Archive for May 26th, 2014

The Long Haul

I wanted to first thank God for providing the wonderful opportunity to speak at The Patient Experience Summit hosted by The Cleveland Clinic last week.  It was an amazing event in so many ways.  It did throw us back a week on our look at Daniel as a Hupomone man but we will pick it today.  Click here if you want to go back and read the first post in this series.

What are the characteristics of someone who stays in it for the long haul with God?  Specifically what can we see in Daniel’s life that contributed to the fact that he outlasted kings and empires?  The first thing that we are going to look at is hope.  Even though the word is never used in the text of Daniel, his hope in God shine’s through.  Consider this prayer of thanks after God revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2:

20Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. 21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs ; He removes kings and establishes kings ; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.  “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things ; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.  “To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power ; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel makes it clear to Nebuchadnezzar who is the revealer of mysteries, not Daniel, but God.  “However there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days.” Daniel 2:28  This must have seemed very strange to the king who was used to all of his wise men, magicians and sorcerers trumpeting their own skills of wisdom and divination.  Here was a young man who gave all the credit to his God.  Daniel not only held God as his personal hope, he proclaimed God to be the hope of all men.  Daniel stood with Peter in his faith and hope.  “…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”  1 Peter 3:15  Daniel’s gentleness and reverence in the proclamation of his hope is perhaps without parallel in Scripture.  There is no sense of derision or haughtiness in any of his dealings with his pagan bosses.  He is a great example to us in all of our dealings with both our fellow believers and those who have not found Jesus as their Lord and Savior.    Consider Daniel’s plea with Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways, “Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you:  break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.”  Daniel 4:27  The fact that the king did not accept Daniel’s plea is irrelevant to Daniel’s faith.  Daniel acted on the hope that was within him.  The seed of truth planted, God acts and in the end the king proclaims, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride” Daniel 4:37

It is with this hope that Daniel walked bravely into the lion’s den.  It is a hope that he shared with his friends who walked bravely into the furnace.  It is a hope manifested both in the miraculous and the mundane.  It is a hope that does not rely on events or circumstances, “If it be so, our god whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But eve if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  Daniel 3:17-18.  Paul held this hope even as he walked a path that he knew led to death, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day;” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Paul walked the Hupomone path to martyrdom, giving his life.  Daniel also walked the Hupomone path giving his life for the hope that he held in God.  In human terms they had very different ends but before God each of them lived the life of perseverance that He seeks for all who call on His name.

 

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