My women's ministry group at church is studying Daniel by Beth Moore. Once again, Beth puts together an amazing study. Believing God has always been my favorite of her studies, but Daniel may usurp its place.
Doing this study is making me so aware of how much our culture reflects that Babylonian mentality. And never has it been more evident with what's going on with the Republican Party. Foley just makes my skin crawl. And those who placed his political value over the welfare of these pages are just as guilty.
I read an article today about China drafting a law to empower unions and end labor abuse. Seems like it would be such a good thing for its people. The abuse there is unbelievable. Yet "American and foreign corporations have lobbied against it by hinting that they may build fewer factories" (New York Times/Oct.12). Again the bottom line is placed above human welfare. And my dad wonders why I don't like to watch the news.
Isaiah 47 is about the fall of Babylon. Verses eight and ten describe this mentality: "I am and there is none besides me." They reached the point of no return when Belshazzer defiled the temple goblets by using them to worship their own gods. Talk about a smack in God's face. No wonder He sent a message. The writing was truly on the wall (Daniel 5). God had had enough, and Belshazzer and the Babylonian Empire fell that very night.
I'm amazed at how symbolic the book of Daniel is, about keeping the holy undefiled. Even Daniel understood this when he refused to eat the royal wine and food. But it's just food, right? No, it represented the indulgance of a culture devoted to worshiping themselves. Daniel wanted no part of it. He recognized that eating that food would begin his absorbtion into a self-worshiping culture. He resisted and God honored him for it. Daniel took what the Babylonians considered to be "less" and wound up healthier. He kept himself holy.
This weeks lesson pulls this all together and points to ourselves as God's holy vessels. We are the vessels containing His Holy Spirit, and the enemy works very hard to defile these vessels—us.
And we let him.
We allow our bodies to be used to worship so many false gods—money, sex, youth. I had to really sit and think about this, apply it to myself. Because I know I am NOT innocent. God is showing me where I have used His Holy Vessel improperly, where the enemy has defiled me, how I've allowed myself to be taken into bondage. Yet in all this his mercy is so great. His only desire is to see his holy vessel washed clean and made holy again.
Those who love him are his holy vessels, no matter how unholy we might become. There is always a way back. The enemy only has as much power as we give him, because He who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world.
I'm ready for holiness again. How about you?