And on delivery day, contractions take over and compel the mother to give birth, allowing that beautiful treasure that was hidden within her to come forth and be the blessing and reward that a new baby brings to a family.
I was absolutely captivated today as I read and studied a passage in the book of Daniel, where a very similar thought was expressed. In Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and sought for his advisors to tell him the dream and its interpretation. His magicians and wise men could not do so, asserting that no “man on earth” could do such a thing. They were right about that. Only the living God would be able to meet such a request.
The king was not happy with this answer and began to kill all the wise men in Babylon. After Daniel’s capture from Jerusalem and God’s favor promoting him within the king’s court, this threat applied to Daniel and his three Hebrew friends as well. News reached Daniel about the impending danger to his very life. Daniel made an appeal before the king. He requested a stay for a brief period of time for him to bring the king’s answer. King Nebuchadnezzar complied.
In Daniel chapter 2 verse 17 through 19, we read: “Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (whose names were changed by Nebuchadnezzar to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”
I was struck by a few specific things in this passage. First, when Daniel heard the news and was granted a “stay” on the killing spree, he immediately called a prayer meeting with his three closest friends. This in itself reminds me of Jesus who also called a few prayer meetings at times with his three closest allies, who most often fell asleep instead of praying. But Daniel knew the answer had to come from the living God in heaven, and that their responsibility and great need of the moment was to PRAY.
They did not know the answer. They had no clue about the king’s dream. But one thing they knew: They served a living God who knew all, who saw all, and who heard and answered prayer. Do we also know what Daniel and his three friends knew about the living God we worship and serve? He knows all. He sees all. He hears and answers sincere prayers of His people. He knows all hidden things and reveals secrets in His time.
In verse 18, where the Scriptures say the purpose of their prayer meeting was to “seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret,” the words for “seek mercies” arrested me as I studied into these. This word (“rechem”) means “compassion, the belly or the womb (as cherishing the fetus), or the belly being the seat of compassion.” It connects with the notion of the womb of a woman in pregnancy and the contractions that bring forth the precious, nourished, and fully-developed baby.
I thought about the beautiful concept of a womb nourishing and cherishing a fetus until its proper time of delivery. My mind also considered places in the New Testament where Jesus was “moved with compassion” on several instances. As I dwelt on this idea, I was reminded of how loving, how cherishing, how compassionate our great God is. I thought about how, when we are in a time of serious need for answers, we can follow Daniel’s example in sincerity and simplicity and find the compassion of our Lord.
I have been increasingly concerned about the state of affairs of the world, our nation, and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ today. There are many evils wreaking havoc worldwide and in our own circumstances in different ways. There are diverse voices screaming to be heard – in the political realm, in the spiritual realm, even in the natural or emotional realm of our lives. And I, too, have found myself unsure about what directions to take and how to know what voice to heed or what path to follow in a particular situation.
But I am encouraged by this passage that my greatest need of the moment, especially in such instances, is to “seek the womb of compassion” of God. I need to make petition to the living God who hears and answers the prayers of His children. I need to ask of Him the wisdom and the direction that I need. I need to listen to His voice, as Jesus spoke of His sheep hearing His voice and not following any other.
The living God in heaven has the answers. He hears our prayers. And He answers sincere prayers for guidance, direction, deliverance or compassion. He is “moved with compassion” still today. His great compassion, also revealed by David in Psalm 86:15, still lives today. It was true in David’s day. It was true in Daniel’s day. It was true in Jesus’ day. And it’s still true today.
When we are in critical need and times of great distress or upheaval, may we follow Daniel’s example here and seek the “belly” of our compassionate God. The living God will “birth” for us the answers that we need. He reveals the secrets and makes known the paths we are to take. He speaks as the true Shepherd and His people hear His voice, above and beyond all other voices.
Daniel’s example doesn’t stop with the prayer meeting and God’s answer. Upon receiving the answer, Daniel recognized it as being from the living God he served and gave a prayer of blessing and thanks to God. This beautiful prayer is recorded for us in verses 20-23 of that same chapter. Here, he acknowledged God who held the answers he needed, revealed the mystery, and answered his prayer. We too must remember to always follow up our prayers with praise to God for His answers. Let us never forget the source, and always be thankful for our great God’s “womb of compassion” (so to speak) that moves Him to act and birth for us the answers we need. What a loving God we Christians serve. He is worthy of all honor and all our devotion, for He is truly “full of compassion,” and willing to share it with His children!
If you are in great need, seek the “womb of the compassion of God.” If you are concerned about the world and our nation’s directions, seek the “womb of the compassion of God.” Whatever your need is, beloved brother and sister in Christ Jesus, seek the living God who will be “moved with compassion” and answer the cry of His dear children.