For the last two weeks, my pastor has been preaching out of the book of Daniel. I think this may be a typical book to hang out in when churches are fasting corporately. I started my fast by reading or listening to my Bible as much as possible and asking God to feed me when I was hungry. Throughout the last seven days, I have been fixated on the first few words of Daniel 1:8.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
Daniel 1:8 KJV
I can’t quit thinking about those first six words: “But Daniel purposed in his heart”. Daniel was intentional about not defiling himself. Daniel sought to honor His God. At the end of 10 days, he was found ten times better than all the king's men.
Later, in Daniel chapter 6, Daniel again “purposed his heart” to pray to his God, even though an ordinance had been enforced for 30 days to petition no god or man other than the king. I had never paid much attention to the temporary length of the ordinance (30 days):
“All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.”
This detail of a specific time challenged my resolve. I wondered if I would have been rational and said, “I can get through 30 days without prayer ...then it will be back to normal.” The threat of the lion's den might have been too great for me, especially since it was “only” 30 days... I wouldn’t be renouncing God, only following the law of the land for a short period.
Daniel was thrown into the lion's den for praying, but look at verse 22:
“My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”
Daniel 6:22 NLT
Wow, the bible is a living WORD, it is life to my Spirit; yet, I have at times, read it as a book of information to gain knowledge about God without really purposing my heart to live by FAITH.
The Holy Spirit has quickened my heart in the last week, inspiring me to believe my faith will not fail! I must be motivated by love with a longing to give God glory. I desire to purpose my heart to honor my God at all cost. We will always have decisions before us, but if we “purpose our hearts” each day, we will be prepared for the days of trouble and God will get glory through our faith!
Spend some time meditating on faith this week. Read through chapters 1 and 6 of Daniel.