DANIEL 3:17 – Our God Whom We Serve Is Able To Deliver Us

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“Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us.” Daniel 3:17

The King of Babylon – King Nebuchadnezzar

Probably twenty years elapsed after Daniel and his companions reached Babylon in captivity before the scenes of the lesson in Daniel Chapter 3 were enacted. Meantime Daniel had been raised to a very high position in the empire, as the King’s counselor, while his three Jewish companions—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegohad been made magistrates in the provinces of Babylon. We know that their prosperity did not tend to make them careless of their duties and responsibilities toward God, for otherwise they would not have been able to stand the severe test recounted in this lesson, and which proved a great blessing to them because of their fidelity to the Lord.

King Nebuchadnezzar just before this had won some great victories over surrounding nations—Egypt, Syria, etc.—as he had previously done with Judah, and as the Lord had predicted in the dream which Daniel had interpreted for the King, which showed the Babylonian Empire as the golden head of earthly dominion. His great success no doubt had tended to feelings of pride and a desire for display. Yet these were probably not the only motives which led to the program of the great festival in honor of his victories, and the erection of the great image which all were commanded to worship.

With a view to unifying the Babylonian empire by unifying the religious views and worship of the various peoples under his sway, Nebuchadnezzar had a great feast arranged, of which the very center of attraction was the great image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Nebuchadnezzar's image

In Daniel 3:1 we read that this image, with its pedestal, was sixty cubits high (approximately 27 metres or 8 storeys high) and six cubits wide (approximately 2.7 metres wide). It was of gold, probably either made hollow or on a base of clay cement. It was located in the Plain of Dura, about the centre of the walled enclosure twenty-four miles square, known as the city of Babylon. As it is a level country, and as the structures were comparatively low, the image could probably be seen from every part of the great city.

The Festival

The appointed time for the festival having come, leading representatives, judges, treasurers, governors, sheriffs, etc., from all the divisions of the empire, clad in the gorgeous garments of the East, were present. A great band had been prepared, composed of all the musical instruments popular at that period.

As the people stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the herald proclaimed aloud:

“‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace'” (Daniel 3:4-6).

By falling down and worshiping the image, the people would thus be indicating their loyalty, not only to King Nebuchadnezzar, but also to his gods who he believed had given him the wonderful victories which they were celebrating.

This was a crucial test for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They knew that the King’s powers were autocratic, and that to cross his will meant death in some form, yet they wanted to be true to God, whatever the cost. It might be that their refusal to prostrate themselves before the image would pass entirely unnoticed by others, or it might be that, even if noticed, the incident might never reach the ears of the King, but such circumstances could make no change in the matter of their duty; whatever others might do, they must not bow the knee to any but the true God. Daniel is omitted from mention here, possibly because, occupying a different position as one of the king’s personal staff and household, his conduct would not come so directly in contrast with the general conduct.

The Hour of Trial

Finally, the hour of trial came, when the great King of Babylon was recognized not only as civil but also as religious ruler, and the image which he had set up was worshiped by the various representatives of his empire—except Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Their neglect to bow was quickly brought to the attention of the King, for no doubt these, like all good men, had their enemies: some enemies through jealousy and rivalry for the King’s favor; other enemies because, perhaps, they had been interrupted or hindered in dishonest practices and contracts with the government. The matter seems to have astounded the king, and hence his inquiry, Is it true, can it be true? Surely, no sane men would be so foolhardy as to oppose my decree, and that in my very presence, and upon such a fete-day as this? Not waiting an answer as respects matters of the past, the king voluntarily proposed for them a fresh test of loyalty and submission.

Perhaps the king’s mind shot a glance backward fifteen years, to the time when the God of the Hebrews, through Daniel, had told and interpreted his dream, a matter which none of the other gods of his wise men could do; and as though he had this in mind, and wishing to impress the matter upon these three Hebrews who had dared to challenge his power, he made the boast, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” In his arrogance of mind and under the flush of his mighty victories over the greatest nations and mightiest kings, Nebuchadnezzar felt prepared to have a contest even with the unseen and to him unknown invisible powers. He would not be backed down in his own capital city; he would demonstrate his power to inflict a penalty, regardless of what any of the gods might do in retaliation.

The answer of the three Hebrews was a wise one; seeing from the king’s mood that the discussion of the subject would be useless, they did not attempt to retaliate by threatening him with divine vengeance; neither did they attempt to convert the King to Judaism, knowing well that the provisions of the Jewish covenant were not for Gentiles. They simply responded that they were not anxious to avail themselves of the opportunity to argue the matter with the King. They assured him of their full confidence that their God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, and out of the hand or power of even the greatest king of the earth; but they answered:

 “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Angered that his great festal day should be thus marred by even the slightest opposition to his will, the king did not wait to give another opportunity wherein the Hebrews might relent. He saw that it was useless, that they were men of character and determination, and he resolved that he would make an example of them before all the people. The form of his visage or his countenance changed toward these men; whereas once he had admired them, as amongst his ablest counselors and magistrates, and an honor to his empire, now he hated them, as opponents whose course, if not interrupted, might introduce disorder into his empire, and lead to more or less sedition, if copied by others. In his rage he commanded that the furnace be heated seven times, or to its utmost capacity. The furnace, already heated for the occasion, may have been the one used in melting the gold for the image, and must have been of immense size.

Probably as a mark of his great authority, and to show that even the very greatest of his subjects were subordinate to his supreme authority, the king commanded that these three recalcitrant officials be cast into the fiery furnace by prominent officers of his army—no doubt to teach a lesson respecting the power of the army, and the willingness of its chief representatives to serve the king, as against everybody else.

The Hebrews, bound in their official garb, were evidently cast into the furnace from the top, because it is stated that they fell down bound, while the heat was so intense that it even killed those who cast them into the furnace, possibly by the inhalation of the flames, which might kill them instantly.

The King seemed to be having matters his own way, as usual; even the mighty God of the Hebrews had not delivered these men from his power. And yet the King was solicitous and eyed the furnace, and to his surprise beheld those who had been cast into the furnace bound, walking about free in the flames—seemingly uninjured. More than this, he saw a fourth person there, of most remarkable appearance, which caused the King to think and speak of him as one of the gods. No wonder he was astonished; he was evidently contending with a God of whose powers he had been ignorant.

Nebuchadnezzar realized he had made a great mistake in attempting the destruction of three of his most eminent magistrates, and that he was thus defying the great God. He was prompt to make acknowledgement, and approached the furnace, calling out, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” In the presence of the king’s courtiers they came forth, and all beheld them that the fire had done them no injury, not even having singed their clothes or their hair. This was indeed a stupendous miracle, and doubtless was valuable in its influence, not only upon the Gentiles, but also upon the Hebrews residing throughout Babylon, who would thus hear of the power of Jehovah in delivering those faithful to him.

Whether this had a bearing on the subject or not, we know well that, while idolatry had been one of the chief sins of the Israelites before this captivity, there was comparatively little of idolatry in its crude forms in that nation afterward.

Nebuchadnezzar’s acknowledgement of the God of the Hebrews, who sent his messenger and delivered his servants that trusted in him, is very simple and very beautiful. He rejoiced in the noble character of these men, and at once made a decree:

“Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way(Daniel 3:30).

And furthermore, he promoted these faithful men to still higher positions, for they had still more of his confidence respecting their integrity.

Men who would thus hazard their lives for conscience’ sake could be trusted in the most important positions.

Lessons From This Bible Account

The Lord’s people may find in this Biblical story many valuable lessons and suggestions. Not all of God’s people are in such prominent positions as were these Hebrews; and not many have testings of exactly the same kind as were theirs, with a literal fiery furnace before their eyes. Nevertheless, there are trials before the Lord’s people today that are fully as severe.

Babylon the literal was in ruins long before the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos was shown in prophetic vision the mystic or symbolic Babylon “which reigneth over the kings of the earth” today. The provinces of Babylon today are the various civilized nations—really “kingdoms of this world;” but deluded into calling themselves and thinking themselves kingdoms of Christ—“Christendom.” And parallels to the King and the image are also presented in Revelation—they are religious systems symbolically described as “the beast [Papacy] and his image” (Revelation 13:15-18).

The worship of this symbolic beast and his image are to be the great test or trial upon professing Christians in every province of symbolic Babylon in the end of this age and indeed, the testing is even now in progress. Only those who refuse to render worship to those powerfully influential religious systems (symbolized by “the beast and his image”) will be counted by the Lord as “overcomers” and be made his joint-heirs as members of his elect Church (Revelation 20:4).

As already pointed out, the “beast” represents not Roman Catholics (the people) but the Roman Catholic system, as an institution: and the image represents not Protestants (the people) but the consolidation of Protestant systems, as an institution. Those who absolutely refuse to worship its images are already exposed to fiery trials;—social ostracism and financial boycotts. Prominent amongst these is:

The Roman Catholic idolthat church sets itself as the representative of God, and demands worship, obedience and contribution to its funds;

The Greek Catholic Church idol: the Anglican is another; and the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.all similarly demand worship, obedience and revenue. They have “pooled their issues,” to a certain extent, so as not to war upon each other’s devotees, but they unite in warfare against all who do not bow the knee to some such idol (who reverence and worship only the Almighty God, and recognize his only begotten Son as the only Head and Lord of the true Church, whose names are only written in heaven—not on earthly rolls of membership (Hebrews 12:23).

In the “dark ages,” when Papacy had a monopoly of the “church” business, it meant torture and the stake, as well as social ostracism. Today, in many instances there are evidences that the same spirit prevails, merely restrained by changed circumstances and lack of power. Thousands today are worshiping at the various shrines of Christendom who in their hearts long to be free from the sectarian bondage of fear—who fain would serve the Lord God only, had they the courage. And there are some the world over who, with a courage not less than that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, declare publicly that the Lord God alone shall have the worship and the service which they can render. None, perhaps, know better than the writer the various fiery experiences to which these faithful few are exposedboycotted socially, boycotted in business, slandered in every conceivable manner, and often by those of whom they had least expected it, who, according to the Lord’s declaration, say “all manner of evil against them falsely” (Matthew 5:11,12).

But with these, as with the three Hebrews of our lesson, the chief trial is in connection with their faith; after they have taken a firm stand for the Lord and his truth they may indeed be bound and have their liberties of speech and of effort restrained, and they may indeed be cast into the fiery furnace, but nothing more than these things can be done to them. As soon as they have demonstrated their fidelity to God to this extent, their trials and troubles are turned into blessings and joys. As the form of the Son of God was seen with the Hebrews in the fiery furnace, so unseen, the Lord is present with those who trust him and who, because of faithfulness to him and to his Word, come into tribulation. How beautifully this is expressed in the familiar hymn,

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”

And sometimes even the worldly can realize that the Lord’s people in the furnace of affliction are receiving a blessing, and sometimes thus our Heavenly Father’s name is glorified in the world, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s experience.

Sometimes the Lord’s people who are bound, restrained of liberty to proclaim the truth, find, as did those Hebrews, that the fire burns the cords and sets them free, and really gives them larger opportunities to testify to the glory of our God than they could have had by any other course.

The Lord’s providences vary, and it is not for his people to decide when shall come remarkable deliverances, and when they shall apparently be left entirely to the will of their enemies without any manifestation of divine favor on their behalf.

Note, for instance, the fact that, while the Lord interposed to deliver these three Hebrews from the fiery furnace, he did not interpose to prevent the beheading of John the Baptist, although of the latter it is specifically declared, “There hath not arisen a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” We remember that, while Peter was delivered from prison by the angel of the Lord, James was not delivered, but was beheaded. We remember also that Paul’s life was miraculously preserved on several occasions, and that the Apostle John, according to tradition, was once cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, but escaped uninjured, while on other occasions dire disaster came upon the Lord’s faithful ones, and that quickly, as in the case of Stephen, who was stoned.

It is not, therefore, for us to predetermine what shall be the divine providence in respect to ourselves; we are to note the point of right and duty and to follow it regardless of consequences, trusting implicitly in the Lord. This lesson is most beautifully set forth in the language of the three Hebrews, who declared to King Nebuchadnezzar that their God was entirely capable of delivering them from his power, but that, whether he chose to do so or not, they would not violate their conscience.

It is just such characters that the Lord is seeking for, and it is in order to their development and testing that multiform evil is now permitted to have sway.

While such testings have been in progress to a considerable extent throughout this entire Gospel age, the Scriptures clearly indicate to us that in some special sense all of the Lord’s people will be tested in the “harvest” or closing time of this age. Our Lord speaks of it, likening our Christian faith to a house, and represents the trials in the end of this age as a great storm which will beat upon every house, with the result that all that are founded upon the rock will stand, and all founded upon the sand will collapse. The Apostle Peter speaks of this trial-time, saying:

“Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as tho some strange thing happened unto you” (1 Peter 4:12).

We are to expect a testing in the end of this age, just as there was a testing of the Jewish nominal church in the end of its age. As in that testing there was a thorough, complete separating of the “wheat” from the “chaff,” so here the separating will be complete between the “wheat” and the “tares,” as our Lord declares (Matthew 13:24-30). Throughout the age the “wheat” and the “tares,” by divine arrangement, have been permitted to grow side by side; but in the “harvest” the separation must occur, that the “wheat” may be “garnered,” received to the Kingdom.

The Apostle Paul, also, speaks of this time of fiery trial, and, likening the faith and works of a zealous Christian to a house built of gold, silver and precious stones, he declares that the fire of this day, in the end of this age, shall try every man’s work of what sort it is, and shall consume all but the genuine faith and character structures (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). But we are to remember that such loyal characters grow not suddenly, in a few hours or days—mushroom-like,—but are progressive developments, fine-grained and strong like the olive tree.

We who have become “new creatures” reckonedly, in Christ, know that we are to be tested (if our testing has not already commenced), and should realize that only as we practice self-denials in the little things of life, and mortify (deaden) the natural cravings of our flesh in respect to food, clothing, conduct, etc., will we become strong spiritually and be able to “overcome.”

Many deal slackly with themselves in respect to little violations of their consecration vow, saying,—“What’s the use” of such carefulness and so different a life from that of the world in general? Ah! there is great use in it, for victories in little things prepare for greater victories and make them possible: and on the contrary, surrender to the will of the flesh in the little things means sure defeat in the warfare as a whole. Let us remember the maxim laid down by our Great Teacher—that he that is faithful in the things that are least will be faithful also in the things which are great. And this is the operation of a law, whose operations may be discerned in all the affairs of life.

Our Lord expresses the same thought, saying,—To him that hath (used) shall be given (more), and from him that hath not (used) shall be taken away that which he hath. If we start on a Christian life ever so weak in the flesh and weak in spirit, we will find that faithfulness in the little things will bring increasing strength in the Lord and in the power of his might. But it is in vain that we pray, “Lord, Lord,” and hope for great victories and the “crown of rejoicing,” if we fail to do our best to conquer in the little affairs of daily life. In other words, our testing is in progress from the moment of our consecration, and the little trials are but preparations for greater ones which, when faithfully attained, we will be able to reckon with the Apostle as light afflictions which are but for a moment, and which are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

The answer of the Hebrews to Nebuchadnezzar,—“Our God whom we serve,” is worthy of note. They not only acknowledged God and worshiped him, but they additionally served him, according as they had opportunity. And so it will be found today: those who have the necessary strength of character to refuse to worship human institutions and thereby to “suffer the loss of all things,” counting them but as loss and dross, that they may win Christ and be found finally complete in him, as members of his glorified body, and joint-heirs in his Kingdom, not only practice self-denials, but gladly serve and confess the Lord in their daily life. Rightly appreciated, a profession of love for the Lord would always be a profession of service to his cause. Whoever is not rendering some service to our King in the present time of multiplied opportunities has at very most the “lukewarm” love that is offensive to the Master (Revelation 2:4; 3:16).

Let us resolve, dear brethren, as did the three Hebrews of this lesson, that we will worship and serve only the Lord our Godthat we will neither worship nor serve sectarianism, in any of its many forms, nor mammon, with its many enticements and rewards, nor fame, nor friends, nor self. 

God “seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth,” is the declaration of our Lord and Head (John 4:23,24).

Acknowledgement

Br. Charles Taze Russell – The above content is based on Reprint 2494-2497 – from The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Suggested Further Reading

Daniel The Beloved
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/bio_3.htm

Daniel and the Lions
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTMAY98.PDF

Daniel In Babylon
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/proph_31.htm

Trials
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB98.PDF

Time and Prophecy 
http://2043ad.com/timeandprophecy.pdf

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Mystery or Confusion
http://www.heraldmag.org/1999/99nd_3.htm

The Origin of the Trinity – From Paganism To Constantine
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm

Facts About the Trinity http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/FACTS%20ABOUT%20THE%20TRINITY.htm

God and the Trinities
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_42.htm

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/23/father-son-and-holy-spirit/

What Is the Heavenly Father’s Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Jesus – The Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

The Doctrine of Christ – Booklet
http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

Daniel the Beloved of Jehovah (paper back book) by R.E. Streeter –

Streeter-Daniel-Paperback_cropped_with_shadow-424x600

This book can be purchased through the Chicago Bible Students bookstore at the following link:

https://chicagobible.org/product/daniel-the-beloved-paperback/

 

book-of-daniel-activity-book-biblestudentsdaily-com

The Book of Daniel- Children’s Activity Book – free online here for use in proclaiming the glorious Gospel message:

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/02/05/the-book-of-daniel-childrens-activity-book/

 

 

 

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Only A Little While

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ONLY a little while to walk with weary feet,
Only a little while the storms of life to meet,
Only a little while to tread the thorny way,
Only a little while, then comes the perfect day.

Only a little while to spread the truth abroad,
Only a little while to testify for God.
Only a little while, the time is fleeting fast,
Only a little while, earth’s sorrows all are past.

Only a little while, then let us do our best,
Only a little while, then comes the promised rest.
Only a little while, oh, what a word is this!
Only a little while, then comes the perfect bliss.

Only a little while, then death shall be withdrawn,
Only a little while, then pain and tears are gone;
Only a little while, then by the Crystal Sea,
Only a little while, then Immortality.

Only a little while, Lord, let Thy Kingdom come!
Only a little while, Thy people sigh for home;
Only a little while, the City bring to sight,
Only a little while, come end earth’s dreary night! 

 From “Poems of Dawn”

This short while of striving to follow our Master and King Jesus is worth every moment in the “School of Christ.”

The Lord gives bread of adversity and the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20) as the greatest of “teachers” to humble and learn submission to and dependency upon God who is the source of perfect love, joy, comfort and strength. To become empathetic New Creatures, one must experience many challenges of life and sufferings in the flesh so as to develop patient cheerful endurance in Christ.

As we see our own daily imperfections in our struggle to please our Heavenly Father, it makes us long for the perfect new body and mind promised to the “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10).

Let the New Creatures in CHRIST be encouraged by the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13.

“I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

The Heavenly Father understands perfectly how hard each of His children try to please Him. This realization, that God reads the heart of all whom He has created, brings us great comfort.

The words of Psalm 103:13-18 (ESV) are so refreshing:

“13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

14 for He knows how we are formed, 
He remembers that we are dust.

15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;

16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him,
and His righteousness with their children’s children—

18 with those who keep His covenant
and remember to obey His precepts.”

Do you feel your “old man” (within) has been “crushed” like grapes to be added to the juice of the most exquisite and sweet barrel of grape juice?

In order to develop “the fruit of the spirit,” did the crushing process today, result in getting rid of the “I”, “me” and “my will”?

“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25).

Have you asked the Heavenly Father,

  • Father what is YOUR will for me to do now and today?
  • Father how can I please YOU more?
  • Most Holy Heavenly El Shaddai please show me, how can I bring YOU the greatest JOY and pleasure through my existence?
  • Please Father teach me YOUR ways and transform me into YOUR Son Jesus’ likeness for YOUR love brings a JOY that is based on the highest level of JOY that transcends all understanding.

Those who have chosen to put to death daily the “old carnal mind” and renew the “new mind in Christ” by feeding on the word of God and feasting on the precious promises, gain Godly strength as they focus on the Bible where the inspired words of God are found (Isaiah 40:31).

Those who wait upon the Lord develop a maturity in Christ. These are “no longer… children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in lovethey grow up in ALL aspects into Him who is the head…Christ” (Ephesians 4:13-15).

They are not idle with their time as their work in the Father’s service is their delight. It is all they want and need to do, to feel the JOY IN THE LORD that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

They do not conform to the patterns of this world because they are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” who shew forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9).

The waiting only for a little while more is aided by the hope in Christ which the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians discusses comes from the holy Spirit of understanding that comes from studying the Word of God in the Bible, prayer and obedience to God, developed as theory is put into practice through the experiences God permits, which can be overcome with the strength God does supply.

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).

“17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:17, 18).

The waiting is necessary for TIME is required to develop the fruit of character that comes from a KNOWLEDGE of GOD:

“For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

(Malachi 2:7)

Those who have made a full consecration to Christ during the Gospel Age, do endure patiently with joy in the Lord through their experiences, developing a steadfast and resilient character in Christ.

“57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

The consecrated believers learn that waiting upon the Lord in all things is a wonderful means by which to prove their loyalty to their consecration vows unto God. They have vowed to serve the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their strength until death, to be used solely for God’s glory to be manifest to all the world.

Living a life in closest communion with God means feeling the highest level of JOY while in this temporary carnal abode!

A wonderful example of loyalty in the Bible can be found in the Book of Samuel: in David, Jonathan and the armour bearer of Saul.

In 1 Samuel 22:14 David’s loyalty to Saul is reflected in the words of Ahimelech (the high priest of Nob in Saul’s day):

“Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?

Jonathan’s loyalty to David is also a righteous example of how the consecrated child to God learns to agape their fellow brethren in Christ who profess full consecration to God and this is a sign that “we have passed from death unto life,” because we agape the brethren.

Let’s be reminded of the words of our fellow brother in Christ, the apostle Paul, who in 1 John chapter 3 writes:

15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

*******

Psalm 37 (ESV)

He Will Not Forsake His Saints

A Psalm Of David.

1Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.

11 But the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
    and gnashes his teeth at him,

13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
    to bring down the poor and needy,
    to slay those whose way is upright;

15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
    and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is the little that the righteous has
    than the abundance of many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
    and their heritage will remain forever;

19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
    in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
    the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
    they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
    but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
    but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
    and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and DO good;
    so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the LORD LOVES JUSTICE;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land
    and dwell upon it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
    and his tongue speaks justice.

31 The law of his God is in his heart;
    his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watches for the righteous
    and seeks to put him to death.

33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
    or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
    spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
    though I sought him, he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
    for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    BECAUSE they take refuge in him.

*******

PSALM 27, 14 - 2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Relationship between Peace & Unity

Internal Peace, External Unity.jpg

Dear friends in Christ Jesus,

The intention of today’s blog is to cheer our readers onward in striving to maintain peace within one’s heart even in the face of the most unfavourable circumstances.

But why?

Because the comfort and peace of the Church are dependent largely upon unity of the Spirit of the Lord in the various members.

Let us begin by sharing some glorious scriptures to refresh our minds about the sublime PEACE we are talking about:

  • “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).
  • Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
  • “The kingdom of GOD is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
  • “Follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).
  • Live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
  • “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace(1 Corinthians 14:33).
  • “God has called us to peace(1 Corinthians 7:15).
  • “Lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2).
  • “The wisdom that is from above is first pure then peaceable(James 3:17).
  • “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
  • “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
  • “Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
  • Have peace one with another” (Mark 9:50).
  •  “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:18).
  • Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). 
  • Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body” (Colossians 3:15).
  • “Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace(Ephesians 4:3).
  • “Preach the gospel of peace(Romans 10:15).
  • “To be spiritually minded is life and peace(Romans 8:6).
  • Love the truth and peace (Zechariah 8:19).
  • Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).
  • “The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in abundance of peace(Psalm 37:11).
  • “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13, 14).

What have we done today to let this peace of God dwell within our hearts?

A possible answer might be — that we have just read the words from the Holy Bible.

YES dear friends!

Even if our flesh is overwhelmed by the storms of imperfection that surround us, we can enter into the shelter of the Most High (Psalm 91:1) when we quieten our minds from the turmoil and read, listen to, or recite, passages of holy Scripture.

We can renew our minds by submitting every thought and motive to be in conformity to the will of God, and fixing our eyes on Christ Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and recalling how Jesus pleased the Heavenly Father through his loyal and faithful obedient even unto death.

By keeping a firm hold on the precious promises of the holy Scriptures, we keep our hope in Christ burning within our hearts.

“If there be any consolation [comfort] in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same LOVE, being of one accord, of one mind.

—–Philippians 2:1-2—–

What exhortations to unity, peace, and brotherly kindness! They suggest patience, forbearance, gentleness, helpfulness, and comfort one to another in the Church. By this means, the Spirit of Christ may abound in all, for the greatest possible progress for all in the right way.

If only we can be worthy of the name Barnabas, “Comforter” of the brethren. If the holy Spirit abounds in us more and more (by our unceasing efforts as athletes in a race), then what pleasure we shall bring our Heavenly Father. With the holy Spirit dwelling in us richly, may we all be sons and daughters of comfort in Zion.

Togetherness in Christ

Many Scriptures speak of togetherness.

“There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith” (Ephesians 4:4,5).

“That your hearts might be comforted, knit together in love (Colossians 2:2).

We are all part of God’s flock. Sheep like to be together. Unlike other animals who will scatter, sheep will stay together. They are gregarious. This helps them because they lack many of the natural defences other animals have, such as speed or personal protection (like a porcupine). Safety comes from staying close together.

To flock means to be in company together, to be a group. It means togetherness as comrades, brethren, and associates where we learn to pass our tests of character development into Christ. Some differences of opinion in Biblical details may exist which each Son and Daughter of the Most High has the liberty in Christ to possess. This develops humility, patience, and respect for other dear co-labourers in the “vineyard” of our Heavenly Father.

In such fellowship circles, we develop reliance on God to fight the battles surrounding us that might arise when sharing scriptural understandings of Divine revelation concerning prophetic unfoldings of Truth.

How we praise the God of mercy—the Almighty Heavenly Father, Who reads the heart of each one whom He has called by His good pleasure, for their eternal JOY and His HONOR (Nehemiah 8:10).

“BORN OF GOD” – What does this mean?

Peace may be found in holy words of encouragement and Divine reassurance. Here is one example.

For everyone who has been BORN OF GOD overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith” (1 John 5:4).

The word born” in this scripture is the Greek word “Gennao” (Strong’s #G1080) which often means begotten.

When and how are we begotten?

The beginning of one’s spiritual existence dates from the time a person believes in Christ as the ransom for their sin and makes a full surrender, or consecration, of themselves to Jehovah God, and this is accepted by Him.

The New Creature mind developing in such an individual continues until their final existence as actual spiritual beings, when they shall be “like Him” Jesus. As in natural generation, begetting precedes  birth. Really there are three steps of development — begetting, quickening, and birth. So also with becoming “new creatures in Christ”—there are three corresponding steps.

(1) We are begotten through the Truth—the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:15, 1 John 5:18).

(2) In due time come a quickening into activity, zeal, and labor. This gives evidence to others that we have been begotten of the truth to newness of life, new hopes and aims. The spirit of Christ in us will “quicken [make active in God’s service] our mortal bodies” (Romans 8:11).

(3) When we are properly developed, we shall come forth in the resurrection, “born” into full spirit-power and become “like him,” who is the “express image of the Father’s person” (Hebrews 1:3).

Our King Jesus gives us so much encouragement. “My reward is with me and I will give to each person according to what they have done”(Revelation 22:12).

The reward of immortality is the reward of the class who will help Christ bring the world of mankind up the Highway of Holiness!

Finally the Body of Christ shall be united with their Bridegroom— their Lord and Master Christ Jesus—for whom they have give up all earthly interests, ambitions, and desires. For whom they have suffered and on occasion been humiliated for, sometimes enduring abuses by the world who considers such as “peculiar.” Perhaps some of such are called by the world as “brainwashed,” “a sect,” “crazy,” “unbalanced in thinking,” “going overboard” with spiritual talk, “obsessed about God” etc.

May the JOY of finally overcoming the scorn of the cross of Christ that we do carry until death, create exuberant rejoicing within our entire being.

Each time we bow our heads and bend our knees in prayer, may the peace of God rule in us as we hide under the shelter of the Heavenly Father’s “wings” of Divine supervision, protection and comfort.

“Let your GENTLENESS be known TO ALL MEN. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GOD. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, WILL guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7).

“Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another. Love as brethren” (1 Peter 3:8).

Does “being of one mind” mean we must all think alike on every detail of Scriptural understanding? 

No. How grand a blessing here in that it is our differences that help is develop the greatest lesson of all, AGAPE LOVE.

“Be of one mind. Live in peace. And the GOD of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

“Be of the same mind” (Philippians 4:2). Being of one mind does not mean we have to see exactly the same on every smallest detail of the Bible. This would be like saying we must wear the same shoes or agree to like the same flavours or the same colours.

Paul urges us to have no divisions amongst the brethren through a lack of tolerance, a lack of compassion… a lack of allowances given as we do have in the liberty in Christ one for another and we are not to show favouritism toward this one or that one based on human fleshly preferences, nor are we to idolize any man, other than CHrist Jesus.

We appreciate ALL OUR BRETHREN who profess their consecration daily before the throne of God in their private prayers, as we, pray for them (1 Corinthians 11:18,19).

Would the apostle approve of the butting of heads, divisions and unkind harsh arguments between the believers? No, he would not. So why does God allow this, one might ask?

The answer from the Divine Word of God is this: “so that they which are approved may be made manifest” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Amidst the butting, some will show they still have the Lord’s spirit. They will be approved by showing a gentle submission of non-rebellious spirit of always considering others higher and better than themselves— by striving to not force their opinions of Biblical interpretation on others in a demeaning way; learning the lessons of humility, forgiveness, compassion and long-suffering; learning to LOVE MORE THROUGH SUFFERING MORE.

Aggressiveness among us is permitted by the Lord to see who will properly react to the test, who will have the right heart attitude, who will grow and manifest the fruits of the spirit. We really know only in part and this is humbling also (1 Corinthians 13:9).

Through the knowledge we acquire by our striving to diligently study the scriptures, and through our prayers for wisdom and understanding which our Divine Father does give to those who seek it in HIS Perfect time, in the Perfect amounts as HE would best see we should possess, let the main goal of all this work be to develop the HIGHEST LEVEL of LOVE possible — AGAPE love. A definition of agape love is in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. To put agape love into practice is why we are NOW being tested in the most severest and most adverse conditions of all.

Let us ask ourselves: does seeking and maintaining righteous peace help me love my brother and sister in Christ more?

Or should we “turn over the tables” of righteous anger like Jesus could and did do if we think we see or hear injustice? Let us restrain from this. We cannot judge the heart like our Master Jesus could and did.

“Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of GOD” (Matthew 5:9).

None will be accounted worthy who shall not have developed peace-loving dispositions. Anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife and a generally quarrelsome disposition must be recognized as belonging to the works of the flesh and the devil. These must be resisted in the heart fully, and in outward conduct as fully as possible.

Peaceableness must supplant quarrelsomeness in all those who would hope to share the Kingdom and be recognized as children of GOD. ‘So far as lieth in you live peaceably with all men.’ This of course does not mean peace at any price, otherwise our Lord, the apostles and the faithful body of Christ throughout this age might not have suffered, or at least might have endured very much less suffering for righteousness’ sake. Hence, the significance of our Lord’s statement, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation; in me ye shall have peace’ (John 16:33).” (Reprints of the Original Watchtower, R2251.)

 

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