Friday, June 19, 2009

Setting yourself up

The old man had been a slave in a foreign land his entire life. Today, as he was spending his customary time with God, he had come to understand that his people’s captivity was about to come to an end.

He must have felt delight to know that bondage was about to end for his people. But he also felt an overwhelming sense of shame. He and his people ought to have known this was coming. They should have prepared. The Law told them what to do.

Have you been looking for clues to God’s will for your life? What the prophet Daniel did in Daniel 9 forms a great model for us all in seeking God’s will:

  • First, he was consistently reading the Bible. That’s a way of hearing from God regularly, knowing Him and putting His plan first.

  • Second, this had prepared him to know what to do in a specific situation. He found out (by reading Jeremiah 25:11) that the captivity would be seventy years long. But from Leviticus 26:32-45 he knew that meant he could be the one to intercede for Israel.

  • Experience applying God’s wisdom to his life had given him humility. He had achieved great status even among his captors. (Daniel 2:48) In his own lifetime, God ranked Daniel with earlier Bible heroes like Noah and Job. (Ezekiel 14:14) But on behalf of his people, Daniel formally accepted God’s punishment. He humbled himself, and confessed his own sins and theirs. This prepared the way for what God intended to do.

Are you preparing yourself for hearing from God? If you’re open to listening, you may find He uses various ways to influence you about a decision or opportunity:

  • Circumstances

  • Counsel, from Christian friends, ministry leaders or spouses

  • Prayer

  • Personal experience

As more of these indicators begin to line up in agreement with what you know of the Bible, you may be more sure that you are hearing from God. Will you then have the courage to make the adjustments necessary? Your desire to “find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10) and do it when it seems like it will cost you something may determine the answer to that question! Daniel’s devotional life prepared him to know and strategically perform God’s will. Yours may one day do the same for you.

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