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Daniel Devotional: Taking the shame of a nation and your soul

Read Daniel 1:1-2

For the first time in 15 years, my Alma mater, Army defeated our arch nemesis Navy in football. (We also just went on to win a bowl game.) It’s been a hard 15 years. West Point’s chaplain was praying his guts out on the sideline pleading with the Lord for the losing to stop. I hate losing. I hate being on the losing team. Growing up, I would throw tantrums in a loss. As I got older, I still felt that same sense of loss, I just wasn’t as loud about it. So when I read that God was the key player in a nation’s loss, I’m baffled. It’s like the owner of the team intentionally losing—and there is no first round draft pick. And this isn’t just high school, college, or professional sports, this is real life. Real battle. Real war. Real Death.

The disobedience and idol worship had become so great in the nation of Judah that God brought them to the land of Shinar for 70 years to discipline them. Shinar is a more ancient name for Babylonia. It has always been a place of hostility toward the people of God. And here not only are the people of Judah humiliated as they are sent off to serve foreigners, but God is also humiliated. The vessels that were in the temple of the Lord were taken to the treasury of the god of Shinar. There was a strong link between a god and his nation. If a nation was defeated, it appeared to the world that the God of the winning nation was greater than the God of the losing nation.

God took on the humiliation of a loss for the sake of ultimately restoring the nation. We have all had our parents do that at one point. I remember being in first grade and my dad had bought Cowboys vs. Steeler’s tickets. But I disobeyed and my dad gave the tickets away. Not only did I miss out on the game—so did my dad. That is how it is with our God.

God loves us so much that he died on the cross for our sins. He experienced the pain and shame we deserved. And then he rose from the dead conquering sin. And even beyond our salvation we see God taking on our shame as he never disqualifies us as being his child, even when we receive his discipline—

Especially when we receive his discipline.

Are you experiencing the shame and pain of conforming to culture until you were defeated by it? Are you feeling like God lost and you are suffering the consequence of his defeat? Can you accept his discipline in the moment is to draw you closer to him?

Remember God is always looking out for two things: His Glory and your good.

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