Read His Words Before Ours!
When you think of worship, what comes to mind?
For many, including myself, the first thing is probably music or singing. It’s a common way to express our worship, and it is certainly something often featured in the Bible, but it’s not the full picture.
Scripture speaks of worship as a response to God that goes far beyond the words we sing. We are called to worship not only with our voices, but with our lives.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.” (Romans 12:1)
One great example of living worship is Daniel.
Exiled to Babylon, far from Israel’s home, in a place where everything was different from food to language, to culture, to his new name, and the false gods they worshipped, “Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank.” (Daniel 1:8)
From the beginning of his time as a captive in a foreign land, Daniel is intentional about honouring God. As his story unfolds, his commitment is demonstrated both in his small everyday choices and in his response to major, even life-threatening, situations.
In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar has a puzzling dream and insists his astrologers tell him not only the meaning of the dream, but also its content. It’s an impossible task, which leads him to order the execution of all his wise men until Daniel steps in.
Responding “with tact and discretion” (Daniel 2:14), Daniel asks for more time and immediately turns to God. On receiving the answer he needs, he is careful to honour God as he stands before the king.
“No wise man, medium, magician, or diviner is able to make known to the king the mystery he asked about. But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has let King Nebuchadnezzar know what will happen in the last days.” (Daniel 2:27-28)
As Daniel’s story continues, we see his first allegiance is always to God. He is respectful to each of the kings of Babylon, but he is unwilling to compromise on matters of faith, and he is bold in speaking truth even when it isn’t what the king wants to hear.
Perhaps Daniel’s biggest challenge comes many years into his time in Babylon. By this time, his life of worship to God has won him a great deal of respect. He is viewed as trustworthy and highly capable, and when King Darius takes the throne, Daniel is promoted. However, his success has also stirred up jealousy and resentment among others who serve the king.
Recognizing his faith is the only way to accuse Daniel, they persuade the king to make a law stating that for 30 days, all who pray to any god or person other than the king must be thrown into the lions’ den. It is a huge test of Daniel’s faith and obedience, but it doesn’t appear to take Daniel long to work out how to respond.
“When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10)
Daniel’s obedience worships God by expressing trust in His sovereignty. He knows the consequences of his actions could be severe, but he chooses to honour God by continuing to pray as he has always done, leaving the outcome in God’s hands.
In this case, God miraculously rescues Daniel, but his faith does not depend on a miracle; it is firmly rooted in God’s character. His attitude is the same as that expressed by three of his fellow-Jews on facing a similar threat:
“If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” (Daniel 3:17)
Their determination, and Daniel’s, is to worship God and honour Him no matter what, and we see this expressed in their faithful obedience.
While we may not face a lions’ den or a blazing furnace, we are, in a sense, “strangers and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11) here on earth, and we will face challenges as we live out our faith among unbelievers. Daniel’s example shows the importance of faithful, everyday worship in preparing us for those moments when we may have to take a stand, and it also illustrates the impact our actions can have in glorifying God and drawing others to worship Him!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!