..."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)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Daniel Bible Study-- Like Daniel & Jesus: Cultivating a Quiet & Obedient Spirit

The sixth chapter of Daniel reveals to us
some similarities between the life of Daniel
and the life of Jesus. Daniel had a quiet
spirit. He, like Jesus, did not try to
make himself the center of attention. Both
men quietly went about doing good, and
obeying what God had asked of them.

Yet, envy and jealousy rose up in people's
hearts against Daniel, as it did against
Jesus. Those that plotted against Daniel
knew that they could not find anything
wrong in what he was doing "unless they
find it against him concerning the law
of his God" (vs. 5); for they knew that
he served God alone and would not compromise,
even with the king. May we strive for
such a pure place, for sadly, there can be
much that antagonizes others in us that
is not of God.

Nonetheless,envy and jealousy provoke evil
deeds more than we know. We need to guard
against the mad thrashings of envy in our
own lives. Envy provokes Daniel's contemporaries
to devise a plot to bring him down. The
same was true of Jesus. In Matthew 27:18
Pilate knew that "it was for envy that they
delivered him" [to the Roman authorities].

What is amazing about both Jesus and Daniel
is how, when continually and violently
opposed, they just remained in the place that
God called them to and "did not raise their
voice" in the streets. They did nothing to
promote their "ministry" nor defend themselves.
They were simply faithful to God.

In Daniel 6, those that were envious of Daniel
observe that he is not falling down to worship
the king but is still, blessedly, worshipping
God alone. Here is how they hope to trap him
and take him down. Daniel's response to this is to
go home, open his windows, and pray three times
a day to God AS HE HAD ALWAYS DONE! (vs. 10).

When things are arrayed against us let us
quietly but visibly continue to obey God.
Consider the life of Jesus, for in it we
see this same quiet, visible obedience
in action.

Isaiah writes about what the coming
Messiah will be like: "he shall not cry,
nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be
heard in the street. A bruised reed he
shall not break and a smoldering wick he
shall not quench." (Is. 42:2-3).

He also writes:"he was oppressed and
afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is
dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Is. 53:7).

Jesus, and Daniel, did not fight to
defend themselves but trusted in God,
leaving their defence to God.

In Matthew 21 Jesus tells the parable
of the wicked vineyard keepers. The
parable exposes the envy and hatred
of the Pharisees toward God and His Son.
Jesus concludes that He is as the son
of the husbandman who was killed and like
the rejected cornerstone. Then He says
"whoever falls on the Stone shall be broken,
but on whomever it falls it shall grind
him to powder" (Mat 21:44). Even this coming
judgment is without words yet sure and

The chief priests and elders constantly
plot to get Jesus, yet Jesus just goes
along quietly obeying the Father. They bring
false witnesses to speak against Jesus but
"Jesus held His peace" (Mat. 26:63).

Jesus only does what He sees His Father
doing, He does nothing from Himself (John
5:19). Even then, He is persecuted, but
God is His defender, just as God is
Daniel's defender and the defender of
anyone who obeys God and does not
fight in his own strength to defend
himself for doing what God bids.

Defending ourselves becomes noisome.
We choose to lift up our voice, to
take up our weapons, to defend
our way; in doing so we lose quiet
obedience to God. Our voice is heard
in the street, we call attention to
ourselves. We lose the quiet and
meek spirit displayed by Daniel and
by Jesus. The spirit of Antichrist
is a noisy spirit that chatters
and clatters and pushes itself
to the front, gleefully breaking
bruised reeds and pompously snuffing
out smoldering wicks.

Let us seek to walk quietly and
humbly with God, not raising our
voice, putting ourselves in God's
hands, even when we are threatened
at the hands of men.

God's ways are not like ours.
We find Him in quietness and in
confident trust. We find His favor
in obedience. Let us trust ourselves
into His hands, and leave our defence
to Him. Whether we live we live unto
Lord, or whether we die, we die
unto the Lord, whether we live
or die, WE ARE THE LORD'S (Rom 14:8).

Other installments of this bible study
are filed under "Daniel Bible Studies" in
the archives.

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