Bible Ballistics: BBs #405 Servant OF, Or Served BY???
I’ve been teaching through the book of Daniel recently, and am always moved by the faithfulness of this man of God. In desperate circumstances this young man and his friends chose to be faithful to their God regardless of the culture around them. And faithful they were, in fact in the latter years of Daniel’s life even his enemies had to admit that the only way they could ‘trap’ him would be through his faithful devotion to “his God”! Even the pagan kings around him couldn’t help but see that there was something exceptional in this man. I want to focus on what King Darius had to say about “this Daniel” during the story of the “lion’s den”! Take some time today and read Daniel chapter 6 for yourself with the knowledge that Daniel was somewhere around 85 years old at the time. Not a novice in serving His God, but a man who had faithfully served his God for some 70 years in Babylon, and now in the face of death, his faithful service to God marches on!
“Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions.
Now the king spake and said unto Daniel,
whom thou servest continually,
he will deliver thee.” Daniel 6:16
Then again the next morning, as the king ran to the “lion’s den”, he cried out again:
“And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel,
servant of the living God,
is thy God,
whom thou servest continually,
able to deliver thee
from the lions?” 6:20
The thing I want us to focus on this morning is how King Darius referred to Daniel, “servant of the living God”! You couldn’t be around Daniel for long and miss the truth that he “served” God—in all his ways. Daniel wasn’t a full-time, paid “Christian”; he was a full-time civil servant who served the kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia for some 70 years; yet all he did for each of these kings he did as a “full-time” servant of God Most High! Darius already recognized this about this man of integrity, and clearly proclaimed to Daniel as he put him in with the lions, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee”!!!
Now we get really excited when we focus on God’s deliverance of Daniel, but we miss the import of Daniel’s “servant-hood”! Oh? But that’s just humdrum every day stuff! NO! It’s the stuff that God expects of His own! Yet we live in a culture more focused on “what God can do for me” rather than “what can I do for the God who saved me form death and hell”? Daniel was devoted to The Living God who saved him, even though he was a captive in a foreign land, taken from his homeland, his family and the city that he loved! Oh? We are called to serve God—not to be served by HIM! He is God—we are not!!!
“Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel,
cannot I do with you
as this potter?
saith the LORD.
Behold, as the clay
is in the potter’s hand,
so are ye
in mine hand,
O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:5-6
God is the potter—we are the clay! Not the other way around! We ought to be a “servant of the living God” rather than a ‘dictator’ to the God who reigns! So often we get it all turned around. Jesus made it so clear for us, yet we often forget! How quickly the culture distracts us, and we begin to seek to dictate to God what “HE” ought to do, rather than seeking His heart; yielding ourselves to be available for whatever He desires for us. I think that Daniel had perhaps prayed to be ‘delivered’ from the captivity to Babylon, but when he wound up there he determined to continue to be faithful to God. What have you determined to do where you are?
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself….” Daniel 1:8a
Our heart ought to be focused and “purposed” on God’s will not our own!
“After this manner therefore pray ye:
which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10
Are we praying “Thy will be done” on earth—in me? Or are we praying “My will be done” in heaven, and deliver it here “in earth” as I desire, ‘Lord’? Kind of diminishes the reality of ‘who’ is ‘Lord’, doesn’t it. But let’s wind this up with another word from Jesus Himself.
“And the apostles said unto the Lord,
Increase our faith.
6 And the Lord said,
If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
7 But which of you,
having a servant
or feeding cattle,
will say unto him by and by,
when he is come from the field,
Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him,
Make ready wherewith I may sup,
and gird thyself,
and serve me,
till I have eaten and drunken;
thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant
because he did the things
that were commanded him?
I trow not.
10 So likewise ye,
when ye shall have done all those things
which are commanded you,
We are unprofitable servants:
we have done that
which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:5-10
Ouch! Not convenient, is it? But it is a message for the heart of a “servant of the living God”; a call to those who are devoted to God and desire to have it said of us, “Thy God whom thou servest continually” will deliver you. Do you need to be ‘delivered’? Do you need ‘comfort’? Do you need ‘wisdom’? It can all be found as we yield ourselves to be a “servant of the living God”, rather than seeking to be ‘served by’ God and others! May we honor God as God!