..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bible Study on the Book of Daniel: Daniel Purposed in His Heart: Lesson 4

"Daniel purposed in his heart that he
would not defile himself" (Daniel 1:8)

Our lives will become something. Either
by default or by drift or by definite
decision, we will become something. Daniel
purposed in his heart that he would stay
true to God. Even if we are imprisoned
or taken captive, our essential choices
are still ours. Others may decide what
they will do to us, or they will exercise
control of over our work situation or time or
life circumstances, but how we react
and how we respond is something that
no-one can take from us. Therefore,
we can ALWAYS choose God.

A typically human response is to feel
sorry for ourselves or to complain or
feel helpless: as if we are at the mercy of
the responses of others. We can feel that
we are a victim and if others would just
do this or do that then we would be able
to serve God. But our ultimate choices
lay entirely in our hands and under our
control and we must "purpose" to choose
God. What we "purpose" will make or
break us!

The word "purpose" is a strong word.
It means to set, ordain, establish, to
set in place, to fix, and in some forms,
to set or make for a sign."

Daniel had to "purpose" and then he
had to decide to stick with his purpose--
come lions, fire, an unreasonable king,
come hell or high water!

From the very beginning of his captivity
in Babylon, Daniel had to develop a
spirit of "no compromise" or at some
point he would lose his resolve and
his head would start to spin, and his
resolve weaken, and soon he would
find himself a fine example of a
Babylonian --and his relationship
with God with seem like a distant

Do you know people who make excuses?
Have you ever offered godly advice
to others and they were not interested
in taking it? I am not talking about nagging
someone, but offering them tried and
true advice and they are unwilling?

You suggest a plan of action for a problem
they may have mentioned and they say,
"It is too far to go; It is too much money;
It is too much work; I'm busy on that night;
I'm just not good and you are; things work
for you but not for me; I tried that before
but it didn't work; I will try (but they never
do); do you have any other suggestions?;
or they seek a "word from the Lord" from
someone else, one that is more in line
with what they want to do. Maybe. Tomorrow.
I hope. Could be. Later. I'm coming in just
a minute, Lord.

All of this is not just not purposing, it
is the opposite of purposing. All this kind
of thinking and response will lead to us
being overtaken by the high waves of
life and of Babylon that will roll over us.

Do you know that the waves on the
beautiful beaches of Babylon have a strong
undertow? They will sweep you out
to sea of Sin if you are not careful.

Like Daniel, you have to purpose
in your heart not to be defiled.

What are some examples of
different ways that we can purpose
in the Bible?

Do you know that God purposes?

In Acts 19:21 Paul "purposed in Spirit"
to go where God sent him. It was a
deliberate setting of one's heart and
mind and will to do what God wanted.
The minute he purposed in his heart
the great riot of Ephesus erupted in
his midst. Just get used to the idea
that once you purpose in your heart
to do the will of God you will probably
meet with significant opposition!

People can have an equally strong
purpose against your purposing
for God, and against the purposes
of God. In Acts 27:43, when the
ship Paul was on was shipwrecked,
the soldiers that guarded the
prisoners purposed to kill them,
Paul included, so that they would not
escape. The centurion intervened
to saved Paul. In a sense, he, too,
purposed to give Paul a chance
to live.

Another scripture that contains
the idea of men purposing against
God is Genesis 11:6 which is about
the building of the tower of Babel.
The Lord said, "the people are one
and have the same language...now
nothing they purpose to do will
be withheld from them."

So we see that purposing is powerful,
even when it is against God! Still,
the purpose of man cannot stand
against the purpose of God! Amen!

God's response to Babel was to go
down and confuse their speech and
confound their plans. He purposed
to undue their purposing!

In the Old Testament, when God
purposes, it is often connected with
bringing down evil places or things
that come against that which is
good or that which would totally
destroy His people.

In Isaiah 14:22-27, God purposes
to destroy Babylon and Assyria.
And who will stop the Lord?
"For the Lord of Hosts has
purposed, and who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out and who
will turn it back?" Try, O Man,
or Ungodly Nation, to stop the
purpose of God!

In the New Testament, the purposes
of God are expressed in
expansive and eternal terms.
Romans 8:28 : "For we know that
all things work together for good
to those who love God, to those
who are called according to His
purpose." Thank God that
despite the blows of life, all things
will work together for those who
love God because He has purposed
they will. You are safe!

Ephesians 3:11 says, "In Him
also we have obtained an inheritance,
being predestined according to
the purpose of Him who works
ALL things according to the counsel
of His will." God has a preordained
purpose that will be fulfilled and
that involves our receiving an
inheritance--even Himself!

He purposed the mystery of His
will, according to His good pleasure
(verse 9). The great things that
God has thought up and purposed
in His heart for us make Him
happy. They are good things!
These things are far above what we
could ask or think--so far above us
that they are called
"the mystery of His will." And
yet He has seen fit to begin to
reveal to us His redemption
through His blood, the forgiveness
of sins, according to the riches
of His grace which He made to abound
toward us in all wisdom and prudent
understanding" (vs 7 & 8).

Paul says as he writes in First
Timothy 1:9 that God has saved
us and called us, not according
to our own works, but according
grace which was given to us
in Christ Jesus before time began!

The purposes of God are great
purposes that start in God,
are accomplished by God, and
end with God gathering together
in one all things in Christ--both
which are in heaven and on
earth! (Ephesians 1:10). Wow!

We must have this same intensity
of purpose, this same scope of
commitment, this same joy
in purposing to give God all!

Psalm 17 says, "You have tested
my heart, You have visited me
in the night; You have tried me
and found nothing [evil]. I have
purposed that my mouth shall
not transgress." When God
comes to test us, what will
He find? If we purpose not
to sin with our mouth, we
will have started in a good

Proverbs 15:22 says "without
counsel, purposes go awry,
but in the multitude of counselors
they are established."
We must seek the Lord, and seek
out spiritual men and women
to help us to set our purposes
in a Godly way. If we think we
can just go our own way, we
will soon be just going after
our own wayward purpose and
not the purpose of God.

Daniel was aided in his purposing
by his three friends. Evil company
corrupts good habits. The company
you keep affects you! Awake
to righteousness and do not sin!
(I Cor. 15:33, 34). Purpose in
your heart to agree with God
and walk with Him and His
godly ones!

(this bible study is a continuation
of a Bible Study on the book of Daniel,
further installments are archived in
this blog under "Daniel Bible Study"
and "Bible"

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