Bible Ballistics: BBs #636 Daniel Measured Up! Do We???
I wasn’t going to post today since I shared a guest post yesterday, but with all of the hoopla going around on social media, I feel compelled to share some biblical insight that seems to be lacking around us.
First of all, let me say that we are to interpret life in light of God’s Word, not interpret God’s Word based on the world events going on around us. God has been, IS, and ever will BE The Sovereign God Almighty of all creation! We, His people, are to stand on HIS Word not the latest buzz “philosophy” that is drawing a following. I feel led to share one of my favorite biblical characters, Daniel; for he gives us an example that is, may I say, less than politically correct! But Daniel was a man of godly character regardless of his circumstances.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart
that he would not defile himself
with the portion of the king’s meat,
nor with the wine which he drank:
therefore he requested
of the prince of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8
This young man (probably a mid to late teen) made up his mind, he “purposed in his heart”, that he would do nothing to “defile himself”! This requires a bit of context and history to explain Daniel’s plight. Much of what we hear going around today, proports that God will protect Christians from every harm if they only do “_____”, and you can fill in the blank. Yet scripture is replete with accounts of God’s people having to suffer the consequences of those around them—and Daniel and his three friends were some of those. God had been calling His people to repent for a long while, and yet they refused to heed the warning of impending judgment. Interestingly enough, they had continued to ‘worship’ in their “temple”, yet God had rejected their hypocritical ‘worship’ and called them to come to HIM not religion!
“Wherefore the Lord said,
Forasmuch as this people draw near me
with their mouth,
and with their lips
do honour me,
but have removed their heart
far from me,
and their fear toward me
is taught by the precept of men:
14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed
to do a marvellous work among this people,
even a marvellous work
and a wonder:
for the wisdom
of their wise men
and the understanding
of their prudent men
shall be hid.” Isaiah 29:13-14
And this message is one so needed then, and now, that Jesus quoted it to those in His day.
well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me
with their mouth,
and honoureth me
with their lips;
but their heart
is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me,
teaching for doctrines
the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:7-9
What is God telling us? Just as He told Jeremiah to preach repentance, He is still calling people to repent and believe in The Son of God, Jesus. And when God calls, we can hear and respond in faith or go our own way! Daniel had been raised in this country who had walked away from God repeatedly, and even with the fires of revival under a godly king, it was, if you would, too little too late! But delayed his judgment because of the response of a remnant of genuine believers. Yet judgment came as God had promised, and Daniel and his friends suffered the penalty of captivity—yet even in that captivity, Daniel determined to remain faithful to His God.
And I personally believe (after much study and prayer) that this decision was so significant because Daniel had probably already been ‘ceremonially’ defiled, as these young men were more than likely castrated (as was the custom of the time, for those taken captive for service in the palace). Yet Daniel and his friends determined to trust The God whom they had trusted before their captivity. I also find it interesting that they walked faithfully with their God for the whole record of the book of Daniel, and at least Daniel survived the entire 70 years of captivity.
The thing that I want us to consider is this principle of trusting God even in the crises, for sometimes we do suffer for the choices of others; yet when we do, we are to still keep on trusting our God. And Paul surely wanted us to remember that “ease” isn’t the what we will usually encounter when we “take up our cross“ and “follow” Jesus!
“Nevertheless the foundation of God
standeth sure, having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them
that are his.
And, Let every one that nameth
the name of Christ
depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19
“Yea, and all that will live godly
in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
Oh my, we don’t hear that preached very much! Daniel suffered because of the sin of his nation, but he didn’t doubt, pout, or drop out (as my friend, Pastor Brad, is known to say!). Daniel stood fast in “the evil day” in which he lived, and in the “evil place” where he was thrust, and he shared truth at every opportunity—even when it was at his own peril. Why do we think that we are to be immune for this broken world just because we are born again?
In fact, when Daniel was near the end of his life and ministry, he prayed for his people who were about to go back into the land of Israel! Hopefully his prayer will open some eyes to see that we are to identify with those around us (not join in their sin but identify with our human plight) offering the hope of our “Redeemer” and His life-giving salvation from sin! (Read Daniel 9 in its entirety).
“And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS:
for he shall save his people
from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Are you spreading the hope of salvation by the “blood of the Lamb”? Or are you looking for the “easy” way, the ‘gospel of ease’ rather than the gospel of taking up HIS CROSS! Are you willing to die to self—or cling to it?
“I am crucified
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Jesus told us to take up our cross not to dictate to God! Our circumstances are God’s business, and if all we can do is whine, or complain—who are we really trusting?
And just FYI, Daniel had no temple to attend—he worshipped, prayed, served, and testified where he was because he knew HIS God and HIS Word! What about you? I think church attendance is important, and scripture says we aren’t to neglect it, but we must understand that born-again believers “ARE” the church, and we are to “BE” the church not just attend a meeting in a building. Daniel and his friends prayed together, served God where they were, supported and encouraged one another where they were! Are we going to follow their example—or stomp our feet and ignore the dangers of our present danger or seek God’s face for our particular situation. Jesus clearly told us that we aren’t to “tempt God” with our presumption on HIS Word! I would encourage you to spend some time pondering these things that Jesus left as our example.
“And when the tempter came to him, he said,
If thou be the Son of God,
command that these stones
be made bread.
4 But he answered and said,
It is written,
Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word
out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city,
and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him,
If thou be the Son of God,
cast thyself down:
for it is written,
He shall give his angels
charge concerning thee:
and in their hands
they shall bear thee up,
lest at any time
thou dash thy foot
against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him,
It is written again,
Thou shalt not tempt
the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up
into an exceeding high mountain,
and sheweth him all the kingdoms
of the world,
and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him,
All these things will I give thee,
if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him,
Get thee hence, Satan:
for it is written,
Thou shalt worship the Lord
and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:3-10
Measure what you’re hearing these days by the words of The Master! Don’t be presumptuous toward God’s sovereignty or His Word; Jesus clearly tells us that we are to trust God for our provision, not step out on our own judgment (See Proverbs 3:5-6); we are never to “tempt” God by presumption on His will or His Word. Not all promises apply to every situation, there are conditional promises—you need to know God’s Word and the context of what you’re camping on! And our worship is to totally be directed toward God and not just His blessings and benefits. Daniel loved, prayed to, served, and worshipped His God continually even though He never made it back to “the temple”! What about you—do you know HIS Word well enough to practice it at home, to teach it to your children and family? God calls every believer to know HIS Word! That means you and me, not just the preachers and teachers! He doesn’t mean just the “paid” staff!
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings:
for they will increase
unto more ungodliness.” 2 Timothy 2:15-16
So, my challenge to each of us is that we will learn to judge things around us biblically and not by popular ‘buzz-words’, memes, and political correctness (which is usually not biblically correct!)! And Peter’s challenge to us to always consider our Lord’s Word, His life and His example (and while He came to save us from our sin, His life is one we can always trust!), knowing that suffering and persecution are often the normal for genuine believers! Consider what scripture says, and the lives of those who died for God—in fact spend some time in Hebrews 11:32-40 (it might give you a different take on real ‘Faith’!)
“Honour all men.
Love the brotherhood.
Honour the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters
with all fear;
not only to the good and gentle,
but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy,
if a man for conscience toward God
20 For what glory is it,
if, when ye be buffeted
for your faults,
ye shall take it patiently?
but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it,
ye take it patiently,
this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto
were ye called:
because Christ also suffered
leaving us an example,
that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin,
neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again;
when he suffered,
he threatened not;
but committed himself
to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self
bare our sins
in his own body
on the tree,
that we, being dead to sins,
by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep
but are now returned
unto the Shepherd
of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:17-25
Are we measuring up to our Lord’s example? Won’t you join me in drawing near to Jesus, and measuring those things around us with HIS yardstick not the world’s? And remember what Jesus told the woman at the well!
“Jesus saith unto her,
Woman, believe me, the hour cometh,
when ye shall neither in this mountain,
nor yet at Jerusalem,
worship the Father.
22 Ye worship ye know not what:
we know what we worship:
for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is,
when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father
in spirit and in truth:
for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit:
and they that worship him
must worship him
in spirit and in truth.” John 4:21-24
Be safe and blessings on your week. I’ll be taking some down time and probably won’t post until later next week. See you soon!