THE SERVANT GENERAL
LESSONS OF JOB
BLESS THE LORD
In today’s reading from the book of Daniel, three men
of Judah, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach
and Abednego), glorify and bless God with one voice (Dan 3:52-56).
What occasioned this?
three had been cast into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar
for refusing to worship the golden statue he had set up. But
God protected and delivered them, and they were not harmed
the furnace, Azariah prayed aloud. His prayer contains the
various aspects of our theme for 2010.
The Almighty! Azariah starts and ends his prayer by acknowledging
God for who He is. “Blessed are you, and praiseworthy,
O Lord, the God of our fathers, and glorious forever is your
name.” (Dan 3:26). “Let them know that you alone
are the Lord God, glorious over the whole world.” (Dan
3:45). At the heart of prayer that reflects our relationship
with God, manifested by Azariah’s beginning and ending
in his prayer, is an acknowledgment of God and His awesome
fear and humility. Because of who God is, the three have the
proper posture: “we, your servants, who revere you”
(Dan 3:33b); “we fear you” (Dan 3:41b). “But
with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received”
(Dan 3:39). We stand in awe of God, which leads us to kneel
or prostrate ourselves in humility before Him.
and righteousness. Azariah confidently calls out to God because
he knows what kind of a God He is. “For you are just
in all you have done; all your deeds are faultless, all your
ways right, and all your judgments proper.” (Dan 3:27).
suffering. What occasions the miracle is what the three have
to suffer. They acknowledge that what is happening is due
to the chastisement of God because of the sins of His people.
“By a proper judgment you have done all this because
of our sins” (Dan 3:28b). But after the extreme test
the three had to endure, God reverses not only their situation
but the situation of all Judah. King Nebuchadnezzar, who had
commanded all to worship an idol, now acknowledged the God
of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and gave protection to
Judah in worshiping the true God (Dan 3:95-96).
What is our proper posture in the face of extreme suffering,
in the face of seemingly impossible and hopeless situations?
It is to trust in God (our theme for 2009). Why? The reason
is simple: “those who trust in you cannot be put to
shame.” (Dan 3:40c).
is the basis for our trust? There are so many. Among these:
(1) God is just and righteous. (2) In Him is “kindness
and great mercy” (Dan 3:42b). (3) He does not “make
void (His) covenant” (Dan 3:34b). (4) He keeps His promises
(Dan 3:36). (5) He desires to manifest His glory to the whole
world through His signs and wonders (Dan 3:43).
aside from trusting in God, we must ourselves become just
and righteous. We must obey His commandments (Dan 3:30). We
must turn back from sin and every kind of evil, by which we
have departed from God (Dan 3:29). We must “follow (Him)
unreservedly” (Dan 3:40b), be in awe of Him, and maintain
our relationship with Him in prayer. “And now we follow
you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you.”
Suffering is God’s gift to His people. Those He loves
He chastises and disciplines. But if through our suffering
we are brought back to Him, and if we continue to trust in
Him, then we will experience redemption. And redemption is
not only for us, but for the whole world.
acts in mysterious ways. He uses our enemies and delivers
us over to injustice. “You have handed us over to our
enemies, lawless and hateful rebels; to an unjust king, the
worst in all the world.” (Dan 3:32). At other times
He uses natural calamities to afflict us. At other times,
like in the case of Job, He allows Satan to oppress us. We
often cannot understand why God has allowed us, His servants
who revere Him, to “become a shame and a reproach”
God merely wants our repentance and our turning back to Him,
and for us to live out our covenant in faithfulness. So God
delivers us to our enemies, but He also delivers us from our
enemies. “Let all those be routed who inflict evils
on your servants” (Dan 3:44a).
end result, for ourselves and for our enemies, and indeed
for the whole world, is the shining forth of the glory of
God. “Let them know that you alone are the Lord God,
glorious over the whole world.” (Dan 3:45). The Almighty!
Nebuchadnezzar, the “unjust king, the worst in all the
world” (Dan 3:32b), acknowledged that “there is
no other God who can rescue like this” (Dan 3:96b).
Indeed, he met the living God and experienced transformation.
And he himself became an evangelizer! “It has seemed
good to me to publish the signs and wonders which the most
high God has accomplished in my regard.” (Dan 3:99).
And God used him to proclaim His good news to the whole world,
“to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever
they dwell on earth” (Dan 3:98).
the end, King Nebuchadnezzar himself stood in awe of the Almighty.
“How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders; his
kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures
through all generations.” (Dan 3:100)
We can never fully understand the mysterious ways of God,
especially when we suffer. But God will accomplish His divine
purposes for our lives and for the life of the world. We can
only marvel and exclaim: The Almighty! Just and righteous
us continue to bless the Lord, for He is “praiseworthy
and exalted above all forever” (Dan 3:52a).
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of Job - Part 27[PDF]