Unconditional Devotion; March 16, 2018

Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

The story of Daniel and the lions’ den is justly famous, and familiar to everyone who went to Sunday School as a child. Even so, most people have essentially forgotten it, and especially the example Daniel set for all who claim to follow the God of the Bible. Daniel was without question diplomatic, able to navigate difficult situations through well-chosen words, but that didn’t mean he compromised his values. He literally valued devotion to God above his own life, as he demonstrated here. Though God miraculously preserved his life, he here demonstrated the heart of a true martyr. At the time he didn’t know what God would do, but devotion to God was still his first priority. We tend to be conditional in our obedience, trying to bargain with God to get what we want from Him, but Daniel wasn’t that way at all. We would see far more miracles if we followed his example, but following God to try to get a miracle isn’t what he did at all. I have seen people turn away from God when things didn’t turn out the way they wanted them to, in the process ignoring the fact that they turned out better than they had reason to expect them to. Conditional obedience and devotion aren’t real, and they aren’t what God desires.

I have certainly been tested in this area. Many things in my life haven’t turned out as I desired or planned, but God has been incredibly gracious through it all. At one point I was lying in bed, not consciously praying but just thinking about things, and I thought, “There are so many things I wish were different.” Suddenly, as clearly as if I heard it with my physical ears, I heard God say, “How do you think I feel?” I knew in that instant that God isn’t happy with what mankind has done with the gift of free will, but His “final answer” is going to straighten it all out. As has been said about the Book of Revelation, “I read the back of the book, and we win!” Bumps in the road along the way can seem catastrophic at the time, but they re ultimately no more than bumps in the road. I have experienced this reality many times, but I still get tied in knots over things that are going on. I need to walk out the truth God has already spoken to my heart through His Word, and so walk in His peace for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder, particularly on top of the encouragement You gave me through the coaching session yesterday. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, accepting each thing You allow into my life with gratitude and praise, whatever it looks like to my flesh, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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