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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Discipline Unto Prayer # 4

Unmoved and Undismayed (continued)

The Greatness of His God

To Daniel God was greater than all. It was as simple as that. He had many visions, concerned with all sorts of people, places and events, but he had one transcendent vision, and that was the vision of His Lord. None of the historical or prophetic allusions can be without significance, for the Word of God is never without meaning; but we shall have missed the essence of Daniel's story if we become occupied with things or people rather than with the Lord Himself. This is the second of Daniel's secrets of a steadfast life: to him the Person of the Lord towered high above all others. Prophetic truths may interest or enlighten us, but they will never save us in the hour of testing. Daniel's chamber was not a study - at least it was not then being used as such; it was his prayer-room, his audience-chamber with his God. As we tend to hurry to our best friend when trouble comes, so Daniel, when he knew the writing was signed, went straight home to his prayer chamber to commune with his Lord. He knelt on his knees not as a matter of routine or ritual, not to list a number of items for prayer, but to worship and to wait upon his God. As we have said, he was associated with a very great vision, but the central and supreme feature of this vision was the Person of the Lord.

This is as important to us as it was to him. When we come to the New Testament, we must be careful to give due weight to every detail of its teaching. It is very wrong for us to ignore or disobey the injunctions, the admonitions and the explicit statements of the Word of God. Yet our supreme concern must be with the Lord Jesus Himself. To follow all the teachings and methods associated with the House of God and yet lack the overwhelming Presence of the Sn and Owner of the House is to substitute an empty shell for the living reality.

Daniel's vision of the Lord was so great that it involved the eclipse of all his enemies. No doubt they were very imposing, 'the presidents, the deputies, the satraps, the counselors and the governors' (verse 7). Whatever Daniel thought as he considered this long and formidable list, he gave no indication of being greatly concerned by it. He went off  home to meet with his Lord ... "as he did aforetime." To have his eyes on the Lord did not mean that he ignored his enemies or pretended that they did not exist. It only meant that because of their hatred he drew nearer to his Lord, realizing that at all costs he must not be drawn away from that committal and that communion which represented the very heart of the Divine purpose. He was determined to keep on positive ground. It can be merely negative to get preoccupied with our enemies, or with the things that menace God's purpose. We shall never reach God's end by chasing negatives.

Daniel refused to be diverted from the main issue. He would not even turn aside to pray about his own perilous position. He had but one answer for his foes, and that was to continue straight n in his devotion to the will of God. We need to follow his example. satan will always try to divert us from the positive end of God. If we can be drawn out into side issues, he will always provide such for us. They may be things that provoke us, some matter that never fails to arouse our irritation or anger. If we turn aside to pray too much about them, we shall have missed the real call to positive prayer. It is true that Ephesians 6 stresses the call to prayer conflict, but it comes at the end of a letter that is devoted to the main vision of God's purpose in His Son. It is for this, and not for lesser or personal matters, that we are called into the spiritual battle. Or the devil may even keep us busy with some side issues which we like, good things in themselves, perhaps, but diversions from the principle one. The man of the Spirit refuses to be diverted. Like Daniel, he goes determinedly on.

Daniel's vision was so great that it also eclipsed his friends. There is no mention here of Shadrach and his two companions. We do not know where they were. Perhaps they were praying for him in secret. We do know, though, that there are times when we must go through alone with the Lord. This is no contradiction of spiritual fellowship. Such fellowship can only be healthy and vital if in all things the Lord Himself is the One we keep in view. Darius was also Daniel's friend. As a matter of fact he did his sincere best to help him. But it is not recorded that when Daniel knew that the writing was signed he sought out Darius, to talk the matter over with him or to seek his help. No, he went straight away to the Lord. With all his apparent power, Darius proved helpless in this matter. Daniel knew the Lord as 'high over all.' He could not have held quietly on his way as he did if he had not known a constant walk with his Almighty Lord.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 5 - (The Power of Prayer)

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