Tuesday, June 07, 2011

June 7, 2011 … Integrity Conquers Fear

Passage of the Day: Daniel 1: 10 - 14 … 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you." 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

My Journal for Today: John MacArthur in his Strength for Today devotional for this date uses this episode in Daniel’s continuing saga of intervention with the Babylonian officials to illustrate how boldness to act for God is one of the most important elements of Christian spiritual integrity. Today’s text shows us Daniel’s boldness to act as juxtaposed with the fear of Ashpenaz, the Babylonian official who was responsible for the fate of the Hebrew youths under Daniel’s charge.

Here was Daniel being put to the test; and, who, in faith under pressure, came up with a daring plan to give Ashpenaz a way to “save face,” still allowing Daniel and his friends to maintain their dietary laws. Daniel tapped into God’s wisdom (see a NT charge in James 1: 5 - 6); and then assertively, yet in meekness, stood in the gap for his faith, trusting that God was going to deliver His people – somehow. And in today’s passage we read that Daniel was blessed and rewarded by God with the listening favor of Ashpenaz.

This is a great example of the principle I wrote about yesterday, “First obedience, then the blessing!” Daniel, boldly – by wisely – believed that God would protect those who carry our The Lord’s will; and he set about – with humility/meekness – exercise his face, giving the Babylonian, Ashpenaz, a trial case to see if Daniel’s plan would work for the boy AND the king as well. No one says that boldness should shut down our intelligence. We should always strive to boldly witness our faith … BUT … to do so in ways that don’t attack the sensibilities of those around us if at all possible.

The Apostles Paul (see Phil. 1: 20) and John (see 1st John 3: 21 - 22) were great examples of New Testament integrity and boldness. I always love, when I’m fearful, to recall the bold declaration of Romans 8: 31, which, if truly believe, Christians should be willing to stand for Christ with boldness anytime … anyplace … and, like Daniel, under any circumstances.

SCRIPTURE: Romans 8: 31If God is for us, who can be against us?

However, I must admit that all too often, in my past days as a Christian, I have retreated in fear when given the opportunity to witness Christ to family or friends, especially those whom I know or suspect are lost. I’m getting stronger and bolder in my later years; however, prayerfully, I will become more like a Daniel one day. Though, in truth Daniel, in today’s highlighted verse, puts me to shame being so bold and yet only a “boy” in my comparative mind.

My Prayer Today: Lord, may I be bold today as a warrior like Daniel in Your Name. Amen

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