Monday: 25th November, 2019
Reference text: Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20
Daniel 1:4 Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.”
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in today’s text is on a mission to choose servants for the royal palace. Even though he had conquered Judah and every person in it had become his prized assets after war, he wasn’t going to admit just anybody into his Palace. Therefore before any individual could even be considered on the basis of the criteria presented in the verse above, they had to be from the Royal household or be of noble birth; a very strict qualification standard then.
When we juxtapose this selection process to the selection of the twelve Apostles of Jesus, we see a rather contrasting alternative.Those Apostles had no links to royalty or high social standing, most were uneducated and ordinary folk. Clearly, they were not well versed in all branches of learning but that regarding their individual trades like fishing. Strong and healthy, yes, but young, most of them were not.
One could say that the demands of each call to service differed hence, the different requirements. However, the best summary of both accounts is one we have often heard in various forms:
‘man calls the qualified, God calls and qualifies’. For God, he did not need to see what credentials or portfolios are wielded, because He sees far beyond these. He requires availability on the part of the one called and ensures that they have and become all they are called to be.
None of the twelve Apostles would have made it into the palace of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar; yet they walked with and sat in the classroom of Jesus, the King of kings. They were neither royalty nor of noble birth, but Jesus called them friends and dared to entrust them with the great commission – ‘To make disciples of all nations’ – a mission they fulfilled at the cost of their lives.
Beloved, what man expects, and what God does are very different because while man only wants the qualified, God will call and qualify.