Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “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.”
Relate: I was taught a version of it in grade school. A man named Newton was sitting under an apple tree when, conk, one of those juicy red things hit him on the head. Isaac starts thinking about it, “Why did this apple fall on my head?” The thought leads to others, “Why does anything fall?” He thinks and thinks and thinks some more. He thinks so hard that his noggin gets sore. Then he writes out his thoughts and gravity is born. Er… something like that.
It was in 1687 that Newton wrote his work, Principia Mathematica, that made his “discovery” of gravity famous. But it didn’t just happen overnight. He started tinkering with telescopes a good twenty years earlier. He spent a good decade discussing and writing and debating various scientific issues. Then in ’78 he withdrew from public life to focus on his studies. He removed the distractions from his life. Six years later he had a discussion with Edmund Halley (of whom the comet is named) and Principia Mathematica was a result of that discussion. It was more than just an apple that caused an insight.
React: Daniel’s life did not begin when he was chosen for the king’s court. His friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (or Myshack, Yourshack, and Abungalo… or shake the bed, make the bed, and on the bed we go) weren’t just chosen because they knew Daniel. These men were “well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace”. They were wise, intelligent, and courtly. Years of study and preparation went into making them the type of men who God could use to influence the most powerful king in the world of that time.
In the same way, Moses spent 40 years in the court and 40 more in the desert before he was ready for God to say, “Go tell Pharaoh, let my people go.” David spent about 25 years after being anointed king before he was crowned king. Newton was more than 2 decades studying light, physics, the night sky, and God’s Word before he “suddenly” discovered the principles of gravity. Jesus was the son of a carpenter for thirty years before beginning his traveling ministry. Paul studied under Gamaliel before God knocked him off his… donkey.
Do I feel like the world is passing me by while I am stuck in the waiting room? Do you feel like everyone else is getting the opportunities of a lifetime while you are stuck in the daily grind going nowhere? What am I doing with my now? Am I preparing for the moment that door opens? How are you working that grind? Are you using it for the training room for greatness? There are all kinds of “suddenly” moments both in scripture and in history. What we don’t realize is that those “suddenly” moments only happen to the people who are prepared and ready for them. They sweat hard and studied long… long before they were famous. What about us?
Give me the passion and the faithfulness to work hard and diligently even in the desert times of life. Don’t let me just sit back watching TV as life passes me by. Give me big dreams, then give me the wisdom to prepare for those dreams. Help me to position myself spiritually, and emotionally, and physically for that suddenly moment.
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