will meet and talk.
But we have ‘used’ these words when we feared exam at university, when we sat in the dentist-chair and faced pain, when there was too much month at the end of money, when we felt sad and depressed. Can we do that? Of course, because God is a good father and an expert in giving key-words to help us at key-moments. But is it the core of the issue? Not at all. Our person is never the core of the issue. His love and plan for human mankind are... and we must be a part of it and make our contribution according to His call, grace and mandate.
The core of the issue is the nation of Israel, God’s firstborn Son, His entrance-point into the family of nations, His partner in the advancement of the Kingdom on Earth and the retreat of the kingdom of darkness.
Summa summarum... to use the words recorded in Jer 29,11-14 on a birthday-card to you uncle or niece is sweet, but it is abuse. What is the problem with that? There are two problems:
- We keep reading the Scriptures in a very limited and poor way which determines the ‘water-level’ in our lives.
- Our present limited and/or distorted understanding blocks the way for more understanding.
Both are extremely damaging for our lives, for our respective missions and assignments and consequently for the people who should have been affected by our lives, also called our next generation. So let’s be teachable and hear what the Spirit says to the Church.
SHINE IN BABYLON
This the first major commandment and challenge God is sending to the exiles in Babylon. As previously mentioned God was fully aware of their life-conditions as well as their mental and emotional conditions:
“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" How shall we sing the Lord's song In a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth-- If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, "Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!" O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, Happy the one who repays you as you have served us! Happy the one who takes and dashes Your little ones against the rock!” Ps 137,1-9
Well God’s prophetic Word reached in an extremely infected situation. His challenge to them might have been considered as a provocation, almost a declaration of war. But it was not war against Israel as God spoke about peace and not evil, future and hope. But there was any war in God’s prophetic challenge to them, it was war on their self-pity, blindness and hopelessness. God sovereignly overruled it all. He had done it before while they were stuck in Egypt and unable to hear, respond and align with the message of freedom... because of the hard work (Ex 6,9). Here again God will show that His mighty hand can lead them out. Actually he led them in, by using king Nebuchadnezzar. But God was behind it.
Now they are stuck and overwhelmed again. But His first message was not “Let’s get out of here... now!”. His message was: “Shine in Babylon!”
I can hear a huge and loud ‘WHAT?’ rising from their hearts and mouths.
Shine? Never... let’s repay them as they have served us, let’s dash their little ones against the rock! Which let’s destroy the present nation and let’s kill their future.
God said: SHINE!
You might think: When did He say that? Did He say at all?
Not explicitely, but implicitely.
God said in Jer 29,4:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon.”
And again later:
“And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” Jer 29,7
You were carried... I have caused you to be carried away captive.
Can these two statements go together? Absolutely. That’s the definition of ‘God at work’. The human tool to fulfill God’s plan was a heathen king; nevertheless God was totally and sovereignly in charge. There was absolutely no way the plan could get aborted, deviated or highjacked... not even negotiated. God had His own calendar. Still has.
Nebuchadnezzar carried them by camels and carriers, but God was the Heavenly good Shepherd of Israel. This was judgment but not rejection. Judgment in the Kingdom is an absolute positive and constructive thing. Being judgmental is very different. Judgment builds on guilt brings righteousness, peace and joy. Being judgmental builds on shame and brings humiliation, rejection and worthlessness. Cain was judged but not rejected, the same was the case for king Saul. The same for Israel as a nation.
Joseph was carried to Egypt, but God caused him to be carried and He had ‘an eye’ on him. He was neither harmed, killed nor deviated.
So God brought them there for a very specific reason which lays outside the purpose of this document.
Then God said:
From Jerusalem to Babylon
It seems to just be a useless geographical detailed for the human understanding. Maybe just useless. But nothing God made sure reached the pages of the bible is useless. There is always a context which can give the seemingly useless detail a deep and instructing -yes, even an eye-opening- meaning. Therefore the bible is a coded revelation and God invites us to step into partnership with Him: A relationship to the Father giving identity and position, a relationship with the Son forming sonship, a fullness of the Spirit making every heavenly thing accessible in due time. In this partnership God will instruct us and deciffer revelation.
This was God’s challenge to king Saul, but Saul never stepped into this ‘place’ of picking up revelation in his spirit and heart. He had moments of revelational knowledge but there was never a journey, and therefore never a longterm mandate. Samuel had and David definitely had.
From Jerusalem to Babylon...
For the human understanding it is just a geographical information.
For the Kingdom-believer, for the one who has en eye to see and an ear to hear, and a well-tuned spirit, it means much much more. It means that everything which had been given to them, formed in them, established inside of them, spoken to them, transferred to them since the days of the forefathers Abraham and Sarah, all what had been developed by the Kingdom-statesmen -Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Ester and Ruth, Samuel and David, all that they had to carry with them to Babylon.
They were carried.
God caused them to be carried.
They had to carry something with them from Jerusalem ...
... and let it shine in Babylon.
It means that they might arrive in Babylon empty-handed but surely not empty-hearted.
Everything which had been established in their lives and community through the centuries, sometimes through enriching provision and other times through intensive pain. We do remember the dramatic but powerful picture of Jacob worshipping God bowing on his stick because he fought with God and his hip had been harmed. But his name was changed from Jacob into Israel... and Israel became the name of a whole nation. Still is, and still will be.
When Daniel and his three friends landed in the Babylonian arrival terminal which might have looked like the train station in Auschwits or Treblinka, the chief of the eunuchs, the top royal headhunter Professor Ashpenaz selected them
“Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans ... Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.” Dan 1,3-4,9
What Daniel and his friends carry with them was seeable, it was tangible. There was a radiation, an influence. the bible even tells us that God let a personality-fragrance be sensed by Ashpenza. Something which they carried created an almost immediate good-will. It was in them, on them and all over them and came all the
way from Jerusalem to Babylon. Now it was shining in Babylon. Did they do anything? No. What was there was felt and sensed. It was obvious even if they didn’t realize its value and influence. Ashpenaz did.
To shine is simple. Nobody teaches the sun to shine.
To bear fruit is simple. Nobody teaches the tree to bear fruit.
All which is mentioned about these four youths was not the product of their educational programme in Babylon. It was already there and effectful at arrival. What happened after that was something else, and we will come back to that a little later in this document.
How do we know? Because the text says so:
“... some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles, young men...”
The king knew what to look for, teachability and lineage:- Descendants... because they were already well-formed: children of Israel, descendants of kings and nobles. The foundation was of high quality.
- Youth... because they were not yet totally formed: they were still young. He would add some babylonian education to the good already existing foundation.
Christians and churches look for skills and talents... and money. King Nebuchadnezzar had money and he gave money. Such a different world! Nevertheless God expocted them to let shoine what He had shaped inside of them. And they did.
King Solomon knew about it:
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all. A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender. He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor. Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease. He who loves purity of heart And has grace on his lips, The king will be his friend.” Prov 22,1-11
All these issues mentioned by king Solomon are internal signs that the person has been formed, shaped and sharpened over time, not overnight. ‘Deep form’ and not ‘fast food’. It is the difference between coal and a diamond. It is the difference between habitation and visitation.
- A good name
- Loving favour
- The rich and the poor
- A prudent man
- Humility and the fear of the Lord
- Thorns and snares
- Train up the child
- The lender and borrower
- Sowing and reaping
- Work with the rest of the passage
How do we shine in Babylon?
Establish an intensive and purposeful walk with God, nurtured as well as developed and monitored by the fathers in the House, which will form markers in your life.
The rest is available in the booklet "EDUCATE THE COMING KINGDOM-ARCHITECTS". Mail me to purchase a copy...