1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 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. 3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 youths 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. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. 6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
Imagine living in another time and place. You and your family are citizens in a kingdom, and the king is a good man. You have food, clothing, and shelter. You feel safe. But one day, you look out the window, and foreign soldiers are marching down your street. Some on horseback, some on foot. You hear a language you don’t recognize. As you peer out the window, trying not to be seen, your heart races. Why are they here? What do they want? Should I fight? Should I run? Should I hide? Like King Saul, in a flash, you forget what you know and start to take matters into your own hands.
A version of this scene plays out in our lives on a regular basis. Along comes some threat to life as we know it, and an avalanche of fear buries us. For the Christian, fear tempts us to forget who we are and all that we have in Jesus Christ. Like an invading army, death, change, sickness, conflict, or anything can turn our lives upside down in a moment. As fear rises, we do well to ask ourselves: Where do I feel like I’m losing control or becoming powerless? Where am I tempted not to trust God and to take matters into my own hands? How is fear causing me to forget the Lord? Until we realize how much fear controls us, we will struggle to see the darkness of our hearts and the light of our Savior.
Have you noticed that children can be comfortable and terrified in the exact same space? The same place that is “home” when the lights are on can become a haunted house when it’s dark. With the flick of a switch, however, everything changes. “This is home. My fear of the dark is irrational.” Brothers and sisters in Christ, even when it seems dark, the kingdom of God is our home; and the King of kings, the Man with God’s own heart, is our King. As we look out the window, we see the kingdom of this world marching by with threats and invitations. When fear causes us to forget, we need to remember in the dark what we’ve seen in the light. How do we do that? We open God’s word and pray for the Holy Spirit to pierce the darkness. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Are we spending time in God’s word? When we do, are we expecting for the Lord to shine His light and scatter our darkness, to build our faith and conquer our fear? As we walk in the light, it becomes clearer and clearer: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe” (Proverbs 29:25).