Reflections: November 20, 2020
Friday of the Second-Last Week
By Aaron Fenker
Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus. (Daniel 1:21)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Daniel found himself in Babylon. He was taken away from Israel, by force. You see, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II conquered Judah, and started deporting people from Canaan (modern day Israel) into Babylon (modern day Iraq). Nebuchadnezzar started with the best and the brightest and forced them to live a long way from home, in his service. That's Daniel.
What does Daniel do? He recognizes Israel's sin in their current situation (Daniel 9). He remains faithful to Yahweh and cherishes His mercy along with His Word in a foreign land. But Daniel also loved his neighbor, even his Babylonian neighbor, King Nebuchadnezzar! Daniel faithfully served the Babylonians and the Persians after them for about 50 years.
God put you where you are. He put the people in your life exactly where they are just so they'd be in your life, just like God did with Daniel. Daniel believed that what his enemies meant for evil, God meant for good. So also you. You were "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you would walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). That "created in Christ Jesus" happened in Holy Baptism. God planned your good works for you. Now you'll use your Baptism, God's working through you, so that you would be a gift for the people He's gifted to you.
How long will you do it? Who knows? God does. Daniel served for some 50 years under at least four kings and two empires, after being taken away by force from his homeland. So the Lord will use you for however long He gives you. It's all gift.
He's saved you. He's died and risen for you. He's given you new life in Baptism, a new life of being a living sacrifice for others. He forgives you when you mess it up or complain about it. He'll carry you through. And no matter how long you live or where you live, Jesus' baptismal promise is the same: "I am with you always even till the end of the age." Through thick and thin, He's yours and you are His, and He will bring you to Himself in His eternal kingdom which has no end. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to cherish everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18–20)
-Rev. Aaron T. Fenker is the pastor of Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Bremen, KS.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
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