Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Joy from Light Bulb Moments and a Lesson from Daniel

Ah-ha moments. I love them. How about you? Those moments when the light bulb clicks on over your head. We’re unpacking Psalm 19 the next few weeks. Let’s look at verse 8 today.

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;” NKJV

Here it is in the Message:

“The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.”

KEY WORDS Today: Statutes/life-maps/pure/eyes (always pull a few key words from scripture to help you understand the meaning better)

Statutes or life-maps are also translated as precepts.

Statutes in Hebrew is, “piqquwd” and it means “precepts.”

Precept according to the online dictionary means:
1. A rule or principle prescribing a particular course of action or conduct.
2. Law An authorized direction or order; a writ.

So, we could say, God's authorized directions that come from His written Word make the heart glad and bring joy.

The order, commandment, of God is pure. “Pure” in the Hebrew is "bar" and it means sincere, or clear. It enlightens, or brings light to the eyes. Eyes in Hebrew is “ayin” and it means, “eye” “of mental or spiritual faculties/qualities.”

So we could say, God's Word is sincere and clear and it gives us spiritual and mental ah-ha light bulb moments about our life and the direction we need to take.

Let's look at someone from the Bible who had an ah-ha moment. We'll look at what it led him to clearly do and the result that came from his obedience.

Let's look at Daniel. Chapter 9 starting in verse 1.

"It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians. During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years." 

From reading scripture (scrolls and Jeremiah's word more specifically), Daniel had a light bulb moment. Here's what God told Jeremiah:

"This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah. “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways."  Jeremiah 26:1-3

God's people were turning from Him. He'd warned them early on that if they stopped serving Him, He would do whatever was necessary to draw them back. Jeremiah has come to warn them and bring judgment--which is fair.

Here's what God instructed Jeremiah to say, and this is what Daniel read years later.

 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you will not listen to me and obey my word I have given you, and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets—for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them—--then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located. And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth.’"The priests, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s Temple.  But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him. “Kill him!” they shouted. Jeremiah 26:4-7

Not exactly welcoming to God's words, huh? So…

"Then Jeremiah spoke to the officials and the people in his own defense. “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this Temple and this city,” he said. “The Lord gave me every word that I have spoken.  But if you stop your sinning and begin to obey the Lord your God, he will change his mind about this disaster that he has announced against you." Jeremiah 26:12-13

However they did not. And…

"‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose.  Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.  All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon.  So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the Lord. I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it." Jeremiah 27:5-8

Seems harsh? Nah, not really and besides…

"‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”"Jeremiah 27:22

When?

"This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years." Jeremiah 25:11

And what will happen then you ask?

"This is what the LORD says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again." Jeremiah 29:10

And what famous verse comes after?

 "I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future." Jeremiah 29:11

And we know in Daniel Chapter one, it begins. Nebuchadnezzar comes in and takes them captive, a young Daniel is swept up among them.

At this point in Chapter 9, Daniel is an old man, still serving the Lord, still reading scripture. He’s been in captivity about 67 years. And he discovers that the 70 years is almost up. The same words we take comfort in today, Jeremiah 29:11, he took comfort in on that day.

God was about to do something awesome! Daniel had trusted God on many occasions. When he refused to eat idol-sacrificed food at the king's table, when he interpreted dreams for the Neb and then later his great-grandson, and of course when he was thrown into the lion's den for not compromising his faith.

Daniel knew when God spoke a word, He was good for it. Do you know that? Do you believe it?

As a result of reading this, of having his eyes enlightened—he knew good things were coming. Freedom could be tasted! What did Daniel do?

 "I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting." Daniel 9:3

Turned; prayer; fasted

Daniel's prayer is amazing and it's recorded in verses 4-19. But I want to pull out these verses:

"But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. We have not obeyed the Lord our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has disobeyed your instruction and turned away, refusing to listen to your voice." Daniel 9:9-11

God wasn't being harsh, He was being fair. They rebelled. They had not followed the instructions.

What does Psalm 19 say? The instruction of the Lord (His precepts) rejoice the heart. When we do not follow them, when we rebel, we go into captivity. Maybe not like the Israelites…but I assure you, you'll find yourself in bondage. Enslaved.

And miserable.

Like Daniel, we pray. And God, Who is faithful to forgive us our sins when we confess them, acts. On our behalf. With mercy. And grace.

 “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.” Daniel 9:18-19

Daniel's faith and faithfulness to God opened up a special blessing. God gives Daniel some amazing visions, and he gets to see Christ in all His glory in a few of them! What could bring more joy?

All because he loved the Word of God.

Practical application: Spend time in God’s Word. When we spend time with God in His Word, it will always keep us pointed on Jesus Christ.

When was the last time you had a light bulb moment from scripture? If it’s been awhile, why do you think that is? And care to share that amazing moment in the comments? 

I'm hosting at LBG today!
Come by and share your
favorite verse about light!


**Photocredit: lightbulb tree: freedigitalphotos/zirconicusso
**Photo credit: bulb with a book: freedigitalphotos/digitalart
**Photo credit: clear glass of water: freedigitalphotos/by gt_pann 
**Photo credit: rubble: freedigitalphotos/cbenjasuwan 
**Photo credit: infant hand: freedigitalphotosNutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot
**Photo credit: faith and believe: freedigitalphotos/thepathtraveler
/**Photo credit: steel cage: freedigitalphotos/bejim

11 comments:

  1. I'll be honest...I haven't had too many, because I haven't been in the word like I should. But the biggest lightbulb moment for me came at ACFW, when I was so worried about whether I'd mess up my pitch sessions. God gave me Phil. 1:6 (in The Message): "There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears."

    That means that I can't mess up God's plans for me. He will finish what He's started. If I look back on all He's done so far in my writing career, the "biggest" things were things I didn't go looking for. He's taking care of it...and I have to let him. Me worrying does absolutely NOTHING...just wastes time.

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  2. This was so neat, Jessica. I especially loved this line from Daniel's prayer: "We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy." I've had many light-bulb moments in scripture, but the most recent was after Christmas, when I watched family squabbles blow us, hurt feelings abound and negative words wound (it wasn't concerning me, but it was extended family troubles), I went to the word and read this: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22. I realized that these people (who are Christians) would actually DO what the word commanded, they would not be having such petty arguments. They would be loving and kind and forgiving. The same goes for me. I deceive myself into believing God will protect me, bless me and prosper me when I'm not living according to his Word. I need to do it.

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  3. I love light-bulb moments, they remind me that God is right there, speaking to me. That's what I had with my 2 Corinthians 9:6 verse for abundantly. And it was a light-bulb, a-ha, here's what you need to be working on moment:)(you know, nipping that little seed of selfishness that had started to spring up, and reminding me to give of myself). And once that light was on, I couldn't very well pretend to not see it, but God's been so good meeting me in His Word and strengthening me in making some changes. He sure does love us:)
    Loving your Wednesdays!

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  4. Yeah, I had a big moment about 5 years back - just Him and me. I was in Colorado and hiking alone. I came home on that plane understanding that I was to change what I was writing, and that I was to write for Him, not me.

    Great post, Jess. Love your lessons!

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  5. And once again, friend, I want you to write a Bible study because you just overflowing with insight!!

    A recent light bulb moment for me--we've had a situation in my day job that I've just struggled with so much and I keep wanting another person to change. "If he'd just change, it'd be so much easier!!" has been my constant whine. But a couple weeks ago, in the midst of writing an email to this person, I honestly felt like God told me, "Melissa, it's not about whether he changes...it's about whether you do." Stubborn old me wasn't all that keen on the idea, but I did start praying that He'd soften my heart and bump up my respect...and I've REALLY been noticing the change. I love that God gets through to us even when we stubbornly don't always want him to!

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  6. Great insights, Jess! What jumped out at me from Psalm 19 above was, "when we rebel, we go into captivity." It's the choice/consequences path. We choose to go outside God's umbrella of protection and get hit by a bus. God never puts us in captivity. It's the actions we choose to take that put us there with rebellion as our cell mate. Love this today!

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  7. Hello! I just popped in to visit and have been so blessed by this post. Thank you.
    I'm doing a 'soul detox' reading plan at the moment.. and when I thought my thoughts and words weren't toxic...I'm seeing how they at times have been... light bulb moment. xx

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  8. Beautiful thoughts here today, Jessica. Sometimes I think we see the Bible through our culture filter. Sometimes we can be a bit egocentric in our world view. So we expect all good to come to us immediately, but sometimes God works our collective good over time. It isn't a presto chango, but working out for the good of the Kingdom. Loved the depth of this post!

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  9. I love those lightbulb moments. It seems the more time I spend in the word, the more often I have them (duh!)

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