Monday, September 4, 2017

So simple and so profound

As we participated in the Daniel fast along with several hundred people at James River Assembly for 21 days, we read how Daniel was a prophet in captivity in Babylon, but still a "highly favored" prophet according to the angel Gabriel. Daniel was not released from his captivity. He still had to serve three pagan kings over his lifetime. The favor of God came in promotion from slave to overseer, dreams and visions of the future, and divine rescue from certain death on at least two occasions. We all know the story of the lion's den.
What was the secret of Daniel's favor? We know he continued to eat a kosher diet to honor God instead of the King's rich food. We know he also refused to worship false gods at the risk of death. He also worshiped God three times daily.
He practiced seeking God first, His kingdom and His righteousness. He loved spending time in the presence of the Lord.
In all the current teaching and emphasis on faith and how faith says what God says, the Lord is impressing on my heart that overcoming faith works by love. Yes of course we are to love one another. That is the new command Jesus gave to us in John 13: 34. However, to have faith that works by love, one must believe that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Love Him. Seek Him first, and seek Him for Who He is, not just for what He can do for you. The rewards follow seeking Him First--not seeking first rescue, healing, provision, etc. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all, Psalm 34: 19. This deliverance follows seeking and loving the Father.
Faith that works by love spends time worshiping Him, like Daniel did. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart. I am impressed that the emphasis is on loving Him and delighting in Him first, even if it means being willing to lay down the desire of the heart.
I am confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, Psalm 27: 13.