Rely on God 5

Daniel 6:20-22

One of the best examples of relying on God comes from the Book of Daniel. In the sixth chapter there is the story of how advisors to the Babylonian king Darius planned the undoing of Daniel. He was, after all, a foreigner, brought into Babylon from Judah. But they could find no fault or flaw in him. He was devoutly religious and an upstanding servant to the king.

So these advisors used Daniel’s religion as a trap. They convinced Darius to make a law that everyone must pray to him and no other god for thirty days (Daniel 6:6-9). Those who did not obey were to be thrown to the lions.

Of course, Daniel was a devout Jew who worshiped the one true God of Israel, so he did not bow down to worship Darius. Now, caught in his own snare, Darius had no choice but to punish this servant he liked so well (Daniel 6:14-16).

What is the king’s concern and question the following day? What did Daniel answer?

It is apparent that the king recognized, or at least hoped in, the power of Daniel’s god. He asked if the one true god had indeed saved him from the lions, and in fact God had done just that.

Daniel was in a difficult situation to say the least. He was sealed up in a den full of hungry lions, but God sent an angel to keep the lions from killing Daniel. Daniel knew in his heart that he could rely on God for his protection. He knew he could trust God to save him.

But he also pointed out that he was innocent. He was a blameless victim of circumstances, and we can assume it was his innocence that was at least partly responsible for his salvation.

Few of us, if any, are as blameless and devout as Daniel, but we can still learn from his situation. He trusted God completely and his intentions were to always serve God. If we can pass through the trials of life, and the challenges and temptations of the world with a spirit devoted to God, then we can rely on God for assistance and protection with the utmost of confidence.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you rely on God as you face the lions of life?

Rely on God 4

James 1:5-6

I have heard so many prayers begin with, “God, if you are there . . .” or “God, if you are listening . . .” One of my first thoughts when I hear this type of approach is to have little confidence that these prayers will be answered. I suppose the person praying is being humble in some way, but it leads me to think that the person has no faith, no firm belief in God.

James gives us a quick and simple lesson on how to approach God. What should we do when we want wisdom? Why will God give us this? What should be our attitude?

Now the words of James are that God will give us wisdom if we ask, but I believe this same concept applies to anything we might pray for as long as it is meant to glorify God and serve His kingdom. If we need wisdom we can ask for it. God is generous and loving and He wants what is best for us, so He will grant us that wisdom.

But I think the same will be true when we ask for strength, guidance, a more merciful heart, or more ability to do good things. God is loving and generous and wants what is best for us. If we pray with the intention of being a humble servant of God I believe God will grant our requests.

We need to have faith in this. We need to be confident when we pray. We need to be bold in our requests and ask God for the things we need to be good servants of His kingdom.

This is part of relying on God. We must know that we can rely on God to supply us with what we need especially when it is meant for His glory.

And when we pray we must have strong faith. We should not doubt. When we doubt we find ourselves tossing back and forth between belief and disbelief, between confidence and fear. We need to be strong and steady in our faith, relying on God with firm confidence.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you have confidence in your prayers?

Rely on God 3

Proverbs 16:3

I caught a minute or two of a basketball game the other day, and I thought about the small square that is painted on the backboard above the hoop. The concept is that if you shoot the basketball and hit inside the square on the backboard the ball will almost always go through the hoop for a score. The square acts as a guide for success.

In Proverbs we have our own guide for success. What are we to do?

Such advice may seem too good to be true, and in some sense it is. I do not believe that if you pray to God before you buy a lottery ticket you are guaranteed a win. I do not believe that if you organize an event or ministry intended to help the kingdom of God you are guaranteed no problems.

Using the Lord for personal gain is no promise to success. Having the work of God in mind is no promise of success. We are subject to the laws of nature and we are bound to have good days and bad days, even if our intentions are completely pure.

So, what does this passage mean when it says “commit to the Lord?” I believe that you commit to the Lord what you do when the thing that you are doing is intended to help the kingdom of God. Service projects to help the needy, outreach events to spread the word of God, fund-raisers meant to make money for mission work – all of these can be committed to the Lord.

Committing yourself to the Lord is when your actions are intended to advance the kingdom of God, or your attitude is intended to benefit the Lord. Committing yourself to the Lord may involve an intention to stop sinning, to gain wisdom, to be more merciful, or to have a better prayer life. I believe God gives us success in these.

Some will say that even in these we are not guaranteed success. Sometimes the bake sale gets rained out. Sometimes people slam the door in your face. Sometimes the temptations are too much. But when you commit what you do the Lord, you may be surprised at how much success you will experience.

We may not always see what we have committed to the Lord be the success we want. What we see as success may not be the success God intended, and the success God gives us may not be something we see. What we must do is rely on God, trust in God for a success, and rely on God to know what type of success is needed.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you commit to the Lord?

Rely on God 2

Psalm 16:7-8

At lunch on Sunday one of our members said she doesn’t always look at the “10/2 Grow” first thing in the morning. She saves it for that time of day when she needs a break from the pressures of work. She can step away from the troubles of her job and spend a few minutes focusing on God.

And I thought how very much that is a lesson for all of us. It isn’t that we should avoid doing our daily devotion first thing in the morning. Rather, we should remember that we need to spend time every day in communion with our God. God is the source of our comfort. He is the One who can impart wisdom and help us to know we are not alone in our struggles. There is no set time to be in the company of God. We are to rely on God at all times.

What specific time does the psalmist mention praising God? What confidence does the psalmist have?

Night is specifically mentioned in this psalm, because night is often a time of fear and worry. When the sun sets and light fades we can be fearful of those things we cannot see in the dark. Around us is the unknown, the unclear, the hidden. Yet, in this time of apprehension we can know that God is with us.

But perhaps night is not a time of stress for you. Perhaps night is actually a time of ease, a time when work is done and you can find rest in the comfort of your home. It may be that bright day is the time of trouble for you – a time when you are confronted with challenges and hardships, a time when other people or just the circumstances of life test your patience and push you to the edge of reason.

No matter. At any time of the day or night we must remember to set the Lord always before us. Remember that God is always beside you – day and night, work or rest – and the worries and stresses of life will not be able to overwhelm you. When you learn to rely on God you will not be shaken.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can remind you that God is with you at all times?

Rely on God 1

1 Chronicles 28:9

My father rarely lectured me, but he did have good advice now and then. I wasn’t always smart enough to listen at the time he gave it, but as I grew older his words made more sense. As a father, now, I try to impart the same type of wisdom, sometimes even the same words, to my own children.

I also try to restrain myself. Rather than sitting my children down and lecturing them on how to live, filling them with all the intellectual brilliance I possess, I usually wait until they come to me. Then I know they want to hear advice from me. They are looking for my guidance.

In this passage we have the great Old Testament figure of David, king and blessed servant of God, giving advice to his son, Solomon. What two things should Solomon do? What does God know? How does David conclude?

It can be so easy to forget what part God plays in our lives. We can get to that place where we begin to think and believe that we are responsible for all of our own successes. We have done all the work. We reap the rewards.

But we need to be reminded now and then that everything is under God’s control and, therefore, we need to acknowledge who God is and what He does for us. As David points out, God is able to see into every heart and He knows the reasons behind what we do. If God is the Lord of all then, as David advises, we need to serve him with complete devotion and willingness.

In his advice to his son, David concludes with a comment on our relationship with God. If we search for God, if we work to be obedient to God, and if we take action to rely on God and trust in God then God will indeed be there for us. He will allow Himself to be found by us. We will have that connection.

But, if we reject God and start to feel that we can handle things completely on our own, then God will not be there for us. If we reject God, God rejects us. Then we will have to face life on our own.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How do you seek God?