A Christian in a Non Christian World - Part 5
tells us “if you love me you will keep my commandments (John 14:15). Thus, every time we are obedient to whatever the Lord commands, we are telling Him we love Him. That also means that every time you are obedient, your are successful, regardless of the results. Obedience becomes our own reward. We need to learn to become our own reward system not be motivated by some external reward, result or response. Let’s say you share you faith in Christ with a friend or neighbor and they have no discernable response at all or perhaps even reject everything you told them about Christ. You are successful because you were obedient. It is not the response that determines our success, it is our obedience, and obedience becomes our reward. If it were any other way, you would be conditioned to think that “it depends on you” and when you think that way, you will get discouraged because you didn’t get the response that you wanted and you’ll stop. Satan has a field day with that line of thinking. That’s exactly what he wants us to think, that it does depend on us. He will deceive you into thinking that you didn’t do that very well, did you, because you aren’t successful, after all look at the responses you are getting – none. Satan has a entire arsenal of “WMD’s – weapons of mass deception and tragically many of them are false teachers in our churches who deceive people into thinking that every thing revolves around you and it depends upon you and your faith. How many times have you heard that it’s your faith.
Now let’s carry this to the next step. The Scripture says that “someone plants the seed, some one waters the seed and God produces the growth (1 Cor. 3:6). When you tell some one about Jesus, you don’t know which one you are, the seed planter, the water or the harvester of the growth that God provides. It’s not the response that is the issue it is your obedience to planting, watering or harvesting. Your obedience will have an unusual impact; it’s just that you don’t know what, when or how. It may be years later but obedience always has an unusual impact. It’s that way with any act of obedience.
A Christian in a Non-Christian World
Daniel 1 – Part 5
Introduction: Our most recent messages in this series have been exploring the consequences of living a life of being a “detectable disciple” as revealed in the life of Daniel. We have seen his unashamed boldness, the uncommon standard that characterized his life style; the unearthly protection afforded him by God, and the unequaled wisdom God gave him. There is one more implication of living a separated life that we can observe from young Daniel. Living a separated life produces an unusual impact.
We see the beginning of impact of Daniel’s life in the chapter 2 verse 48, Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. The word “wise men” is the ancient word “magi.” The Wise Men, or Magi (from the Greek root meaning ‘magic’), who appear in Matthew are said to be ‘from the East’ (Matt. 2:1), which could mean Arabia, Mesopotamia, or elsewhere. They are portrayed as astrologers, since they were guided by the star (Matt. 2:2). We see centuries before the appearance of the Wise Men at the birth of the Lord Jesus, Daniel being put in charge of these non-Jewish religious astrologers who, from astronomical observations, inferred the birth of a great Jewish king. After inquiring of Jewish authorities, they came to Bethlehem to do homage. The term magi is used in Herodotus (1. 101, 132) of a tribe of the Medes who had a priestly function in the Persian Empire to authenticate the birth of a king. In essence, they were “Persian King Makers.” One could not be crowned king unless these Magi validated one’s royal lineage.
The Magi were a group of ancient and long lived tribe of people skilled in the science of astronomy and the superstition of astrology. They had a major influence in 4 major empires of the world – the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. Herodotus describes them as “a hereditary priestly tribe who had tremendous political power in all 4 empires. Because of knowledge of stars etc, they were advisors to royalty in the East and thus acquired the name “wise men” because they consulted with Kings.” We read about the Magi in Daniel because this priestly tribe was dwelling around Babylon when Daniel was taken captive. In Daniel 2:10, 27, and 4:7, the word should be translated “magi”: not “magician.” Magi can’t be translated in our language. In Daniel 5:11, Daniel interprets the dream and is made “Master of the Magi.” Daniel, a Jew, became chief over the whole priestly group. . In Daniel 6, he is thrown into the lion’s den because of a plot by the Satraps (Regional Governors) based upon jealousy and hatred. In the 6th century B.C., the Magi became very powerful and at the same time began to drift from their ancient Magian rites of worship. A person could not become king unless he mastered the religious disciplines and was approved of and crowned by the Magi. Their wisdom became known as the “Law of the Medes and Persians.” Their influence spread to Persia from Babylon and in Persia their code was required before one could be called “monarch.” They also controlled the Royal Bench of Judges. They literally controlled the Orient politically and judicially. They were known as “the King makers.” And thus they were very, very powerful. These “Persian King Makers” came to Jerusalem asking questions (Matt 2:.2). No wonder then that Herod was afraid (v.3). Politically, the Roman Empire was scared of the Eastern Empire known as the Parthian Empire, made up of the Medes & Persians and Babylonians – Iran and Iraq of today. All of a sudden, these Oriental “King Makers” came to Jerusalem asking “where is The King of the Jews?” Herod panicked – that’s the word we see in the text as “disturbed.” The reason was because his army was away from Jerusalem fighting rebels in the mountain region. These Magi traveled in full force wearing conical hats and long, flowing robes and were accompanied by 1000 mounted Persian cavalry to insure their safe penetration into Roman territory. It was a whole army, not 3 camels that came into Jerusalem. No wonder Herod was disturbed, agitated, and shaken; plus his army was out of town on maneuvers. This massive Persian army comes to town looking for a new king – that was their job – they were king makers.
When Daniel was put in charge of the education of this line of royal magician/king makers, what do you think he taught them? Daniel didn’t compromise in front of the King; he wouldn’t compromise in front of these Magi. No doubt he instructed them of the coming Messiah, One sent from God to redeem the world. Centuries later, we see the descendants of the Magi of Daniel’s age appearing at the birth of King Jesus. Apparently, Daniel’s instructions of the birth of a King were passed on from generation to generation of Magi until, in God’s sovereignty, a group of God-seeking Persian King Makers, having learned of the birth of the One sent by God, followed the star to the location to authenticate the child’s royal lineage and recognize Him as King.
My dear friends do not think that there will not be an impact as a result of your obedience. Obedience changes things. Granted, you and I may not see the impact, but God, in His providence, will use it for His glory according to His impeccable timing, just as He did with young Daniel. One’s obedience to God is the most infallible evidence of one’s love for God. Oswald Chambers stated, “the best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies but its obedience,” and Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Faith and obedience are bound up in the same bundle. He that obeys God trusts God; and He that trusts God, obeys God.”
Let’s consider the unusual impact we may have in our lives, following the example of Daniel and his obedience. The command to the church by our Lord is “to go into the world and preach the gospel to all creatures.”(Mark 16:15). That means, then, that evangelism is an act of obedience, not some program that we have the option to participating in or deciding that we will get involved in or not get involved. It’s an order not an option. Because it is a command it is a way of life. Jesus also
That’s what we learn fro young Daniel and the recognition of Jesus as King at His birth. Daniel was successful when he obeyed; the results just happened to come some 600 years later. Tell USNA football player example.
Conclusion: In reality, the best doers of the Word are the best hearers of the Word. That’s what we see in the life of this teenage boy, Daniel. Daniel had the eye of knowledge of God’s Word, which served to direct the foot of his obedience. An uncompromising spirit, an unhindered sanctification, resulting in an unashamed boldness, an unearthly protection, an uncommon standard, an unequaled wisdom, and an unusual impact, characterized Daniel’s separated life. Oh, to be like Daniel.