..."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)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bible Study Daniel 9: Daniel, Greatly Beloved of the Lord

"At the beginning of thy supplications
the commandment came forth, and I am come
to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved:
therefore understand the matter, and consider
the vision." (Daniel 9:23)

What an honor to be visited by the angel
Gabriel and be told that you are "greatly
beloved" of the Lord. This is what happened
to Daniel and yet God is no respecter of
persons. What makes someone "beloved of the
Lord?" The life of Daniel gives us rich
clues into the kind of person that God
speaks so highly of.

First, Daniel is found standing faithfully
in the place that God had called him. Year
after year, amidst the life of captivity,
Daniel stands for God. He does not turn aside
to other gods, grow lax, or give up.

When a dog is trained in obedience, he
must learn a hard command: to sit and stay
in place for a long time. If he gets up and
walks away before the command is given,
then he is not properly trained. Being able
to sit and stay in your place is a sign
of learned obedience. It is a high compliment
to your Master. Daniel was able to do this.

Ephesians 6:13 says,"Wherefore take unto
you the whole armour of God, that ye may be
able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand."

Daniel could not escape his circumstances, but
in them he knew how to stand firm in God. He
did not complain and he did not waver in his
faithfulness to God.

2) Secondly, Daniel is found studying the Word
of God and inquiring of God. He is reading the
prophet Jeremiah and pondering the end of the
captivity of his people. He is seeking the Lord.
He is disciplined and active in his seeking. He
has not given up hope or passively accepted
defeat. He is grounded in the covenantal
promises of God. He understands that God
will achieve His purposes with His people.

3) Third, Daniel is willing to intercede. He
is not "me centered." He has not fallen into
a mire of passive self-pity. He appeals to
God to save Israel "for God's sake."
He knows what is important to God. He stands
in covenant with God and stands in solidarity
with His people.

God is looking at the bigger picture
while Daniel is looking at a small portion
of the picture. Perhaps Daniel is hoping and
praying that this is as bad as it gets in
Israel's history. But God sees a much bigger
picture, a greater and more comprehensive
work and sends Daniel understanding and
guidance through the angel Gabriel.

Daniel owns the people's sins as if they
were his own. He does not point fingers,
but stands in the gap. He rightly recognizes
the character of God: His mercy, His
righteousness, His wisdom. He knows his
place before God and makes intercession
according to that knowledge.

These are the characteristics of the
man or woman who is beloved of the Lord:
obedient, disciplined, having a seeking
heart, dwelling in and meditating on the
Word of God, an intercessor who knows the
heart of God, and His intentions for
His people.

These characteristics don't just happen.
They are nurtured and developed and
disciplined into being. Jesus had
these characteristics even before
He was baptized and launched into
public ministry. They are characteristics
that are developed in silence and
consecration to God. They are often
developed in captivity or on the back
side of the desert yet they come
freely from a devoted heart.

Will you be the kind of person of
whom God will be able to say,
"Here is my beloved son or daughter,
in whom I am well pleased?"
That is surely something worthy to strive
for. Make haste to do so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a good article and well put.
I want to be as Faithful to my LORD as Daniel was!!!
Recently I have been asking the LORD to show me what I should be eliminating from my life that is not of eternal value. So much, as especially those things that serve 'self' interests or gratification. Daniel served the LORD, the king and His fellow Israelites with prayers and petitions.
I noticed you have the Voice of the Martyrs on your blog. That is wonderful! I have been writing letters for them for a long time, and I also pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer for the name of Christ. I ask the LORD to show me how to pray for them specifically, and in general. In each of our lives, even if we aren't under direct enemy attack, we are under the attacks of the enemy through our own lusts that 'war' against our walk with Christ Jesus! It has always blessed me to read that Daniel prayed 3 times a day, facing east, toward Jerusalem, the city that Jesus weep over! Oh Jerusalem, that killed the prophets of God, and lived in disobeience. But OH the Holy City of Jerusalem, that Great City of PEACE and LOVE of the FATHER! Holy Jerusalem of the Spirit that lives in Unity and Spirit of the ONE that Gave Himself for us! :)