My Journal for Today: My wife and I had a Christian friend, named Loretta [who is now with the Lord]. We often heard Loretta say, “First obedience, then God’s blessing.” I call her truth statement, “1st Loretta 1: 1” somewhat jokingly; but in reality her statement, which is dead-on truth, is certainly illustrated in what happened to Daniel in today’s passage. First, there was Daniel’s obedience to God’s will and law, i.e., His spiritual integrity, and then we read in today’s highlight passage of God’s provision of blessing in response to Daniel’s obedience.
Daniel stood on God’s word at the risk of his life; and he meekly (but in no means, weakly) appealed to Ashpenaz, the eunuch Babylonian commander; and God saw to it that the heart of this leader from Nebuchadnezzar’s court was softened enough to listen and comply to Daniel’s proposals and requests (read ahead in Daniel 1, verses 10 – 14).
Often in scripture we read of the favor of God being visited upon obedient believers, such as Noah (see Gen. 6: 8) or Joseph (Gen. 39 – 41) or Moses (Exod. 11: 3). And in the New Testament, Peter strongly wrote of this principle in 1st Peter 2: 19 – 20 …
SCRIPTURE: 1st Peter 2: 19 - 20 ... For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
As John MacArthur succinctly writes his version of 1st Loretta 1: 1, “God’s favor is the rich reward of obedience.” And we should also remember that disobedience to God’s word and His commands leads to the opposite of God’s favor. In the story of Samson in the book of Judges or in Paul’s writings in the New Testament, Romans 1, we read that God’s wrath against disobedience can ultimately release the sinner, or even a nation, to his own reprobate mind and choices, allowing him to become captive to the world and Satan’s devices. However, there are many stories in God’s word (for example about Job, of the Prodigal, or the parable of the Good Shepherd seeking out the lost sheep) where God’s patience and mercy are exhibited when the protagonist of God’s story is obedient to his Lord. But just how long can we expect God to be patient when we, individually or as a nation, choose to reject God’s way and turn to our own selfish and sinful desires? I often read the news of the day and wince, praying, “Oh, Lord, have mercy on this land, growing ever darker in disobedience.”
It’s all right there in God’s book … that He compassionately gives His favor (i.e., His grace) to His obedient children. And we have example after example, … true, biblical references of Godly integrity, … of those who benefited from God’s blessing following their obedience to His word and His will and His way. But when are we going to “get it?!” And when are we going to “do it?!” Because seeing what God sees going on in this country, with the rampant disobedience of His truth, even to the point of mockery of His word, how long can we expect God to hold back a spiritual tsunami from occurring; and as they say, “The rain falls on the righteous as well as the unrighteous.”
My Prayer Today: I get it, Lord; but help me to do it today! And I pray for your mercy to extend to those who actually are obedient to Your will and Your ways. Amen