The meaning of the Hebrew names for these four men all affirmed God’s sovereignty, mercy, and grace for His people. But the new names they were given by the Babylonian chief official sought to undermine and degrade this. For their new names were deliberately drawn from the Babylonian false religions, gods and idols, and erased any trace of God from them. Even today we have the challenge of believing what God calls us vs what the world calls us. The world will call us fat, dumb, ugly, stupid and old….while the Lord will call us loved, free, healed, whole, and His. The world is all about demeaning and humiliating…while God is all about lifting us up. So just remember this…no matter what the world calls you…the Lord named you first, and that name is all that matters.
Within this verse is a perfectly simple but totally effective description of the Trinity. The Trinity being three persons in one Godhead… Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. First, we are called or summoned to salvation through the the Gospel Message by the Holy Spirit as we are wooed or drawn in. For the Holy Spirit shows us very plainly our shortcomings and convicts us… so that we may be saved. Next, we need to grasp just how greatly valued, esteemed, and loved we are by God the Father. For who else would give His only Son to die on a cross for all that we might have eternal life? (John 3:16) Finally, know you belong to Jesus who watches over you to keep you safe. (John 17:12) So just think of it…we are His and He is ours, and no one can ever snatch us out of His hand. (John 10:28)
In the wake of this pandemic of the COVID 19 Virus, the idea of these verses take on heightened meaning for us today. This concept of the resurrected Jesus having supreme rule over everything was voiced by Him in Matthew 28:18, when He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” That means it’s a done deal…everything, (which includes the Corona Virus), is under Jesus’ power and authority. So just as He is the head of the Body of Christ – the Church- Jesus is the head…the Supreme Ruler over COVID 19, and these verses go on to tell us that God placed it under His feet…a place of utter submission and surrender.
The Corona virus has us all weary with battle fatigue and frightened at this invisible enemy that has invaded our land. So today I would encourage you to take a step back, turn off the continuous loop of news shows, and as this verse exhorts, “consider what great things He has done for you.” Reflect on God’s mercy and providence if all your family and friends are healthy and safe. Contemplate His goodness if you have plenty of food in the house and are not in need. Meditate on His hand of protection that is keeping the vast majority of people safe in our Nation. Finally, ponder all the simple things God has done for you personally this week just to say, “I’m with you and I love you.”
Even at a young age, David knew where his true strength came from. For when he confronted Goliath on the battle field he proclaimed to him, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.” (I Samuel 17:45) David knew that in his own strength he was no match to the giant in front of him…but with God’s power, nothing was impossible. Many other great and mighty men in the Bible echoed this declaration in the face of their “giants”… that the Lord was the source of their strength…and we should also.
Great and mighty is Your name, O Lord, for Your magnificent glory is on display for all to see. We thank you today for Your love and mercy…and praise You for all You’ve done for us. We lift Your name on high, for only You rule and reign over heaven and earth. Amen.
When Jesus shouted into that grave, He was taking divine authority over death. And this wasn’t the only time He did this. In Luke 7:14 He raised back to life the only son of a widow when He touched the coffin and said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” And when He ordered the dead daughter of Jairus to, “Get up!”… she did. (Luke 8:54) But His disciples were also witnesses to these miracles…and their faith grew with each one. For we find in Acts 9:40, Peter was called to pray for a lovely old woman by the name of Dorcas, a devote Follower, who had died. Under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit within, Peter repeated the same words of Jesus, “Get up!”…and Dorcas came back to life.
The Greek word here for “hate” doesn’t mean we must despise our family in order to follow Jesus. What it just means is that we love them less than we love God. It’s called being set apart. So to this, we are to separate ourselves “morally” from the world view and others that don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. In Isaiah 52:11, God tells us to, “Come out from them (the world) and be separate.” To be set apart for Christ means that we have our priorities correct…God is first, our family is second, the world is third. For when you make God the most significant person in you life, you are less likely to allow compromise to creep in. And when God is your everything, you are much better equipped to love those around you more effectively.
This verse is repeated several times in Judges…the Jews had no ruler, instead everyone did what they thought was right, just, and pleasing to them. But we know the definition of “doing as one sees fit” can mean a hundred things to a hundred people. So what we see here was a form of anarchy…a absence of governmental rule and authority in the country. And what we also see was growing confusion and disorder among God’s people.
Our battle isn’t against this carnal world, so our weapon of choice shouldn’t be of this world. No, for spiritual warfare we need a unique and powerful weapon…a weapon straight from the most powerful source – God. Jeremiah 23:29 states, “Is not My Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” God’s Word…His truth, is capable of destroying any stronghold that Satan has over a person’s life. So when you don’t know what to pray…pray God’s Word, the Scriptures, into the situation. By declaring His Word…all the power of heaven and earth is brought to bear by His authority.