Serving Jesus on His Terms, Part 2of5, Pastor Phil Sessa

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”

We live in a world that tells us to serve the society that we live in. It’s been said that the world is discipling the church rather than the church going into all the world and making disciples.

In the book of Daniel, we are introduced to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah which are Hebrew young men exiled into idolatrous nation of Babylon which served false gods. These four Hebrew boys would have to find a way to serve God in a culture, among a people that did not normally serve Him.

Daniel 1 informs us that these four were “Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” Daniel’s heart was set on serving God. It is interesting that Daniel equated himself as a servant of the king as long as it did not clash with His servant hood of God. “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”, (1:8). Daniel chose to serve His God even when it was not comfortable him, because it was not about the servant, but about the One in whom Daniel served. Serving God led Daniel to the lion’s den, and led Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to the fiery furnace. Many seem to feel that when one serves God, life will be smooth because God is pleased not the case of these men.

Among Daniel and his friends, the king would soon recognize the resolve of God’s servants as they serve Him faithfully, despite the consequences, even in the face of death. When a decree was made by the king, and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah refused to worship the statue of the king, they “16 answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar,we have no need to answer you in this matter.17 If that is the case, ourGod whom we serve is able todeliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliverus from your hand, O king. 18 Butif not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will weworship the gold image which you have set up.” Wow, what a resolve! They are ultimately thrown into the furnace and, “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.” When serving the Lord we learn from their lives the following:

First God is able to bring deliverance in our most seemingly horrific of circumstances. Secondly, we must believe God, for it is in Him that we must put our trust. We may have no idea how God could deliver us from what looks like doom from our perspective, but we must not forget we serve an all-powerful God! Thirdly, we must speak to the ungodly about the deliverance of God, and our resolve in Him. We are to proclaim that no matter what, we will not bow down to cultural expectations that violate the Word of God, even when our stance will be seen by the majority as an unpopular decision. We don’t serve God to be popular with man, but to be obedient to our Lord! Fourthly, we must stay together through the trials; we really do need one another. The Hebrew boys faced the trial together, and through it together. What a great story they lived, that we now read about. Who knows our stories, read our stories, and watch our stories? Fifthly, will the ungodly recognize that we are servants of the Lord by the stands that we take in various circumstances? Will we truly refuse ungodly rules that violate God’s Word, despite the consequence! It’s easy to serve God until you are challenged by law, pressure, etc…, to violate your professed service to God. Your faith must stand trial, and when it does, whose servant will you look like, as there are only two choices. Meditate on these things, and examine if you are a servant of the Most High God.
Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Phil (Evangelist)

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