Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
A Psalm of David
“In You, O Lord, do I put my trust and seek refuge; let me never be put to shame or have my hope in You disappointed; deliver me in Your righteousness!...Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and expect the Lord.!”
Psalm 31:1, 24
“How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful unchangeable Friend!
His love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end!
‘Tis Jesus, the First and the Last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;
We’ll praise Him for all that is past,
We’ll trust Him for all that’s to come.”
“May all in whom the light of faith shines dimly, see at last.”
Térése of Lisieux
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?”
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 29
“In The Service of the Living God”
“His servant I am, and, as such, am employed according to the plain direction of His Word.”
The Journal of John Wesley
In what ways in my life do I serve my King?
Have I ever felt that my talents and abilities were so few that God doesn’t need me in His service?
“If anyone serves, (they) should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
I Peter 4:11
How can I serve God when there are times that I don’t feel as if my capabilities are effective enough?
“The Lord doesn’t ask about your ability, only your availability; and, if you prove your dependability, the Lord will increase your capability.”
“If you are still breathing, you have a ministry. Whether at work, church or elsewhere, we have an obligation to serve and share Christ.”
It had been a long night. As the sunlight crept in through the palace windows, King Darius was already up – preparing to get to the lion’s den as quickly as possible. In fact, in his diary relating this experience, Daniel chose to use the Hebrew word “bhal” or “bâhal” which means “to be alarmed and to tremble as you hasten anxiously because you are terrified.” The Hebrew meaning goes so far as to describe King Darius’ motion as speedy – because he was so vexed in his spirit.
Just put yourself in the king’s royal robes. He hadn’t slept all night. He hadn’t had anything to eat. Now in a total panic he made his way, as fast as humanly possible, to the den of lions, not knowing what he would find – but obviously fearful it might be the worst!
Arriving at what could have easily been Daniel’s den of death, the king cried out “with a lamentable voice” to his friend. (I want to divert a moment to share some background regarding the authorship of the book of Daniel. It seems that some critical scholars considered the book of Daniel spurious or counterfeit. There are always people who think they can set human wisdom above a heavenly message. However, in the case of the book of Daniel, through the in-depth study of Daniel’s message, guess what? It only served to prove the book more truthful! As noted in the preface to the book of Daniel in my Amplified Bible, through careful study of the content of Daniel, many scholars have provided or as I like to say, have verified answers that show the criticism to be false. The conclusion has been reached that indeed Daniel penned this book in the sixth century. That’s no surprise to me!)
The verification of Daniel’s record means a great deal to you and me in the 21st century for when Daniel wrote that King Darius’ voice sounded “lamentable” or as the Hebrew expands on the definition – afflicted, worried, and vexed – we know the emotions to be true because Daniel was there, on the site! He heard the king’s voice. And he understood the reasons behind the king’s desperation.
But it wasn’t just what King Darius’ voice sounded like that caught Daniel’s attention. It was also the words that the king spoke which moved Daniel. And to be frank, King Darius’ words move me thousands of years later.
I’d like to break down the record left by Daniel’s transcript of what Darius said:
A) “O Daniel, servant of the living God.”
There was no question in the mind of the king as to where Daniel’s loyalty lay. Daniel was, as the Hebrew expands for us, a worshipper, in the service of the God that is alive and giveth life. As a servant of the Almighty God, Daniel never hid his allegiance to our God of life!
B) “Is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able?”
What a question from this heathen king whose habits in worship centered on bowing before gods made by human hands. At this moment in time, the vexed and anxious king, who knew his metal and stone gods were worthless in fighting off hungry lions, asked his friend Daniel, who worshipped the “living God continuously,” if he thought his God was able in the most impossible times. In the words of the Apostle Paul to his Christian friends in Ephesus: “Now unto Him (that’s Daniel’s Almighty God who he served continually!) that is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3: 20). Oh yes, our God is more than able!
C) “To deliver thee from the lions?”
As King Darius stood outside the den of lions in the early morning light, all he could think about was if Daniel’s God, the alive God, was an able God who could do what he knew the gods of Medo-Persia were incapable of doing. Could the “living” God deliver His faithful servant? Would God, as the Hebrew asks this question, set Daniel free?
Today, you may be in your own den of lions. Put there by jealous co-workers who have tried to sway your boss against you with false accusations. I ask you – is your God able? Maybe your health challenge right now has the doctors shaking their heads. And you are left perplexed as to what the future holds. I ask you – can your God set you free? Possibly your marriage problems have tried you to the limit of your patience. I ask you – is your God alive and well?
No matter the den you are in today, never forget that our God is the “living God!” Our God is an “able” God! And our God is our “Deliverer!” And if you don’t believe me, just ask King Darius, who by watching the daily life of God’s servant in Medo-Persia learned the truth about our Almighty God. In the words of the beloved English poet, Anne Bronte, written near the time of her early death at the age of only 29 years:
He Doeth All Things Well
“I hoped that with the brave and strong,
My portioned task might lie;
To toil amid the busy throng,
With purpose pure and high;
But God has fixed another part,
And He has fixed it well,
I said so with my breaking heart,
When first this trouble fell.
These weary hours will not be lost,
These days of misery,
These nights of darkness, anguish–tossed,
Can I but turn to Thee:
With secret labor to sustain
In patience every flow
To gather fortitude from pain,
And holiness from woe.
If Thou shouldst bring me back to life,
More humble I should be,
More wise, more strengthened for the strife,
More apt to lean on Thee;
Should death be standing at the gate,
Thus should I keep my vow;
But, Lord, whatever be my fate,
O let me serve Thee now!”
As Daniel was placed in the den of lions by hateful enemies, I wonder if he could have ever imagined that his continuous service to the Living God had left such an impression on the earthly King Darius that he would find in Daniel’s God a God who is able to deliver. That’s our Mighty, Living God who we serve!
The following poem should be the testimony of every child of God walking in humility like Daniel and carrying with him the Presence of God.
“Reflectors of His Glory”
“Not merely in the words you say,
Not only in your deeds expressed,
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed!
Was it your beautiful smile?
A holy light upon your brow?
Ah no! I felt His presence when you laughed just now!
For me ’twas not the truth you taught,
To you so clear, to me so dim,
But when you came
You brought a sense of Him!
And from your eyes He beckons me,
And from your heart His love is shared,
Till I lose sight of you and see
The Christ instead.”
Shared by our Garden friend Trisha.
Prayer of Service
“Lord, here I am, do with me as seems best in Your own eyes; only give me, I beseech You, a penitent and patient spirit to expect You. Make my service acceptable to You while I live, and my soul ready for You when I die.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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