How are you? Have you had a good week so far? I’m starting to get used to this once-a-week blog routine, though I’ve enjoyed catching up with a few of you through email. Thank you so much for taking the time to write!
What a joy it is to reconnect with old friends — and new friends too! 🙂
Well, I made it to our second Beth Moore Bible study meeting — barely. I straggled in a few minutes late, so I missed the fellowship time. Our group meets upstairs from the preschool, so at least half the women in the room also have their hands full with preschoolers. As I entered the room, my mind was scattered in a million different directions.
I sat down next to our youth pastor’s wife, wondering if she would notice I had the word “X-RAY” scribbled across the back of my hand. This was to remind me NOT TO FORGET to pick up my son’s x-rays from the hospital in the 20-minute break between Bible study and the end of morning preschool. I didn’t want to have to take a 2-year-old down to radiology, but we needed those x-rays for his afternoon doctor appointment. (He dislocated his thumb playing football — not fun.)
At first, my body was there — but my mind wasn’t. But gradually, our discussion pulled me in, and I felt like a lost and thirsty traveler, stopping in for a cool drink. We talked about integrity, stemming from the week’s homework about Daniel. We learned the Latin word for “integrity” literally means “entire.” Beth Moore writes, “The lifeblood of integrity is becoming the same person no matter where we are — no matter who’s around.” We discussed how only Jesus Christ is perfect, yet we are to strive to be more like Him on a daily basis.
Our homework for week one of this study focused on Daniel being taken captive to Babylon. For the first time, I saw this from his mother’s point of view. How devastating! Her beloved teenage son was carted off 900 miles from Jerusalem to Babylon, along with several other outstanding young Hebrew men. Babylon is modern-day Baghdad.
Loss of Identity
What shocked me while reading through the lessons is that Daniel and his fellow captives were forced to undergo a radical loss of identity. Their very names were changed — from names that glorified God to names that worshiped the false gods of Babylon.
Daniel means “God is my judge.” His name was changed to Belteshazzar, which means “Bel will protect.” Hananiah means “Yah has been gracious,” yet his name become Shadrach, meaning “inspired by Aku.” You get the picture. These precious sons of Israel were torn from their homeland, their families, and everything they believed in.
Yet Daniel becomes our hero, our inspiration! He resolves not to defile himself with the king’s food, and is allowed to do this because of his tact in approaching his superiors. The video lesson focused on Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. It was so interesting to study this ancient history, learning about the rise and fall of four world empires (Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman).
We’re surrounded by a culture that is hostile to our faith. Beth Moore’s teaching reminded us we must be like Daniel and stand strong. She encouraged us to exercise the muscle of restraint. If Daniel could say no to the king’s rich foods, what can we say no to? What pulls us away from following God? What do we struggle with?
Beth says she will give up “rich meats” during the first six weeks of the study. I wondered how I could exercise the muscle of restraint more — and I realized my major struggle is with SUGAR! I let myself get slack over the summer, and I ate like I was 16 again — which I’m NOT.
I’ve noticed how my energy drops so drastically when I eat sugar or anything processed with white flour. So this is what I’m going to work on — getting stronger in the area of eating more healthy.
Here are the verses we’re trying to memorize during this study, Daniel 2:20-23. Beth encouraged us to write them on separate notecards and try to learn a little more each day. I’m putting these verses over my kitchen sink, where I spend a good portion of my day. Just reading these verses makes me so excited about what God is doing in my life — and in yours too. I’m praying for you!
Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:
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.