31 for 41: The Book and Belteshazzar

Dear Donovan,

I know I am not supposed to worry, but I do.  When I think of what the future may be for our country, I worry about my three sons possibly having to live without the same freedoms we enjoy now.  If I dwell on that possibility, it is hard to hold back tears.

When this type of despair rises within me, I try to remember the prescription for worry.  With thanksgiving, I am to give my requests to God.  On the particular issue of worrying about my sons’ future, I find comfort in asking God to keep my boys in His care like He did for Belteshazzar.

Let me tell you about Belteshazzar.  When he was a teenager, his home was overtaken and its government overthrown.  He was taken captive and brought into a land with a very wicked government and society.  Belteshazzar was strong, athletic, intelligent, and good-looking.  That made him a prime candidate for the king’s program of re-education and power consolidation.

Belteshazzar refused to be corrupted.  He kept his faith in God, even though bad things had happened and his own home lay in ruins.  He rejected the gluttony and idolatry of the day, and God made him notably healthier and wiser for it.  Over the course of his lifetime, he demonstrated a quiet discipline and a faithful prayer life.  He kept his integrity, even when others were jealous of him and plotted against him.  Belteshazzar refused to conform to societal norms that violated his faith, even when there was government enforcement behind those norms.  He chose to obey God rather than men.

Now, as you can imagine, being such an oddball meant that things were not always easy for Belteshazzar.  There is a price for purity.  What is so comforting to me about his story, however, is that Belteshazzar’s life was always protected.  In a sense, he was untouchable.  That is what God can do for His child.

Not only that, God so worked in the details of Belteshazzar’s life that he was promoted to the highest government position in the land, second only to the king himself.  A wicked king gave his most trusted and powerful position to a man who refused to accept the king’s religion and social program.  That is what God can do for his child.

Belteshazzar was a writer.  He obeyed God by writing down things that made no sense at the time.  He was probably mocked by the people of his day for his predictions, but we now know that some of the events he predicted have already been fulfilled with incredible accuracy.  In fact, the preciseness of Belteshazzar’s predictions, including a prophecy of the coming Messiah, prove that he was a true follower of God.  The book that Belteshazzar wrote has been used in the lives of so many people to help them trust the validity of an even greater collection of books, the Bible.

From the time that Belteshazzar lived, even until now as I write to you about him, he is collecting eternal rewards for being obedient to God when nothing in the world made sense.  He could have doubted God’s care for Him, or even God’s dominion over the affairs of men, given the outward circumstances.  Instead, Belteshazzar chose prayer and purity, and found God’s presence and protection to be all-sufficient.

As you seek to be a good man, is Belteshazzar a good one to emulate?  How about this for an endorsement: Belteshazzar was once visited by the angel Gabriel, who tasked him to deliver a message from God.  Gabriel, a being who attended the very throne of Almighty God, reassured Belteshazzar, “Thou are greatly beloved.”  Be a man who seeks to be beloved of God, regardless of the price on Earth.

Jesus spoke of Belteshazzar, validating both the man and the prophecies he was instructed to write (Matthew 24:15).  Jesus called him by his Hebrew name, though… Daniel.  The meaning of this Hebrew name is “God is my Judge.”  I love that!  It reminds me that regardless of the political and social circumstances around us, my sons need not fear the personal judgment of humans nor the legal judgment of governments.  Since God is the True Judge, you are safe as long as you stay close to Him.  He sees all, and He will make all things right.

Daniel was given a new name when he reached the land of his captors, a name meant to honor a false god of that land.  His captors wanted to erase his God and make him forget the faith of his family.  Daniel refused to let that happen.  He was greatly blessed and divinely protected, even from the lions, because of his faithfulness to God.  Be a Daniel.  Be faithful to God and to His Book, and the True Judge will keep you in His loving care, come what may.

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me. Daniel 6:22a

I love your forever,

Your mama

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