Posts filed under ‘Judaism’
We cannot stop what is coming. Most importantly, we are not called to attempt to stop it. Our calling is to be involved in the Great Commission (Matthew 28). I honestly believe as the time continues to draw near for these events to occur, people will become more afraid. They will be searching for answers. The last thing they need is for so-called Christians to tell them that as “patriots,” we must fight for our rights and stand against the government. That’s absurd. What people will need is what they’ve always needed. To hear the gospel of Jesus, the gospel that has the power to save them not only from what is coming in this temporal plane, but also to save them in the eternal realm.
Note that God chose to reveal the mystery of the king’s dreams to Daniel during the night. The revelation came as a direct response to the prayers of these godly men and as Constable points out, James says as much in James 4:2-4. There, James points out the problems associated with not received answers to our prayers. The exact opposite is seen in Daniel and his four friends. We could easily follow this up with James 5:16, which states, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
I’m willing to bet that even as Paul set off for Damascus where he chased down Christian after Christian (these were Jews who had converted, not Gentile Christians) in anger (Acts 8:3), God was busy using Paul’s recollections of Stephen’s death and the forgiveness he had evidenced for his murderers to thoroughly soften Paul’s heart. It worked. Though he may have begun in a form of righteous anger immediately after the death of Stephen, God would not let Paul off the hook, so He continued to bring that scene to his mind repeatedly. I imagine Paul’s recollection of that event and his trying to convince himself that Stephen “deserved” it was part of what gave Paul his anger toward Jewish Christians. But God used that for other purposes and God won the day.
Jeremiah had been warning about the eventual fall of Jerusalem, precipitated by Nebuchadnezzar, but it did finally arrive. The day came and it came with a vengeance. Can you imagine living inside a city where you know there is an army outside, building ramps and things in order to be able to get into your city? Let’s remember what God had said to King Zedekiah. He said that if Zedekiah went out to the officers (to surrender), all would be well. Oh, he would be taken captive, but he would survive along with his entire household. Moreover, Jerusalem would not be trashed and burnt to the ground.
Zedekiah was afraid of other men, just like Pontius Pilate was also afraid of men and instead of doing what was right where Jeremiah was concerned, he said he couldn’t go against the nobles and so Jeremiah was imprisoned. Because of that fear, Zedekiah is unable to stand with God, on God’s side. We like to talk about whether or not God is on our side and as Christians, yes, He is, but it is just as important that we stand with God on His side against all forms of evil. We can never be afraid to choose what is right, what we know God wants us to do or say. He empowers us, after all. But Zedekiah feared men too much. While drawn to Jeremiah and his message, indicating he wanted to do what was right, in the end, he failed to do what was right and paid the price for his disobedience.
Notice in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus opens with “Our Father,” and then does not state any reference to Him again except for the use of the word “your.” He didn’t feel the need to insert the Father’s name or reference at the beginning or end of each statement. In fact, we know that God sees the depth of our own thoughts even though we may not actually know how to pray, (cf. Job 31:4; Jeremiah 23:24; Romans 8:26). God knows us! We need to drop the pretense, adopt reverence, and approach Him with awe and praise, understanding who He is, at least as He has chosen to reveal Himself to us in His Word.
We need to also remember that God chose to respond to Daniel’s prayers (and those of his friends) because of His (God’s) highest purposes. Daniel and his friends made themselves available to God and God chose to use them for His glory. In the process, these young men grew in wisdom and discernment before the Lord. Daniel himself was given the gift of interpreting dreams. These benefits came from God and were to be used to bring great glory to Him. These gifts were not to be used for selfish gain, but to highlight God’s purposes.