Daniel 1:3-5

Daniel 1:3-5

Do you wonder why are we in this planet (or especially you)?

To know the meaning, the goal and purpose of our existence is a vitally important matter. Somebody said, "if you don't where are you going to, no wind will help you". You've got a boat, you have a goal and the wind is blowing from a specific point: then - and only then - you can set the sails and the rudder in the proper position to reach your goal. Otherwise we would wander without course and direction through this life of us. The following Bible verses can help us to receive this spiritual truth:

Daniel 1:3-5

"Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility, young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and the literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the kings table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that, they were to enter the kings service"

The New International Version is a good translation, but a few points will give us a better approaching:

1) The "court officials" in Babylon were often eunuchs. In the interlinear Bibles it is possible to find that rendering.

2) "He was to teach them..." is a way to translate, but the original Hebrew is better translated, "...qualified to serve in the king's palace AND TO BE TAUGHT in the language and the literature of the Babylonians". It was a prerequisite.  The official language in Babylon at that time was Aramaic, since the Assyrians ruled on Mesopotamia (726-625 BC), but for many centuries had Akkadian been official (since Sargon of Akkad times, 2334 BC). Both Akkadian and Aramaic are Semitic languages, as well as Hebrew, but Aramaic used the Hebrew alphabet (that is really originally the "Aramaic" alphabet, because Arameans existed long before Abraham) and Akkadian used the cuneiform scripture system of the Sumerians (the first known civilization in Mesopotamia)

3) The "training" in Babylonian languages and culture was a kind of "three years preparatory school" in order to serve in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.

4) "Without any physical defect" is the adequate rendering of Hebrew "meum", but the word has also a moral implication (literally should we read "without flaw"), meaning that they should be right, just fellows.

Let's go back to the question of the beginning (about what is my purpose or meaning in this world). In these verses we can see a kind of purpose: some captives from Judah (Israelites = "sons of Israel" in the original, carried captive together with Jehoiakim) should be trained to serve the king. It was a common practice in the societies of the Antiquity, were slavery was practically universal, to take slaves from the nations that they defeated in war. Daniel and his friends shouldn't wonder about their purpose, because, as slaves, theirs "purpose" was determined by the Babylonian king.

But about us, who has established a purpose FOR US in this earth?

GOD, is the teaching of the Scriptures. The human beings should populate and administer the earth (see Genesis 1:28 and 2:15). They should also recognize and adore God their Creator (Psalms 148) because He is worthy.

But... is there some "school" to fill this purpose of ours, here on earth? Are there some requisites that we should fill to be worthy of going to that "school"? Who's gonna teach us? In which language? With which scriptures?

Some people - like me - of more rebellious nature, should add another questions, like: why - why on earth, or why... words we don't write or say but we have in our hearts - should I care about certain "God's purpose for mi life", having enough with those of mine own?

If you have wondered - like I did, or in your own terms; we are unique and different from each other - about some of these questions, let me introduce to you the One who answered to me and took away my doubts, anxieties, fears, suspicions, everything that make us wander in this life without finding our purpose: the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel according to John, chapter eight, we can read one of the most beautiful stories of the Bible, especially of those that lead us to the knowledge of God's heart. There was a woman there that was caught in the act of adultery, and they took her to the Lord Jesus Christ to ask Him what to do with her. They wanted to make him fall with this question, because for Him was so discreditable to say, "punish her" or "pardon her". The adulterers should be punished by the Law of Moses, so to forgive her should put Him in the place of a "transgressor of the law" - and a very doubtful moral and spiritual teacher. And Jesus preached mostly of the Father's love and mercy, so to punish her was against the very heart of His words (it would make him similar to the "Scribes ans Pharisees"). But the Lord answered, "the one among you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her".

Hallelujah!, says my heart. What an answer!

When He answered them, they walked away, because they understood in their vengeful hearts that the punishment they were asking for the "sinner" should be adequate for them as well, because we have all sinned and we have all committed transgressions, according to the Law of God. If we read a little more, the issue is treated a bit forward. The Lord say to them that "freedom" is found in taking His words and apply them in their lives, because His words are "the truth" (John 8:31-32). They became very indignant, because they thought that, being "sons of Abraham" they were already "free": they had God's law, they where heirs of all the promises of God for the Hebrew people... But the Lord taught them a spiritual law that - even when we can read about it in "the law" - they ignored: the one who sins is a slave of sin (John 8:34) and can hardly be called "free". He introduced Himself to them as the only Deliverer (John 8:36).

Only the person who has realized that "sin" means "slavery" - in his own flesh - can understand the need of a Deliverer to be free. I have an only son, who was raised without me since he was three years old, because his mother and I divorced. Believe me, I was deeply in love when I married her, and my intention was to fulfill my promises of been together "till death do us part". But, as I've testified before, I didn't know what "sin" is and what "salvation" is. My noble purposes confronted the naked truth, that I was a SINNER, and that there is a DEVIL whose task - among many others - is the separation of married couples. Mi "great" love became colder and colder, so much that I encountered myself in adultery, against the same person to whom I had sworn to be faithful "till death do us part". Some time later we divorced.

I don't know the sin or sins that are acting upon your life, to make you hostile to God. I can only tell you about mine, and about how the Lord set me free from them. About this, I can testify to everyone who "has an ear to hear what the Spirit says to the churches"  (maybe all of us "have ears to hear" but not everyone "hears").

If you can identify yourself as a "sinner" like I did, and if you want to reconcile yourself with God, let me tell you: He has a plan for the "slaves of sin" that's very superior that Nebuchadnezzar's plan with his Hebrew slaves. The king should train some young men - already "prepared", since he was asking for very special people - to serve in his palace, but God wants to "train" us to live with Him and to be with Him in the eternity, been delivered from eternal condemnation in hell and finding God's purpose for us in this world, that purpose which He create us for. Observe that "salvation" is for many people something abstract that we will know in the "life after this" or "the beyond", but it is real here and now, and its blessings are real for us in our "earthly" life. The king of Babylon ordered one of his officials to train his slaves in the scriptures of the Babylonians, but the King of heaven sent His Holy Spirit to train his sons in the Word of God. When Nebuchadnezzar's slaves would end their training, they should be in the king's presence and serve in his palace. But there's a big difference about us: we can stand before our King and serve him without some "preparatory school", from the very day we receive Him as Lord and Savior and the very day we become saved. Salvation is not for the ones who have graduated from "God's school"; it is for the ones who come through the door. God doesn't consider us to be "saints" and "worthy to be before Him" after three years; he makes us worthy in the very moment that we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. Nebuchadnezzar was looking for righteousness of life (in the NT he would seek  αγαθωσυνη, "agatosúne", the Greek word for "goodness"). He was looking for knowledge also (γνωσις, "gnósis") and wisdom (σοφια, "sofía"); God assumes that we don't have it - since we are sinners - but He gives us His Holy Spirit to insert those gifts in our lives, in a supernatural way. Nebuchadnezzar was looking for some very special young men who should serve him; God is looking for sinners, spiritual "sick" (please read Luke 5:31-32).

If you want lo leave the "sinner" condition and get to the "son of God" condition, there's only one thing you need to do: pray to God that He forgive your sins, receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and follow Him. God has given us extraordinary promises, of a supernatural order, to secure our salvation: "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). He says also, "...to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). Maybe it sounds strange for you, that a short and apparently simple prayer can transform a sinner in a son of God, but  "...with God, all things are possible" (Mt 19:26). I tried this once for more that twenty years ago, and believe me, He has never failed to me until now - and I firmly believe He will not.

May the Lord bless you. In the love of Christ, your brother Israel Leonard.

PS. Jesus comes soon!

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