Volume. XXVI, No. 33
Sunday, 12 February 2012


Daniel's Obedient Life


Last year, Pastor Weng took us through the book of Daniel. The series on Daniel really struck me and made me want to further study the life of this man and his companions who were faithful to God even when in a foreign land.

 At the time of the events in Daniel chapter 1, the Kingdom of Judah had fallen to the Babylonians. Thousands of captive Israelites were taken away to Babylon, about 500 miles away from Jerusalem.  This was the beginning of the exile period. Daniel and his friends were taken away into exile about 605 BC.

In chapter 1, we are introduced to four young men. Dan. 1:8 tells us that Daniel had “purposed” (determined or resolved) in his heart to obey God’s commands and not eat of the king‘s provision. Then there is the example of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in Dan. 3, that they would not serve or worship false gods. Let us learn a few things from their examples as given in the book of Daniel.


They knew God’s Commands and Laws

 All four men bore names that honoured Yahweh (the God of Israel), suggesting that the young men’s parents were God-fearing people. Daniel means “God is my Judge”; Hananiah means “Yahweh has been gracious”; Mishael means “He that is a strong God”; and Azariah means “Yahweh has helped”. It could have been their parents or the rabbis at the synagogues or even their grandparents who taught them God’s Word. They knew the Scriptures which was evident when Daniel resolved not to defile himself with “the portion of the king’s meat.” (Dan. 1:8) 

 The Israelites were warned not to eat the king’s meat as it was often meat that had been offered to idols (Eze. 4:13). Food from the king’s table would also most likely contain meat of  “unclean” animals, as well as strong wine. This did not conform to the Jewish food requirements of God’s Law which was clearly laid out according to Leviticus 11. How did Daniel know these food laws since he was brought to Babylon and chosen of the king as a “child” or young man? He must have been taught God‘s commands. 

And how did Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah know that there was only One God and that they should worship Him and Him alone (Dan. 3:12-18) and not worship false gods? It is in the 10 commandments! They knew God’s Laws. The Laws and commands were given to  God’s people, the Israelites, to “be holy,” because their God was a holy God (Lev. 19:2). The Israelites were a people set apart by God, separated from the world. So even as exiles in a heathen land, Daniel and his friends chose to represent and glorify God by obeying His Laws.

We do not know how old they were, but even after being taken captive and marched through the desert to a foreign country which worshipped idols and false gods, and their lives were under the power of a heathen king, they still resolved to keep the commandments of God. They could have complained and griped about their lot in life, but instead they remained steadfast in the Lord. Prov. 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” They had been well taught and trained in God’s Way. They would not sin against God. Psalm 119:11 tells us to have God’s Word in our heart, that we might not sin against Him. How can we do this? God’s Word is our absolute, perfect standard. When we study and search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), we learn what God requires of us: for example, Deut 10:12, Micah 6:8 and what is evil and sinful, Rom 7:7.

Do you study the Scriptures daily? Have you taken God’s Words into your heart and do you strive not to sin against Him? Do you have a desire for the Lord and to know Him through His Word? Remember that our church theme of 2012 is “A Desire for God”.


They obeyed God rather than men (Eccl. 12:13, Acts 5:29)

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah knew what God required of them, and in order not to defile themselves (whether knowingly or unknowingly) by eating the food, they decided not to partake of the king’s food. The king was showing his “graciousness” and “generosity” by providing these captives food from his table, only to have them reject it.

Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah stood out by NOT worshipping the golden image built by king Nebuchadnezzar. They knew the law that if they did not bow down and worship the golden image, they would be thrown into the burning, fiery furnace (Dan. 3:6). Daniel knew of the king’s decree that he would be cast into the den of lions if he prayed to his God, yet “he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Dan. 6:10)

They would rather obey God because they knew that God was Sovereign, and in control of all things. They knew that their God who created the Universe was the Infinite, Almighty God. They would rather obey the One, True God than the man whom He created. They were firm in their convictions, to the point of being willing to give their lives for the Lord’s sake. I might never be in the situation where a king could very easily take my life, but I need to ask myself: How willing am I to stand firm in my faith? How willing am I to stand out from all others, for the Lord’s name? In our “politically correct” society, it seems that we are afraid to do so now without fear of persecution or retribution.

But listen to what Jesus said (Mark  8:35-38), “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel\'s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Pray to the Lord for strength and courage to stand up for Him in this world.

 

They took action in obeying God

For someone with purpose, it is not enough just to have the thought but action must follow in order for the purpose to be carried out. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah’s convictions provoked action on their part. In Dan.  1:8, Daniel proactively requested that he might not defile himself. In Dan. 3:12-18, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) did not worship the golden image along with all of the king‘s people. When they were brought before the king, they continued their excellent testimony by telling the king that they would neither serve his gods nor worship the golden image.

They demonstrated the spirit of the verse “be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only.”(Jas. 1:22) We may have some knowledge of God’s Word, but how often do we put it into practice in our everyday lives?  Our Lord Jesus epitomises this by willingly dying on the cross for our sins, in obedience and submission to the Father’s will. Paul tells us to “exercise” godliness in 1 Tim 4:7. The word “exercise” means to “train” figuratively, which has the implication of requiring action. We have to practise godliness everyday.

This is the beginning of a new year, have you made any new year’s resolutions? Especially any spiritual resolutions?  If God has put into your heart that He wants you to have a closer walk with Him, or to serve in a ministry, or to be a prayer warrior, or to study the Bible more, or to witness to someone, or to show hospitality, or to practise self-control; you know they are in His will because it is written in God’s Word.  If God has put such a “purpose” in your heart, praise the Lord! He has given this thought to you, even as He put into King Artaxerxes mind (in Ezra 7:27) to help the Israelites rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, so as to fulfil His will and His plan.

Daniel didn’t just obey God only when he was first brought to Babylon (around 605 BC) as shown in Daniel chapter 1. He continued to obey God throughout his life: for example, he was thrown into the den of lions around 539 BC. He served four kings and kept his faithful walk with God. How are you going in your spiritual resolutions? Have you put them into action?  If you feel that your new year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside, don’t give up! Confess before the Lord and persevere!  It is never too late to take action and obey God. Ask for His grace - and He will give grace to the humble (1 Pet 5:5b).

May God grant us grace to obey Him, come what may.

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Cong Pham.

*Hope Bookstore - Open from 12:30 - 1:45pm.

*Updating our Church Directory. Please fill in your name & details in the form provided & then place the completed form in the box.

*Easter Family Bible Camp - Volunteers are welcome to be part of the planning committee. Please approach Dn Colin if you are interested.

*Adult Sunday School starts today. All are encouraged to attend.

*Sis Cathy Carpenter thanks Hopefuls for their prayers & visits when she was in hospital (her card is on the notice board).

 

 Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Bros Daniel Ki (Adl/Hamilton) & Joseph Selvanayagam; Sis Clara Sim (Adl); & others who have arrived at their destinations.

2. Recovery from surgery - Dn Edwin D’Mello & Sis Lydia Fan.

3. Church Activities - over the past week.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Requests

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Cathy Carpenter, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction.

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Srun Chivan & Ministry; Pr Zhang (Sihanoukville).

3. Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.

4. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

5. God’s Comfort - those who are grieving.

6. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim (Melb).

7. IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.

8. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.

9. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.

10. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

11. House of Hope, Cebu, Philippines - Ministry to drug addicts.

12. Journey mercies: Ps David & Sis Susan Weng & family; Dns Purdee Yeo; Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Yvone Kam, Piah Buey Yeo, Peng Ha Yeo (Adl) & Cyndi Chan (Syd/Melb); Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (HK/China); & others who are travelling.

13. Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.

14. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

15. Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.

16. Bro Chilton & Sis Emily Chong & family as they settle down in Adelaide.

17. People affected by the floods in Qld & NSW.

18. Unity & fellowship of Australian B-P Churches.

19. Full-time Jobs - for our university graduates.

20. Specialist medical exams - Sis Monica Tan.

21. School & Uni students - God’s guidance in their studies.

22.  Uni O-Week - stall helpers & outreach to new International students.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063