Lessons from Daniel – Part 3
By reading this scripture at face value, the message is pretty clear; without FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE to PLEASE God!
There’s an old, well loved song of mine called “God Pleaser” and was written and performed by my favourite Christian band- Petra. Although my kids struggle to enjoy the 80’s flavour of this song, the message is as relevant today as ever before.
“So many choices telling me which way to go.
So many choices come from those who think they know,
There’s a way that seems right to a man that only brings him death. I want to go the way that leads to life ’til I draw my dying breath.
Don’t want to be a man -pleaser. I want to be a God -pleaser……..
I just want to do the things that please the Father’s heart.”
Over the past couple of months, my blog has focused on Daniel from the OT scriptures. He was certainly a man who pleased the Father’s heart. God called Daniel ‘greatly beloved’ and his life is a testament to being a God -pleaser over a man -pleaser.
We need to make a choice on this side of eternity. Are we God -pleasers or man- pleasers? We cannot be both. I’ve witnessed many times and certainly quite recently, the apparent need for Christians to side with worldly ways and practices; to wholeheartedly believe they can embrace secular worldviews as well as a biblical one simultaneously. It is simply not possible to do so and particularly to also expect godly results and/or the Lord to bless your efforts by this duality. How can a Christian be able to confess they are walking by faith but then to walk by sight instead; to be hoodwinked by the world into believing it offers what you need or seek?
Daniel lived most of his life trapped in Babylon, a pagan country in every sense of the word.We too are certainly living in pagan times. Yet Daniel was able to serve God faithfully despite his surroundings. He maintained godly character through a number of serious (and life threatening) trials and conducted himself in a way that glorified the Lord.
His writings were used to encourage the Jewish people during their difficult days both then and in the future. His life was used during the span of four kings to proclaim the one true God; who delivers and protects His own and alone knows and holds the future in His capable hands.
The key to Daniel’s life and ministry is shown to us in Daniel 1:8
‘But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.’
He was a resolute man. He was not intimidated by powerful people or difficult situations. Like Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, he said, “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen” (Wiersbe)
Daniel prayed by faith that the Lord would answer his petitions to be able to interpret the kings dreams and visions. Daniel prayed in faith that God is true to His promises and would eventually deliver His people from captivity and return them to their land. Daniel believed by faith the words and visions of future prophecy given to him through Gabriel. Daniel fasted regularly and prayed daily in a state of resolute faith, despite his very life being on the line as a result.
Can you say you are resolutely following the Lord by faith?
Or are you tempted too many times to take the seen and easy road the world offers ? The world offers us quick fixes and empty promises that are centred on self. The Bible teaches us to deny ourselves, to take up our cross and to follow Jesus-by faith.
To walk by faith is not an easy task and takes great resoluteness on our part to do so. It is particularly difficult to walk by faith in a world that mocks Christians and opposes our beliefs in the Bible. But we haven’t been called to please anyone but God. And God is pleased when we have faith.. Jesus said to His disciples.. ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from her to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’
I encourage you to take a look whether you are living by faith in God or placing your faith in the world or in yourself.
‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it, the elders obtained a good testimony.”
(Heb. 11:1-2) I am sure that every true Christian’s desire is to proclaim.. I want to be a God -Pleaser!