Most of us are familiar with the process for getting into college or applying for a job.
Our family has been through the college process over and over again the last few years. We’ve spent many hours filling in application forms and writing essays.
It’s hard work presenting yourself well so you get chosen by the colleges you want to attend, or for the job you want.
Then there is the waiting period. Eventually, the replies come in and you discover, hopefully, you had been selected from a whole sea of other applicants.
You are chosen as being the best and the most suitable for that particular college or company. Even in a gap year—you are selected as most suitable for the program.
Perhaps you have just graduated from college. Maybe you have entered your first job. Thousands of students graduate from college each year. Hundreds send in applications for one job, but you have been selected as fitting for the position.
Yet, how often do you really, and I mean really, take the opportunity to see the selection process as a God thing? Particularly, if the placement is not ideal, or what you want.
When I started looking at Daniel’s story, I discovered selection into even the very worst situation is determined by God.
At the time Daniel was a boy, Nebuchadnezzar ruled the Babylonian Empire. The Empire stretched from the Mediterranean to present day Iraq. It surrounded Judah, where Daniel lived. Nebuchadnezzar decided this tiny country should be included in his kingdom.
With his army, Nebuchadnezzar invaded and captured Jerusalem and its people.
On this particular occasion, Nebuchadnezzar gave his top court official specific instructions. Ashpenaz was to look for 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.
Nebuchadnezzar wanted young men at the peak of their physical fitness, healthy, well educated, and showing intelligence.
Daniel fitted these requirements, along with three of his friends. Ashpenaz hand-picked these young men to be taken to Babylon. Daniel didn’t put himself forward to be chosen, but nevertheless he was.
In Babylon, Daniel was to receive three years of training and then go into the king’s service. It sounds very much like going to college and then into employment.
Daniel’s choosing sounds grand, but he, along with the people of Judah, lost his independence and the way of life as he knew it. Perhaps they even wondered if God had neglected them in letting this evil happen to them.
Yet, when we look at the story of Daniel we see God chose Daniel for this role. It was not just Nebuchadnezzar making the appointment. God was in full control of events.
Right at the beginning of the book of Daniel, just a few words tell us God was in charge of what was happening. It says:
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. (Daniel 1:1-2 NIV Emphasis mine.)
The Hebrew word for Lord here is not the usual YAHWEH. Instead, Lord is the word ădōnay. ădōnay means “owner, ruler, or sovereign.” And so it reads: And the Sovereign Lord—the one ultimately in charge, the big boss if you like, delivered his own king over to the Babylonians, along with items from the temple.
It might have looked like Nebuchadnezzar was commander in chief, but we are told it was God.
If God presided over the Babylonian invasion, God also supervised Daniel’s election. God singled out Daniel for the job.
Perhaps you are worried or intimidated by where you have ended up. It might not be what you expect. Maybe you got into the college of your choice; perhaps you didn’t. Maybe it is the best placement ever; perhaps it’s not. Maybe you feel your work place is right for you; perhaps you are in doubt. Be assured God is in control of your world just like he was in control of Daniel’s circumstances.
Dear ădōnay, Help me to see you are in control of whoever selects me. Help me to realize you are sovereign and in charge of my circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.