Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Three Time Charlie"

Sometimes, as a parent, I find myself trying so hard to get my child’s attention.  I may call him over and over again before he finally gives me the acknowledgment I am seeking.  I wonder if God feels the same way I do.

Ever heard of the term, “three time Charlie?”  My parents used it when referring to children who would not respond until the third time called.  (I won’t expose the guilty party.)  Anyway, surprisingly, I found a “three time Charlie” in my Bible reading this morning.  His name was King Nebuchadnezzar.  Three times God tried to get this king’s attention.  Three times Nebuchadnezzar was given a chance to worship the one true God.  The first time, recorded in Daniel chapter 2, God gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream.  This dream disturbed the king so much that he threatened to kill all of his advisors if not one of them could reveal the dream to him and interpret it.  Daniel, empowered by God, answered the king’s demand.  Nebuchadnezzar then recognized the power of Daniel’s God, but didn’t seem to realize that God was trying to teach him something.  What Scripture tells us is that Nebuchadnezzar worshiped many gods (Daniel 3:12).  But Yahweh would not settle with being one of the many.  In the next chapter we read that Nebuchadnezzar created a huge statue and commanded that all of his subjects worship it.  God’s call to him this time came through the testimony of three faithful followers who refused to bow, yet were miraculously rescued from a fiery furnace.   You’d think this was enough, but no.  Another dream came to Nebuchadnezzar which, when interpreted,  told that he will become like an animal and live that way for seven “spans of time,” and the dream came true.   That king finally got the message, the hard way!  (The end of Chapter 4 records his repentant response.)

Have you ever felt that God was trying to get your attention?  I know I have.  To how many ways does He have to resort before you acknowledge Him and pay attention?

Sometimes God just wants to humble us, like in Nebuchadnezzar’s case, and get us to “look up.”  I’ve been so busy about my own little life at times that I have neglected Him or not given Him the praise He deserves for the things He has done.  Then God gently reminded me or called out to me from His Word.  But He’s not always been quite so gentle. 

Sometimes God wants to tell us we are on the wrong path -maybe dating the wrong person, trying for the wrong job, obsessing about having a child, or worse.  I regret that I once lost a job because I wouldn’t listen to God about a particular sin I was repeatedly committing.  He certainly got my attention that day!

My hope and prayer for today is that I will listen to God the first time He calls and not wait to learn the hard way.  No more of this “three time Charlie” business!

Psalm 81:13  "Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would
                           walk in My ways!" (NKJV)

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