Written by Katelyn Foster
I remember a conversation with my son about trees and the importance of roots. “When storms come, the trees with deep roots won’t be easily knocked over or broken.”
His face lit up and he responded, “Because that’s what the branches do!” I smiled. He was right. The branches are an extension of the tree, but they are easily disrupted by even the slightest breeze. Attached to the tree, but without the strength of the roots.
In Daniel 1, we are introduced to 4 young men who had been brutally removed from their homes and traditions, and placed among the enemy. When asked to adapt to the habits of this pagan land, Daniel requested that he and his friends be allowed to follow the traditions of their heritage. Daniel took a step of faith, and his 3 friends followed.
When God prospered Daniel’s way, He also prospered theirs. God gifted all 4 of them with exceptional “knowledge and skill in all learning”, but to Daniel, an extra portion of discernment with ”visions and dreams”. (Dan. 1:17)
After Daniel interpreted the King’s dream in chapter 2, he was given a permanent address in the palace and his 3 friends transitioned into new assignments. When Nebuchadnezzar built a golden statue for the purpose of national worship, these 3 men had to make a decision apart from Daniel’s strength of character. Would they choose the God they had seen evidenced in Daniel’s steps of faith?
In the face of the furnace, they did. Enraged, the king turned up the heat and asked them a pointed question, “Who is this God who will deliver you out of my hands?”
And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said, “…Our God who we serve is ABLE to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace…” Daniel 3:18 [emphasis added]
“Our God.” These 3 men stepped out of the shadows of their upbringing, out from behind the faith of Daniel, and chose to not only be attached to the things of God, but also chose the reality of God for themselves.
Christian, are we surviving off of the spiritual strength of another? It’s easy to do. It’s more convenient to listen to pastors preach than spend time seeking the Lord personally. It’s less time-consuming to ask for prayer instead of entering the closet myself.
But God calls us to something deeper. He desires so much more than second-hand faith. Maybe today we can read a little more or pray a little longer!
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper…” Psalm 1
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