How do we know that our ways are not God’s ways? In the scripture we are going to look at below, only suited people would be able to work in the palace. God doesn’t judge people by their outside qualities. He knows our hearts.
“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.” Daniel 1:4
I’m not sure what percentage of any given population would meet the criteria of what the king was looking for. One thing I am sure of is, it has to be quite low.
I have been in one or two churches made up of people just like the young men described in this verse. One of the churches was in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. At one time, that city was labeled as the brains of the country.
When we ministered at that church, I can tell you, I felt intimidated and out of place. It wasn’t the fault of the church but it was the culture of the city in general.
The World’s Ways Differ from God’s Ways
In the world’s judgments, it is usually partial to the way a person looks or how intelligent a person might be.
Someone good-looking and smart in the eyes of the world can often be looked at more favorably than others.
The most obvious indicator that people are not interested in ugly or homely people is evident in the media. Think about the people who appear in commercials, magazine ads, and other public media.
They are there because what appeals to their subscribers usually only goes skin deep. Many times they value people by looks and not common sense or intelligence.
Beauty and brains are not the criteria that the Lord uses. One verse says, “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.”
God Looks At Our Heart
God looks deeper than the skin and past human wisdom—he judges by what is in the heart. He’s more interested in one’s motive than he is in skin tone or what one thinks they know.
My thoughts go to a request that King David made to the Lord in Psalm 51. He said, Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. He didn’t ask the Lord for good looks or to be intelligent.
His main concern was to be in God’s presence. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
He knew that joy didn’t come from being popular and accepted by the world. It comes from obedience to God.
In the next verse, he said, Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
Our Ways Don’t Often Work Out
Saul, the king before David, was chosen to be king because he was tall and good looking. That choice turned out disastrous.
We, the church, must rise above using the world’s guidelines. When looking for people to serve in ministry, we must seek who the Lord wants.
I don’t think any of us would have approved the fishermen that Jesus chose to be His apostles. But they were His choice.
With that said, answer the call of God, no matter how unqualified you may feel. You ARE capable of serving in the king’s palace and you know who the king is – King Jesus!
Lord, help us to understand that our ways are not your ways and that your thoughts are much higher than ours. Change our hearts and our thinking to be more in line with yours.
A related post called, How To Follow God’s Battle Plan For Your Life also talks about the way God does things.
Check out these other posts from the book of Daniel.
You would enjoy reading the cornerstone post on discipleship called How To Be An Effective Devoted Disciple Of Jesus.
You can read the first chapter of Daniel here.
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