Often when we first come to know Jesus, our hearts are on fire. A colorful way of saying it is a “fire in the bones” or “fire in the belly”. In other words, we experience a change. For others, it is not a fire, but a germinating plant slowing breaking through the shell of the seed, then bursting forth from the ground. There are many ways to describe that change. There are probably as many as there are people. Those new in their relationship with Jesus will often seek more and more of Jesus. They will (like the psalmist) think of God as being more satisfying than rich food. They will think about God while just lying on their bed. In the middle of the night, they will think about God. Keeping that going, however, is always a task. Especially in times of trouble, trial, or just plain confusion.
Daniel’s vision is not that literal, but it does convey truth. A new time of distress and discord will come. New nations will rise. God’s people, though, will still be on God’s heart. God will carry his people. However, even though they are “his” people, there will be a separation. What could be the separating point? Active relationship with God.
As the Letter to Ephesus calls on the Ephesians to return to their “first love”, so, too, are we called. We are called to return to the ways of the psalmist, always thinking about God. Within the letter is yet another reminder that there will be a separation between those who have an active relationship with God, and those who don’t. Just like any relationship, a relationship with God does not just happen. We have to work to maintain it. It’s not that God “walks” away from us, but that we walk away from him.
1) Do you recall your first encounter with Jesus? What was it like?
2) Relationships change, as should ours with God. Our relationship with God should always be deepening. Give yourself a moment to reflect and be honest with yourself. Is your relationship with God deepening? If not, good news! Let’s start now! God is always waiting for you to have a deeper relationship with him. If you have a deepening relationship with God, what will you do to help others deepen their relationship with God?
3) Daniel’s and John’s (Revelation) visions talk about a separation between those who have an active relationship with God, and those who don’t. Does that scare you, or does that motivate you? Why?