Devotional Week 24, 2020 Fridday
Week 24 Friday
June 12, 2020
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth like calves released from the stall and leap for joy.”
Malachi 4: 2
A Morning Prayer
“Like this clear sunshine, let Thy love
Shine down on me today!
Shelter my soul, Thou brooding Dove,
Like these warm skies, I pray.
There is no brightness on the earth,
No glory in the sky,
No peace in rest, no joy in mirth,
Except when Thou art nigh.
Then, Lord, all day be near my soul,
And look me through and through,
‘Till every wish owns Thy control,
And every thought is true.
Thou art in all that Thou hast made,
Oh, let me see Thee there;
Dear Lord, be Thou my Sun, my Shade,
My Saviour, everywhere!”
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”
Daniel 6: 4
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 20
“A Faultless Foe”
“We do too much watching of our neighbor’s garden, too little weeding in our own.”
William George Jordan
Have I ever found myself looking at others in a way that makes me desirous of uncovering their faults?
“God bless the one who does away with the pointing of the finger.”
R. T. Kendall
“He is lifeless that is faultless.”
On many occasions I’ve used our daily devotionals to point out how current the Bible is concerning our daily lives. While the Bible wasn’t written in a few days, but rather over a rather lengthy period of time, no matter the chapter or verse, whenever I open God’s Word to study, inevitably I uncover some gem of truth. Something that assists me in my daily walk with Jesus.
And guess what? Today is no different than in times past when I’ve told you that by digging deeper, God’s Word will provide us with living advice for the 21st century.
Right at the beginning of Daniel 6, we find Daniel barely had time to get his name on the door of his office and order up Persian business cards with his new title than difficulty struck.
We must remember, by Daniel 6, our hero for God was not deemed a young man. Scholars put his age somewhere between 90-95 years old at this point in time. I would have thought God might have given His faithful servant a sabbatical or time off for going beyond the call of duty in his service for God. That did not happen for Daniel as well as many of God’s other “mature” followers, were found in active duty for God until the day they died! In the case of Moses, 2/3rds of his life was over when God assigned him the service of a lifetime – getting the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land of Canaan. A trip, I might add, that should have taken months and ended up taking 40 years. The point I want to make is that God’s job applications don’t come with a line that asks “your current age.” In fact, age isn’t a factor at all with God. No one is ever too young or ever too old.
In Daniel’s case, the experience he gained through the years, working side-by-side with the mightiest rulers in the world and at the same time, as he kept the compass of his life pointed heavenward, only made it possible to God’s servant to be what I’d like to refer to as “the perfect man for job” in Persia. King Darius took note. He couldn’t help but see that Daniel was somebody special. Here’s how Daniel 6: 3 reports the situation: “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
I really don’t want to say that King Darius’ elevated opinion of Daniel was disastrous. Daniel deserved the respect of King Darius and his co-workers as well. But unfortunately, on this earth where dog-eat-dog behavior along with name calling and falsehoods are the apparent way to get ahead, Daniel shares with us the fact that his faithfulness to the ultimate Ruler of his life, our Almighty God, only served to get him in hot water – and very quickly.
This is why I entitled today’s devotional, “A Faultless Foe.” Daniel’s co-workers hadn’t ever met someone as perfect as this man of God. The daily reality was that they couldn’t find one thing wrong with Daniel. And if you happened to use tearing others down as your way to climb the so-called ladder of success, an individual like Daniel would undoubtedly be someone who would have to end up being torn apart by jealousy combined with lies.
I’ve often thought about this story in the Bible and wondered to myself, “What if Daniel’s envious co-workers had spent as much time doing their jobs well as they did trying to find some tiny fault in Daniel, wouldn’t they have very likely found their time used much more wisely?” It takes time to hunt for faults in others. It takes energy to try and pick apart another person, especially when they are as faultless as Daniel was. I’ll even go one step farther. Just having to concoct some scheme in order to make the subject of your fault-finding venture look bad, can drain you emotionally, physically and spiritually.
I can understand that the Persian officials in King Darius’ government may have been miffed by a complete outsider coming in, arriving on the scene of action, and met only by glowing reports of success. But as we will find revealed in God’s Word over the coming days, the behavior of these faultfinding rulers was noted by the King of the Universe. And for all of you who have found yourself maligned without reason or criticized because you are “just too perfect,” don’t forget that God honors His children in ways that are both seen and unseen.
My niece Bethanie, (she gave Effie – that’s me - permission to share this experience with you!) was up for a promotion where she works. In the end there were two finalists. Bethanie on paper and actual work experience as well as long-term potential to the company, appeared in every way to be the best candidate for the new job. But as sometimes happens, the other finalist had connections to the individual making the final choice and so this time, Bethanie was passed over.
There was some sadness because Bethanie really needed the raise that came with the new job. However, excuse me while I brag as a proud aunt, Bethanie’s attitude has been to work even harder. Her work shines as it did before. Even the person who made the choice told her that he couldn’t find anything wrong with her work. And so Bethanie has kept her hand on the plow, and her shoulder to the wheel as the old saying goes. And then I’ve added my own line, she’s kept her compass fixed on her ultimate “Life-Guide.”
In a world where fairness often takes a back-seat to acts of injustice and where honorable behavior is crowded out by dishonesty, may we be reminded by the words of Joan Puls that, “The disturbance that repentance evokes in our personal and collective psyches is so jarring that we tend to exhaust every other available dynamic before we succumb to the admission of our wrong-doing.” Thus “often nothing requires more courage than admitting our faults.” No wonder our Lord’s Prayer states: “Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven and let go of the debts and resentments against our debtors” (Matthew 6: 23, Amplified Bible). In the beautiful words of poet Rita Snowden:
“We have not fully learned how to make peace;
We have taken advantage of each other continually;
We have judged each other without true knowledge;
We have set up barriers of pride in possessions;
We have divided people by their skin colour;
We have even shown religious superiority.
Forgive us, merciful God, Father of our bodies, minds and spirits –
let us commit our whole personalities to You.”
“Do not be discouraged at your faults, bear with yourself in correcting them, as you would with your neighbor. Lay aside this ardor of mind, which exhausts your body, and leads you to commit errors. Accustom yourself gradually to carry prayer into all your daily occupations. Speak, move, work, in peace, as if you were in prayer, as indeed you ought to be.”
“Come, let us to the Lord our God
With contrite hearts return,
Our God is gracious, nor will leave
the desolate to mourn.”
Why is it so difficult
To make peace with each other?
No wonder there are wars.
Is it pride that holds my mouth tight shut,
A childish feeling
that I am not the one who should apologize?
It wasn’t my fault?
In these flare-ups
What does it matter whose fault it is?
The only thing that matters is love and harmony.
Lord, turning my back in anger is weakness,
It reduces me as a human being.
Give me the courage,
To say, ‘I’m sorry!’”
“Forgive us, O Christ, for all our wanderings,
Forgive us for not listening to Your voice
calling us into right ways.
Forgive us for our complaining and our
worrying that have made us lose our trust in You.
Forgive us for anger and selfishness and for greed,
For all these we are sorry and pray that
they may be taken from us.”
A. Murray Smith
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
The Women Who Met Jesus
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