Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--From the Old Testament

Collect of the Week (Proper 14-C)
Almighty and merciful God, it is by Your grace that we live as Your people who offer acceptable service. Grant that we may walk by faith, and not by sight, in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Daniel 6:6-13, 16-23 (From Tuesday’s Bible Stories for the Famiyl)
6 Then these presidents and satraps came by agreement1 to the king and said to him, "O King Darius, live forever!  7 All the presidents 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.  8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked."  9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.
10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.  11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.  12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, "O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered and said, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked."  13 Then they answered and said before the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." 
16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared1 to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!"  17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.  18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions.  20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?"  21 Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever!  22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm."  23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Catechism: The First & Second Commandments
What is the First Commandment?
            You shall have no other gods.
What does this mean?
            We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

What is the Second Commandment?
            You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
What does this mean?
            We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

In the name of T Jesus.

Faith fears, loves, and trusts in God above all things.  The threat of physical harm, even physical death, does not compare to the fear of God’s eternal wrath.  The love of earthly blessings is nothing compared to the love of those holy blessings which flow from the Father’s inexhaustible treasures.  The trust we place in the preserving institutions of this world—governments, doctors, banks, jobs, etc.—is nothing compared to the trust we have in the LORD and His promises.  Faith fears, loves, and trusts in God above all things.

So it was for Daniel; so it is for you.

Daniel has faith in the LORD, he trusts in the LORD above all things, and so he calls on the name of the LORD.  Even when King Darius was tricked to establish an injunction forbidding the consistent and faithful prayers to anyone but himself (can you imagine?!), Daniel’s faith could not be denied.  His trust was in the LORD, and so his daily prayers continued to be offered to the LORD. 

There are many powers today that would seek to snuff out the prayers of the LORD’s faithful people.  Of course the Devil, the World, and our Flesh are the enemies of faith.  The Devil would seek to cast doubt in our minds so that we might wonder whether or not the LORD hears and/or answers our prayers.  The Devil seeks to make us ask, “What’s the point.”  And the brokenness of this world places evil and tragedy and heartbreak before our eyes to make us question the LORD’s will and/or His faithfulness.  And our own flesh has a natural inclination to doubt, and be skeptical, or to seek life somewhere other than from the LORD himself.

But faith calls upon the LORD in every trouble.  Faith prays, it praises, and it gives thanks even when the Devil, the world, and our sinful flesh are giving evidence to the contrary.  Because faith trusts, above all else, that the LORD is faithful to His promises.  Daniel knew that a lion could not take his life.  Whether he lived or died, his life was the LORD’s.  By faith, he simply trusted in the promises of the LORD.  The result was that Darius issued a new decree ordering all people in the his kingdom to fear the one true God.

Of course, the faith that trusts these promises of the LORD is the faith that has its foundation in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  His resurrection from the grave is the certainty of our own resurrection.  So that, no matter what might tempt us to forsake the LORD, and/or to fear, love, and trust in other false-gods, we know that Christ is risen.  “Scowl fierce as our enemies will, they can harm us none.  And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife, though these all be gone, our vict’ry has been won; the Kingdom ours remaineth” (LSB, 656).

By faith, we will have no other Gods; and by faith, in every trouble, we will call on the name of the LORD.  In the name of T Jesus.


All praise to You, O Christ, for conquering Satan and rescuing me, (like Daniel), from his deadly threats. Amen (TLSB, p. 1409).

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