Saturday, June 11, 2016

Triplets of Christ-Mind Personified: Daniel Obeys God


As we saw last week, the mind of Christ has three essential components: knowledge, wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 3:19-20; Isaiah 11:1-3). Knowledge utilizes the mind to learn the historical facts, truths and verses recorded in Scripture, particularly that Jesus, Son of God, died to pay for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day so that all who trust Him have eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 3:16).

Wisdom employs the emotions to fear Holy God (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10), to receive peace (Philippians 4:7) as we invite Jesus into our heart, and to know joy in Him as our Lord and Savior (Nehemiah 8:10). And understanding allows the saved person to apply knowledge and wisdom to their lives so that they will be fruitful in service to Him (Joshua 24:15).

Practically speaking, we can read and even study God’s Word to know it better. If we allow it to convict us, we can repent and gain wisdom. But unless we obey it, we lack true understanding.

God created mankind in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27), so we can look to His Word for examples of those who portrayed all three qualities of Christ-mind. But due to our sin nature since the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), no one can measure up to that perfect ideal, Who of course is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Although Jesus walked the earth in human flesh (John 1:14) He is the Creator Who founded the earth by wisdom, established the heavens by understanding, and established the water cycle from oceans to rain by knowledge (Proverbs 3: 19).

The prophet Isaiah spoke of Him as the rod, stem and Branch of Jesse with three manifestations of the spirit of the Lord: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, and the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. The basis of His understanding is not what He sees or hears, but the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-3), which comes from faith rather than physical evidence (Hebrews 11:1).

Despite mankind’s earthly limitations, frailties and sin (Romans 3:23), the Holy Spirit Who indwells believers saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) empowers them to emulate the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). The first such Old Testament example is Bezaleel, whose lineage is described as the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. To enable Bezaleel to make the furniture for His holy tabernacle through excellent workmanship, God filled Bezaleel with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge (Exodus 31:3; 35:1).

The next example of triplets of Christ-mind is Daniel and his three companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, in Babylonian captivity (Daniel 1: 3-6). These were the cream of the crop among the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes. They were without blemish, attractive and skillful in their wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of science, social skills, and language ability. Blessed with these God-given talents, they were able to conduct themselves with diplomacy in a strange land, learn about their culture, and speak in their foreign tongue.

Even though Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar, and his companions Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Daniel’s faith, leadership, and boldness allowed them to remain true to God’s Word. Daniel  purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” by disobeying God’s dietary laws, persuaded the prince of the eunuchs to allow them to follow their customary diet, and proved the wisdom of Cod’s commandments (Daniel 1:7-16).

Daniel not only knew God’s Word concerning food, but he desired in his heart to follow it, and he obeyed it, even though he risked not fitting in with the other youth, loss of privilege with those in authority over him, and even physical punishment for disobeying the king’s customs. In the first clinical trial ever recorded in human history, Daniel and his companions were in better health after ten days on pulse (beans, peas and other seeds) and water than were the youth who ate the king’s food and drank his wine!

So they were permitted to follow God’s dietary laws, and the king gave them three years in his country before wanting to see what they could contribute. Daniel and his three companions had God-given knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom, but Daniel also had understanding in all visions and dreams (Daniel 1:17).

When King Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream, he demanded that his wise men tell him what he had dreamt and interpret it, promising them gifts and rewards and great honor to fulfill his request. But they replied that it was impossible, and that no king, lord, or ruler could ask such things of any magician, astrologer, or any Chaldean. In his fury, the king demanded that the magicians, astrologers, and Daniel and his fellows all be put to death (Daniel 2:1-13).

But Daniel asked the king for time to know and interpret the troubling vision, and when the king granted it, Daniel and his companions prayed to God for wisdom. When God revealed the secret to Daniel in a night vision, Daniel thanked God, blessing His Name, His wisdom, and His power (Daniel 2:14-19).

Daniel knew that only God can control the times and seasons; restore or remove earthly thrones; and give to men His wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Only God can reveal the deep and secret things and know what is in the darkness, for He is the source of light. Daniel praised God for giving him wisdom, power and knowledge (Daniel 2: 20-23).

God’s wisdom shone through Daniel – not only did he correctly describe and interpret the dream for the king, but God used this incident to reveal His great power to Nebuchadnezzar. The king proclaimed that Daniel’s God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets (Daniel 2:47).

This was only the beginning of how God used Daniel to honor, glorify and serve Him. May we be like Daniel, not only knowing God’s Word, but allowing it to work in our heart so that we will obey it in every aspect of our life

© 2016 Laurie Collett
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4 comments:

  1. Dear Laurie,
    I'm going through the book of Daniel at present during my daily morning Bible readings. The story of Nebuchadnezzar's dream and his demand for an interpretation has been one of the most inspiring stories in the Bible, short of the Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    This prophetic demonstration of God's power is, to me, astonishing! Here we are, fully able to read about a man's dream some 2,500 years after his death, at locations as far as the other side of the world. But what impresses me most is such a display of God's omniscience - that nothing, absolutely nothing could take him by surprise, and no event could ever take place throughout the whole of human history without God first foreknowing about it, even thousands of years beforehand.
    Maybe there was a reason why God had never attempted to explain the workings of the Internet to Abraham, Moses, or David, but he still knew everything about it, deep in ancestry!
    An excellent post, God bless.

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    1. Thank you, Frank, and Amen to God's omniscience! I love Daniel 12:4: But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
      I have read that the Hebrew word translated "to and fro" is the same word that now means "search," as on a computer. In these End Times, that is how knowledge increases -- by the instantaneous availability of knowledge through the Internet. So maybe God was explaining the Internet even in Old Testament writing!
      I always appreciate your insights. God bless,
      Laurie

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  2. Great Post, Laurie. Daniel demonstrated his understanding and faith by his obedience, and God honored it by showing him things far beyond what other Jews knew. He still blesses those who are interested enough to learn and obey.

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    1. Thank you, Donald! May we learn His Word, be convicted by it, and obey it! Thanks as always for sharing your insights.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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