Whose Power Are You Trusting??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #709

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #709  Whose Power Are You Trusting???

 

I want to veer off our “Daniel” track for today and just share a word of encouragement for each of us today.  As we’re in the deep freeze here in Oklahoma—and about to get even “freezier” in the next week, there is a warmth in my heart that only comes by knowing WHO is in charge—and for sure it’s not the government or the weatherman—and as the Apostle John recorded for us so long ago:

And a voice came out of the throne, saying,

Praise our God,

all ye his servants,

and ye that fear him,

both small and great.

6 And I heard as it were

the voice of a great multitude,

and as the voice of many waters,

and as the voice of mighty thunderings,

saying,

Alleluia:

for the Lord God

omnipotent

reigneth.”  Revelation 19:5-6

HE always has, and HE always will be The Lord God Almighty who reigns over all.  And as Zechariah reminded the people who were discouraged at the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple, our strength isn’t from anything in this world!

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying,

This is the word of the LORD

unto Zerubbabel,

saying,

Not by might,

nor by power,

but by my spirit,

saith the LORD of hosts.”   Zechariah 4:6

I quote this verse often to myself and others, and there is one other simple passage that I’d like to leave with you; and I know many of you already have it planted in your heart, but I just want to remind each of us that “our God reigns”!  Our job is to keep our eyes fixed on HIM and trust each of our days to HIS care.  That’s not always an easy task when our eyes, our hearts and our minds see such heartache, carry such heavy burdens in our circumstances, and see so much darkness and chaos around us—but remember, we are called to look up, not around!  I’m so often reminded to look up to our Lord and not around at the “lions”!  Take it to Jesus, my friends; HE is my hope—my joy—and my total confidence, and He’s there for you too; call on HIM today!

Trust in the LORD

with all thine heart;

and lean not

unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways

acknowledge him,

and he shall direct thy paths.

7 Be not wise

in thine own eyes:

fear the LORD,

and depart from evil.

8 It shall be health to thy navel,

and marrow to thy bones.”  Proverbs 3:5-8

Blessings on you and yours—and let “your little light shine” today….and today….and today!

Amen and Amen!!!

A Testimony Of Truth??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #708

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #708  A Testimony Of Truth???

 

As we continue our look at Daniel chapter 3 and our friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we find that as they stood fast to their God and His truth, God proved Himself faithful.  We never have to prove God’s faithfulness, but when we are faithful to HIM and HIS Word, God will prove Himself faithful every time.  One of our problems today is that many who claim the name of Jesus have compromised, watered down and tried to change God’s truth—the ultimate truth of the Gospel and its total sufficiency to save and deliver!  Daniel and his friends knew that God was The Lord God Almighty and that HE would do that which was right, and they would stand fast in HIM and in HIS ways, leaving the results to GOD—not man!  Do we have that kind of faith today?  We can have that kind of faith or we can settle for the imitation version—which is empty and vain.  The kind that Jesus describes in Matthew chapter 7, and while I’m printing a lengthy portion for our consideration today, I pray that you will ponder the truth of what Jesus is telling us.  Just “saying so, doesn’t make it so”!  Are you a doer of “the word” or just a hearer and pretender?  Our friends in Daniel 3 were a most powerful example of the “real deal”!  Have you entered in at the “strait gate”?  It’s a question with eternal import!

Enter ye in at the strait gate:

for wide is the gate,

and broad is the way,

that leadeth to destruction,

and many there be

which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate,

and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life,

and few there be

that find it.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you

in sheep’s clothing,

but inwardly

they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them

by their fruits.

Do men gather grapes

of thorns,

or figs

of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree

bringeth forth good fruit;

but a corrupt tree

bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree

cannot bring forth evil fruit,

neither can a corrupt tree

bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit

is hewn down,

and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits

ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me,

Lord, Lord,

shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;

but he that doeth

the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day,

Lord, Lord,

have we not prophesied

in thy name?

and in thy name

have cast out devils?

and in thy name

done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them,

I never knew you:

depart from me,

ye that work iniquity.”   Matthew 7:13-23

What do we find in Daniel and his friends?  We find faith in action not just words.  They trusted to their God—and their GOD was, is and ever shall be faithful GOD of all creation!  Let’s pick up with the fiery furnace and see what God can do!  We begin with the fate of standing fast for God before an angry king—and there is no record of their fear and pleading, only their faithful walk of faith into that fire.

Then was Nebuchadnezzar

full of fury,

and the form of his visage

was changed against

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego:

therefore he spake, and commanded

that they should heat the furnace

one seven times more

than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men

that were in his army

to bind

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego,

and to cast them

into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound

in their coats,

their hosen,

and their hats,

and their other garments,

and were cast

into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment

was urgent,

and the furnace exceeding hot,

the flame of the fire slew those men

that took up

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego.

23 And these three men,

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego,

fell down bound

into the midst

of the burning fiery furnace.”   Daniel 3:19-23

Do you get the picture here—Nebuchadnezzar in his fury had them heat the furnace hotter than it ever had been—in fact, so hot that the men who took them up to cast them into the furnace died from the heat coming from the furnace.  What fires are you facing today—we all have our fires—but these precious children of God were facing a real “fiery furnace”, yet they had faith that triumphed over fear.  You can have that same faith too, if you’ll but exercise it!  And how do we do that?  We dig into God’s Word to know Him better, we pray to draw close to His heart, inviting Him to “be at home” in my heart, and fellowshipping with like-minded Bible believers in a church where you can hear HIS Word and grow in grace and truth, with a heart of gratitude!

And let the peace of God

rule in your hearts,

to the which also ye are called

in one body;

and be ye thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ

dwell in you richly

in all wisdom;

teaching and admonishing

one another

in psalms

and hymns

and spiritual songs,

singing

with grace in your hearts

to the Lord.

17 And whatsoever ye do

in word

or deed,

do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks

to God

and the Father

by him.”   Colossians 3:15-17

Praise God He is ever faithful, and our three friends found out just how faithful HE was—and so did the angry king, whose countenance “changed” again.  Let’s look:

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied,

and rose up in haste,

and spake, and said unto his counsellors,

Did not we cast three men

bound into the midst of the fire?

They answered and said unto the king,

True, O king.

25 He answered and said,

Lo, I see four men

loose,

walking in the midst of the fire,

and they have no hurt;

and the form of the fourth

is like the Son of God.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near

to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace,

and spake,

and said,

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego,

ye servants of the most high God,

come forth,

and come hither.

Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

came forth

of the midst of the fire.”  Daniel 3: 24-26

Not only did our friends find deliverance “IN” the fire, but they had the very presence of God with them (I believe a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ)!  And who was affected by this miracle?  Let’s see!

And the

princes,

governors,

and captains,

and the king’s counsellors,

being gathered together,

saw these men,

upon whose bodies the fire

had no power,

nor was an hair of their head

singed,

neither were their coats changed,

nor the smell of fire

had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said,

Blessed be the God of

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego,

who hath sent his angel,

and delivered his servants

that trusted in him,

and have changed the king’s word,

and yielded their bodies,

that they might not serve

nor worship

any god,

except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree,

That every people,

nation,

and language,

which speak any thing amiss

against the God of

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego,

shall be cut in pieces,

and their houses shall be made a dunghill:

30 Then the king promoted

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego,

in the province of Babylon.”   Daniel 3:27-30

You talk about a “turn-around”!  Consider all that we see here, and we don’t have time to go into detail, but I want to mention just a few of the highlights:

The tattletales were shown up and silenced—

The raging King was awe-struck with this GOD—

There was “NO” evidence of fire upon their person—

The King’s question of “what God” was answered—

God was recognized for HIS unique power!

Even the King had to acknowledge the might of The God of these three young men:

because there is no other God

that can deliver after this sort…”!

What sort of testimony do we live before the world?  Are we willing to not “worship any god, except their own God” or are we selling out to the ‘loudest liar”?  I pray that you will look at this account with new eyes and a heart like our friends—for God rewarded their faithfulness in HIS time and in HIS way.  And because of their faithful stand in humility, integrity and respect, they were also rewarded by the king.  May God make my heart ready to be found faithful when the fires come.  May you find Him faithful today—and today—and today—!  HE IS still the same.q

Let your conversation

be without covetousness;

and be content

with such things as ye have:

for he hath said,

I will never leave thee,

nor forsake thee.

6 So that we may boldly say,

The Lord is my helper,

and I will not fear

what man shall do unto me.

7 Remember them which have the rule over you,

who have spoken unto you the word of God:

whose faith follow,

considering the end of their conversation.

8 Jesus Christ

the same yesterday,

and to day,

and for ever.”  Hebrews 13:5-8

Amen and Amen!!!

Assurance-VS-Arrogance??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 20

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 20    Assurance-VS-Arrogance???

 

We have read continually the decision of Daniel and his friends regarding their devotion to God, their godly character, and integrity; an integrity that we need to take note of and learn from.  We are looking at the behavior of godly men who are captives in a pagan land under a pagan king—Nebuchadnezzar—lessons of godly integrity that we can learn from today, especially today!  We begin again with the verse that makes the difference in their lives and can in ours.

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

What have you and I made our mind up about?  Have we committed to trust in God’s provision or are we pursuing our own solutions to the trials of our day?  We talked last time about the character that our three friends had; and I want us to consider the choices that these men made and what they can mean to us!  If you remember, we find them at a grand “unveiling” of the golden statue that the king had erected (in his own honor) yet the issue wasn’t the statute but the call to “worship” and ‘bow down’ before it!

And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the LORD thy God,

which have brought thee

out of the land of Egypt,

out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee

any graven image,

or any likeness of any thing

that is in heaven above,

or that is in the earth beneath,

or that is in the water

under the earth:

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them,

nor serve them:

for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God,

visiting the iniquity of the fathers

upon the children

unto the third and fourth generation

of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy

unto thousands of them

that love me,

and keep my commandments.”   Exodus 20:1-6

Our friends knew the Law of Moses and were committed to keep it—even knowing it could cost them their lives.  The King’s threat was real and as we saw in chapters one and two, Nebuchadnezzar was a man given to temper, and our account in chapter three is a prime example.  But for our purposes we want to focus on the attitudes, responses and humility of our three friends.  Unlike the events of chapter one and two, which were relatively private in nature, this event was a public one and puts our friends on center stage!  What we also see is that their integrity (remember the king promoted them along with Daniel for their wisdom and integrity) has evoked some not-so-nice responses from others!

Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans

came near,

and accused the Jews.

9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.

10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree,

that every man that shall hear the sound

of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick,

shall fall down

and worship the golden image:

11 And whoso falleth not down

and worshippeth,

that he should be cast into the midst

of a burning fiery furnace.

12 There are certain Jews

whom thou hast set over the affairs

of the province of Babylon,

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego;

these men, O king,

have not regarded thee:

they serve not thy gods,

nor worship the golden image

which thou hast set up.

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar

in his rage and fury

commanded to bring

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego.

Then they brought these men

before the king.”  Daniel 3:8-13

We could call this the tale of ‘tattlers’, but while our friends were obviously envied, they didn’t respond in kind, but they stood firm in their faith and answered with fearlessness, honor and integrity.  What do you and I do when we are confronted with the ill-will of others?  Do we respond with confidence in our God or our own ‘wits’?  Are you like me and sometimes loose the integrity battle to the smart-mouth urges?  Do we give in to the call of the flesh to answer in kind?  That isn’t what we are called to do, I’m reminded of Paul’s message to the Ephesian church, and while he’s talking about interactions among believers, it applies to the broader context of our relationships with all people.

Let no corrupt communication

proceed out of your mouth,

but that which is good

to the use of edifying,

that it may minister grace

unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,

whereby ye are sealed

unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all

bitterness,

and wrath,

and anger,

and clamour,

and evil speaking,

be put away from you,

with all malice:

32 And be ye kind

one to another,

tenderhearted,

forgiving one another,

even as God

for Christ’s sake

hath forgiven you.”   Ephesians 4:29-32

Peter also gives us an urgent reminder concerning our behavior, and the import of reflecting our Lord and Savior, Jesus, rather than the world. (And 1 Peter is a great message about suffering for Jesus!)  And friends I believe it’s speeding toward us today!

Finally,

be ye all of one mind,

having compassion one of another,

love as brethren,

be pitiful,

be courteous:

9 Not rendering evil

for evil,

or railing

for railing:

but contrariwise

blessing;

knowing that ye are thereunto called,

that ye should inherit a blessing.

10 For he that will love life,

and see good days,

let him refrain his tongue

from evil,

and his lips

that they speak no guile:

11 Let him eschew evil,

and do good;

let him seek peace,

and ensue it.

12 For the eyes of the Lord

are over the righteous,

and his ears

are open unto their prayers:

but the face of the Lord

is against them that do evil.

13 And who is he that will harm you,

if ye be followers

of that which is good?”  1 Peter 3:8-13

Jesus Himself gave us an “other worldly” view of relationships and how His children ought to behave.

Blessed are they

which are persecuted

for righteousness’ sake:

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye,

when men shall revile you,

and persecute you,

and shall say all manner of evil against you

falsely,

for my sake.

12 Rejoice,

and be exceeding glad:

for great is your reward

in heaven:

for so persecuted they the prophets

which were before you.”  Matthew 5:10-12

We are not alone, when we suffer for Jesus/God; but we must decide, do we want the blessings of God or His judgment.  And don’t be cocky, thinking Christians are never judged, for God will judge His own—not for condemnation, but for discipline and correction.

Yet if any man suffer

as a Christian,

let him not be ashamed;

but let him glorify God

on this behalf.

17 For the time is come

that judgment must begin

at the house of God:

and if it first begin at us,

what shall the end be

of them that obey not

the gospel of God?”  1 Peter 4:16-17

And more food for thought from God’s Word!  I’m just the messenger!

For whom the Lord loveth

he chasteneth,

and scourgeth every son

whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening,

God dealeth with you as with sons;

for what son is he

whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement,

whereof all are partakers,

then are ye bastards,

and not sons.”  Hebrews 12:6-8

So, what does this all have to do with our three friends?  Well, they were willing to “withstand in the evil day”!  Are we?  And, no pun intended, they were about to have their “feet put to the fire”, yet they still stood fast trusting to their GOD!

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them,

Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

do not ye serve my gods,

nor worship the golden image

which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick,

ye fall down

and worship the image

which I have made; well:

but if ye worship not,

ye shall be cast the same hour

into the midst of a burning

fiery furnace;

and who is that God

that shall deliver you

out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

answered

and said to the king,

O Nebuchadnezzar,

we are not careful to answer thee

in this matter.

17 If it be so,

our God whom we serve

is able to deliver us

from the burning fiery furnace,

and he will deliver us

out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not,

be it known unto thee, O king,

that we will not serve thy gods,

nor worship the golden image

which thou hast set up.”   Daniel 3:14-18

In closing for this session, we see that our friends gave no quarter in their willingness to stand faithfully before their God regardless of the circumstances.  They had seen God’s faithfulness in the past and they trusted their future to Him, and answered the king in humble honesty, knowing that whether God physically delivered them or not—HE would deliver them, and they would NOT BOW!  Are we willing to trust God in all?  Even in the midst of hatred, jealousy and anger.  I’ll leave you with Nebuchadnezzar’s response, and then we’ll pick up next week, with GOD’s response and WOW does GOD have something to say!!!

Then was Nebuchadnezzar

full of fury,

and the form of his visage

was changed

against

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego:

therefore he spake,

and commanded

that they should heat the furnace

one seven times more

than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded

the most mighty men

that were in his army

to bind

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego,

and to cast them

into the burning fiery furnace.”   Daniel 3:19-20

What’s burning in your life?  What fires are you afraid of?  Will you look up trusting God to provide?  Do you know Him?  Do you know HIS Word?  I call you to join me in spending time this week asking God to grow us in grace, truth and love toward those around us.  May others see Jesus in you/me?  May we reflect assurance rather than arrogance?

Let this mind be in you,

which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God,

thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 

7 But made himself of no reputation,

and took upon him the form of a servant,

 and was made in the likeness of men:

 8 And being found in fashion as a man,

he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:5-8

Amen and Amen!!!

Used Where They Were? Really?? Bible Ballistics: BBs #707

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #707 Used Where They Were?   Really??

 

I would like to take some time today taking a preview look at Daniel chapter 3. Why, you might ask; and the answer would be that there is so much to consider besides the exciting story of the “fiery furnace” which is often missed when we just read the story and go on to the next chapter.  I want to give you some homework, if you would, that I think will make our next session together of more benefit to you and me both!

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold,

whose height was threescore cubits,

and the breadth thereof six cubits:

he set it up in the plain of Dura,

in the province of Babylon.

2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together

the princes,

the governors,

and the captains,

the judges,

the treasurers,

the counsellors,

the sheriffs,

and all the rulers of the provinces,

to come to the dedication

of the image which Nebuchadnezzar

the king had set up.

3 Then

the princes,

the governors,

and captains,

the judges,

the treasurers,

the counsellors,

the sheriffs,

and all the rulers of the provinces,

were gathered together

unto the dedication

of the image that Nebuchadnezzar

the king had set up;

and they stood before the image

that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

4 Then an herald cried aloud,

To you it is commanded,

O people,

nations,

and languages,

5 That at what time ye hear the sound

of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer,

and all kinds of musick,

ye fall down and worship

the golden image

that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

6 And whoso falleth not down

and worshippeth

shall the same hour

be cast into the midst

of a burning fiery furnace.”   Daniel 3:1-6

Here we have an encounter that involved three of the four young men that we have been following; and I’ll just tell you up front, we don’t know where Daniel was, but he, at the very least, isn’t mentioned in this account; now whether he was away on government business or assigned to keep charge of the palace in the King’s absence, we just don’t know.  But his three friends are the subject and the object of this account.  If you take a few minutes to go back and review chapter 2’s prophetic part, you’ll find that the emphasis was on a statue, of which King Nebuchadnezzar was represented by the “head of gold”!  No matter what else the king heard from this dream’s interpretation from Daniel, it would appear that his own “head” has been puffed up with the thought of this “head of gold”!  So, he has built and erected a 90-foot-tall statue of “gold”!  And I have no doubt that the likeness of this statue was very likely the likeness of King Nebuchadnezzar—a man of pride, and temper.

The king has not only built this giant statue, but he has also called everyone of import to the ‘reveal’ of the image of gold; and not only a ‘reveal’ but a call to “worship” this image he has set up!  How ‘coincidental’ that he has called all the people to worship this image—including our three friends!  What I want us to consider today is the fact that our three friends find themselves in a dilemma of choosing how to respond to the king’s command!  There’s an old southern gospel song that sums it up: “They Wouldn’t Bend, They Wouldn’t Bow, They Wouldn’t Burn” (Written by Arthur Smith)!  But when did these three choose?  When will you choose?

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

Daniel and his friends made up their minds at the beginning to follow and serve their God no matter where they were!  They knew God and they trusted HIM to care for them one way or another!  Their faith and devotion was in their GOD not ‘religion’!  They had already chosen to trust God and follow HIM no matter where it led; whether it was pleasant, convenient or fair—they determined before the crises came that they would not do anything to “defilethemselves; and remember they had already been ceremonially defiled by their captors!  They weren’t filled with hate, but they were filled with love for and trust in the Almighty God of creation, their GOD, knowing that HE would use them whereever HE placed them.  God can use YOU/ME right where we are (or where ever HE may lead us) if we will repent of our sin, turn to Jesus and give our lives to HIM for HIS service where ever we are!  When we decide to follow Jesus anywhere HE leads and to trust to HIS care, we will find that God will do amazing things—no matter whether the circumstances are pleasant or not—no matter if it is convenient or not—no matter if it seems ‘fair’ or not!  Our God reigns in all!  Here are some reminders for us to consider.

God reigneth over the heathen:

God sitteth upon the throne

of his holiness.”  Psalm 47:8

How beautiful upon the mountains

are the feet of him

that bringeth good tidings,

that publisheth

peace;

that bringeth good tidings

of good,

that publisheth

salvation;

that saith unto Zion,

Thy God reigneth!”  Isaiah 52:7

And I heard as it were

the voice of a great multitude,

and as the voice of many waters,

and as the voice of mighty thunderings,

saying,

Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent

reigneth.”  Revelation 19:6

So, as we wind down for today, I would like to ask you to spend some time this week reading through and pondering the content of Daniel chapter 3 and noting what these men did, how they did it, why they did it and in whom their trust was secured!  How could they be so bold (never arrogant) as to face a raging king and respectfully stand fast trusting God!

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered

and said to the king,

O Nebuchadnezzar,

we are not careful to answer thee

in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve

is able to deliver us

from the burning fiery furnace,

and he will deliver us

out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not,

be it known unto thee, O king,

that we will not serve thy gods,

nor worship the golden image

which thou hast set up.”  Daniel 3:16-18

How will you respond when you are under a Nebuchadnezzar who challenges your faith?  If we are ever called to ‘civil dis-obedience’ will we behave with godly civility or be arrogantly uncivil.  And if you need to see even more of an example ponder this with deep humility.

For this is thankworthy,

if a man for conscience toward God

endure grief,

suffering wrongfully.

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

for us,

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:” 1 Peter 2:19-23

May you hear from God as you ponder these things.  I pray that we will each bow before our God not the world!

Lord willing, we’ll take this back up Sunday!

Amen and Amen!!!

Rewarded To Serve??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 19

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 19    Rewarded To Serve???

 

We left off last week with Daniel receiving the answer to the prayers of he and his three friends.  We have seen the integrity, character and faithfulness to God of these four young men who exemplify the response of a godly servant of God!  We are all called to faithfulness; and the example that we find in Daniel ought to encourage each of us to righteous living and the courage to pursue godliness, and character that reflect God The Father, Jesus The Son, and The Holy Spirit before a world in desperate need of a Savior and Redeemer!  Daniel was certainly in the minority!

Let’s review not only Daniel’s prayer and his praise to The God who hears and answers prayer, but compare these, as we go. to the things that Daniel shared before the King!

Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

18 That they would desire mercies

of the God of heaven

concerning this secret;

that Daniel and his fellows

should not perish with the rest

of the wise men of Babylon

19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel

in a night vision.

Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20 Daniel answered and said,

Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever:

for wisdom and might

are his:

21 And he changeth the times

and the seasons:

he removeth kings,

and setteth up kings:

he giveth wisdom

unto the wise,

and knowledge

to them that know understanding:

22 He revealeth the deep

and secret things:

he knoweth

what is in the darkness,

and the light

dwelleth with him.

23 I thank thee,

and praise thee,

O thou God of my fathers,

who hast given me wisdom

and might,

and hast made known unto me now

what we desired of thee:

for thou hast now made known unto us

the king’s matter.”   Daniel 2:18-23

Daniel and his friends made a habit of prayer, and so should we; as we said last week, prayer should be our first line of defense, not our last resort.  How’s your prayer life?  Are you developing a true and intimate relationship with The Almighty God of the universe and His Son, Jesus, or are you running your own ‘show’?  Are we willing to pursue real intimacy with God and learn to trust to His care and direction in all our ways?  Not just for ‘results’, but for the glory of our God and the increase of HIS kingdom!  Let’s consider Daniel’s behavior after he receives the answers that he and his friends asked of God.  Remember the decorum with which Daniel inspired the king to grant him the time to pray and give him the answer to his ‘dream dilemma’.  He went through the “powers” that be, and even when he received the answer he still behaved with godly decorum.

Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch,

whom the king had ordained

to destroy the wise men of Babylon:

he went and said thus unto him;

Destroy not the wise men of Babylon:

bring me in before the king,

and I will shew unto the king

the interpretation.

25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel

before the king in haste,

and said thus unto him,

I have found a man

of the captives of Judah,

that will make known

unto the king

the interpretation.

26 The king answered and said to Daniel,

whose name was Belteshazzar,

Art thou able to make known

unto me

the dream which I have seen,

and the interpretation thereof?”   Daniel 2:24-26

Here we see that Daniel honors those who have the authority over him and the decree to kill all the ‘wise’ men; instead of storming the castle with the answer, he goes through Arioch, the captain of the guard, and allows him to take some credit for finding the answer for the king.  It never hurts us to share kindness and opportunities of glory with others.  So, Daniel is brought in before the king, and is asked if he can help.  Let’s continue to look at Daniel’s response to the king (considering that he has the opportunity to take all the credit unto himself); while remembering that Daniel is a captive and openly acknowledging his GOD could be dangerous.

Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said,

The secret which the king hath demanded

cannot the wise men,

the astrologers,

the magicians,

the soothsayers,

shew unto the king;

28 But there is a God in heaven

that revealeth secrets,

and maketh known

to the king Nebuchadnezzar

what shall be in the latter days.

Thy dream, and the visions of thy head

upon thy bed,

are these;

29 As for thee, O king,

thy thoughts came into thy mind

upon thy bed,

what should come to pass hereafter:

and he that revealeth secrets

maketh known to thee

what shall come to pass.

30 But as for me,

this secret is not revealed to me

for any wisdom

that I have more than any living,

but for their sakes

that shall make known

the interpretation to the king,

and that thou mightest know

the thoughts of thy heart.”   Daniel 2:27-30

I encourage you to rehearse Daniel’s prayer, his praise to God for the answer, and then his response to the king; consider all that you learn about this young man (and remember he is probably barely 20, if that) and his character, as well as his confidence in his God.  What is your ‘confidence quotient’ toward God?  Are you walking in the flesh or the spirit?  Paul reminded us that we are to walk in the power of The Spirit who lives within every true believer in and follower of Jesus Christ our Lord!

16 This I say then,

Walk in the Spirit,

and ye shall not fulfil

the lust of the flesh…

…. 25 If we live in the Spirit,

let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory,

provoking one another,

envying one another.”  Galatians 5:16 & 25-26

Daniel’s character is such an encouraging standard for me, oh, that I could attain to such integrity, and dependence upon our Lord!  Let’s consider Daniel’s choices before this pagan king; he still held to and uplifted his GOD above all.  He desired no credit for himself, only that God would be glorified.  Even as Paul told us in his letter to the Galatian believers.

I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live

in the flesh

I live by the faith of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

Consider Daniel’s actions:

He stated clearly

that the ‘wise men’ couldn’t do it—

(which the king already knew)

that there is a GOD in heaven who could—

who reveals secrets—

and that is revealing future things—

to Nebuchadnezzar—

and is revealing secrets to the king—

about what shall come to pass—

that the secrets weren’t revealed due to Daniel—

not for his deliverance alone, but

for the deliverance of the faithful.

 So, God could make it known to Nebuchadnezzar!

Do you see the connection between what Daniel knew as he proclaimed the character of God in his praise to God for the answered prayer, and what he shares with Nebuchadnezzar?  We can only share what we know and have come to trust in our God by experience!  The more you know HIM, the more you will come to trust HIM, and the more you trust HIM the more you will have to share.

But thanks be to God,

which giveth us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren,

be ye stedfast,

unmoveable,

always abounding

in the work of the Lord,

forasmuch as ye know

that your labour is not in vain

in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 15:57-58

Daniel knew HIS God and that nothing done for Him, in Him or through HIM would be in vain.  While we won’t be going into the prophetic import of the dream at this time, we do want to look at the results at the end of the revelation.

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar

fell upon his face,

and worshipped Daniel,

and commanded that they should

offer an oblation

and sweet odours

unto him.

47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said,

Of a truth it is,

that your God

is a God of gods,

and a Lord of kings,

and a revealer of secrets,

seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

48 Then the king made Daniel

a great man,

and gave him

many great gifts,

and made him ruler

over the whole province of Babylon,

and chief of the governors

over all the wise men of Babylon.

49 Then Daniel requested of the king,

 and he set

Shadrach,

Meshach,

and Abednego,

over the affairs of the province of Babylon:

but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.”   Daniel 2:46-49

What is amazing, is that this encounter between Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar brought glory to God, promotion for a faithful servant, and his friends.  And hopefully we’ll get into chapter 3 next week and focus on a different “four” friends.  May God bless you and encourage your heart and draw you near to Him and grow you in grace, faithfulness, godly character and integrity!  It is important, and it could be the difference between heaven and hell for those around you!

Amen and Amen!!!