#870. The God we know is the God we show - Daniel 11:32 (7/8/23)
Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional. For the near future, we put our Luke series on pause as we have some stand-alone summer devotionals. I hope you find them helpful.
‘He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. (Daniel 11:32 ESV)
‘With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.’ (Daniel 11:32 NIV)
Lesson: How can our lives show the glory of God? Those seeking to know Him will show Him in their lives.
This verse speaks of how the enemy of God’s people will try to infect them with false teachings, leading to a distorted view of God. This false perception will erode their trust and lead them to misrepresent Him to the world. The God we truly know is the God we show – whether that be derived from a false or a true understanding of God.
The God we know will be the God we seek to make known to our community that is outside of the church. There's much to discuss on this topic, but to put it simply: if the God we're familiar with instills fear and anxiety in us; if we hold the belief that our salvation depends solely on our good deeds and that we'll be condemned for making too many mistakes, our message will centre around human shortcomings and the necessity to perform good deeds for salvation. On the other hand, if we perceive God as purely compassionate and think that He overlooks our sins, imposing no moral obligations, our message might not even take shape, as it could be assumed that everyone is already saved! However, if we firmly believe that our salvation—our rebirth and justification—stems from God's mercy through our faith in Christ, then our message will inherently reflect God's compassion for sinners.
“Our delight in God is the main fuel for mission. When we find ourselves struggling with motivation, battling against guilt, or discouraged with the fruit of our witness, we must return to the cross, where the fountain of God’s goodness is opened to us. When our evangelism becomes dry and dutiful, we must come for our hearts’ refreshment to Jesus, who shows us the reality of his Father in heaven.” (God Shines Forth: How the Nature of God Shapes and Drives the Mission of the Church)
Clearly, our connection with both God and others undergoes profound influence based on our beliefs about Him. Frequently employing our culture as a conduit, the enemy endeavours to ‘seduce with flattery’ or ‘with flattery will seduce’ us into adopting a distorted perspective of God and the gospel. It's crucial, therefore, that we exercise caution and actively acquaint ourselves with the genuine nature and message of God.
J. I. Packer in his book, Knowing God, uses Daniel to show the four effects that knowing God leads to:
I. Those who know God have great energy for God.
‘But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32kJV)
2. Those who know God have great thoughts of God.
‘The Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. (Daniel 4:25)
3. Those who know God show great boldness for God.
‘The royal ministers, prefects, satraps, advisors and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den…Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.’ (Daniel 6:7, 10)
4. Those who know God have great contentment in God.
‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’ (Daniel 3: 16–18
How can our lives show the glory of God? Those seeking to know Him will show Him in their lives.
Are we seeking to know God in His word? In good books or other resources? Like Daniel, being devoted to spending time with God is prayer - praying out of the Word - is a vital daily practice if we want to know so as to show God. J. I. Packer writes in his book, Knowing God, how prayer leads to knowledge and reveals our knowledge of God
‘People who know their God are before anything else people who pray, and the first point where their zeal and energy for God’s glory come to expression is in their prayers…If, however, there is in us little energy for such prayer, and little consequent practice of it, this is a sure sign that as yet we scarcely know our God.’ (Packer, J.I. Knowing God)
‘First, we must recognise how much we lack knowledge of God. We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge about God, not by our gifts and responsibilities in the church, but by how we pray and what goes on in our hearts. Many of us, I suspect, have no idea how impoverished we are at this level.’ (Packer, J.I. Knowing God)
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
Until September I'll not be producing a group study. However, if you meet with your group why not simply use one of the devotionals as a basis for your discussion together?