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The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 02-06-00

A Personal Sense of Destiny  - Daniel.  We begin our study of Daniel and his personal sense of destiny with something that appeared to be a clear triumph of evil over God's people and with God's permission. Four youngsters who were followers of the Lord Jesus Christ stand out as hope for the Jewish race in the midst of despair and they were led by Daniel. DAN 1:1-2; "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god." It was in accordance with the will of God that Nebuchadnezzar, overtook Jerusalem and took its king and temple vessels back to his land and to his god. God allowed this to happen. In DAN 1:3-7, Nebuchadnezzar had the youngsters of Israel who were excellent in mind and body brought to Babylon in order to be groomed and trained for service in the king's court. Their names were changed from those that honored the true God to those that were to honor the false gods. Daniel (God is judge) became Belteshazzar; (may Bel protect his life). Hananiah (JHWH is gracious) to Shadrach; (commander of Aku). Mishael (who is what God is) to Meshach; (who is what Aku is). Azariah (Whom JHWH helps) to Abed-nego; (servant of Nebo). God enabled these four men especially Daniel to follow Him faithfully and excel into positions of influence, DAN 1:8-21. In Nebuchadnezzar's second year he had dreams, which greatly troubled him. DAN 2:1 "Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, (he) had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him." He called his wise men together and ordered them to tell him the interpretation of his dream whereby they would receive much or lose their life depending upon whether they were right or wrong. Then the wise men dialogue with the king emphasizing how unreasonable he was since only a god could do what he asked DAN 2:7-11. The king becomes enraged and issues a decree to destroy all of the wise men including Daniel and his friends, Dan 2:12-13. Learning of the dream and the deadly decree, Daniel received the interpretation of the king's dream's from God, DAN 2:14-23. When Daniel and his friends were about to be killed, he made a statement that could only come from someone who recognized his personal sense of destiny: DAN 2:20 Daniel answered and said, "Let the name of the Lord be blessed forever and ever; for wisdom and power belong to Him." DAN 2:21 "For it is He who changes the times and the epochs or dispensations; He removes rulers and establishes rulers; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to the men of understanding or knowers of doctrine." Daniel demonstrated that through grace orientation, a personal sense of destiny recognizes that God can handle every crisis in life. He interpreted the king's dream as the Lord had revealed, foretelling the future history of the kingdom. In DAN 2:46-49, the king's response to Daniel's interpretation of his dream was to overwhelmingly receive it and thus to honor Daniel and his God as well as promote Daniel and his friends. First we have Daniel being honored, treated as though he were a god with worship, an offering and incense, DAN 2:46. Then as Daniel fulfilled his personal sense of destiny, he brought glory to God, DAN 2:47. The king recognized Daniel's God, the God of Heaven, and the Lord Jesus Christ as being a ruling God of gods and kings as well as being able to reveal mysteries. As a reward for fulfilling part of his personal sense of destiny, we have the promotion of Daniel to ruler over the province and chief of the wise men, DAN 2:48. Then in being rewarded by God for fulfilling part of his personal sense of destiny, Daniel allocated part of his escrow blessings to his friends and faithful servants, DAN 2:49. Daniel teaches us that we can fulfill our personal sense of destiny and prosper even in situations of slavery. As time went on, we also have the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego being thrown into the fiery furnace because of their refusal to worship an image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dreams. King Nebuchadnezzar had made a golden image in Babylon, Dan 3:1. Under royal proclamation and fear of being cast into a blazing furnace, all of the international leaders fell and worshiped the image in verses 4-7. However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refused the king's decree to serve his gods or worship the image. In an angry rage, Nebuchadnezzar threw them into a furnace so hot that he lost his warriors who threw them in the fire. He looked in and saw them and their God alive. Nebuchadnezzar repented and then honored Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego as servants of the Most High God. While the king was enjoying the privileges of his kingship, he received another dream that greatly disturbed him in chapter 4:4-5. Calling all of the wise men of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar was without hope to receive the dream's interpretation until Daniel arrived whom he knew God had spoken through before. The king recounted his dream to Daniel as one of prosperity, destruction and preservation. Daniel was exhorted to interpret the dream, and although hesitant, exclaimed that unless Nebuchadnezzar repented of his pride and arrogance and recognized his position under the Most High God, he would suffer temporary insanity. DAN 4:19-27. Nebuchadnezzar refused to comply with Daniel's advice to humble himself before the Lord and as a result became insane and lived as an animal, (DAN 4:33), until he finally recognized his position under the Most High God. Nebuchadnezzar was restored and prospered beyond his former state by the God whom he then praised, exalted, and honored over himself. In chapter 5, Nebuchadnezzar dies and his son becomes king. During a party the new king, and his guests were drinking with the vessels from Jerusalem's temple and were praising their gods. However, the king became frightened when he saw a hand write on the wall.DAN 5:1-6. Again, the king's wise men were unable to interpret the writing, and Belshazzar learned of Daniel's ability from the Queen. Since none of the wise men could either read or interpret the writing on the wall, the king became even more concerned. Hearing of the concern at the banquet, the queen mother entered and proclaimed Daniel to the king as the one who could interpret the handwriting just as he had been able to help his father Nebuchadnezzar. Once again we see God working behind the scenes to promote the personal sense of destiny of His servants. Daniel did nothing to promote himself; all he did was to continue worshipping his God on a day-by-day basis. In DAN 5:17, identifying himself as Daniel and refusing Belshazzar's gifts, Daniel explained that the inscription predicted the fall of Babylon to Medo-Persia due to his arrogance toward Jehovah or the Lord Jesus Christ. DAN 5:17-23. In DAN 5:30-31 "That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two." Darius was a thoughtless, arrogant pawn of a corrupt government, which persecuted God's people. However, he became an instrument for God. Out of jealousy over a promotion which Daniel was about to receive for his abilities, his peers had a decree issued by Darius which they used to indict Daniel for praying to Jehovah, DAN 6:1-13. Daniel was about to be reappointed as commissioner over all the politicians assigned to protect the king's interests because of his extraordinary ability, which was really reliance upon the Spirit of God. Seeing that the other leaders could not make an accusation against Daniel for his work, they made up a law which secretly indicted Daniel for praying to Jehovah, DAN 6:4-9. The commissioners could not find anything to accuse Daniel of with his work, so they attacked him with regard to his faith. So these governmental leaders encouraged Darius to establish and sign an injunction that forbade anyone to petition any god or man besides the king under penalty of being thrown into the Lions' den for thirty days, DAN 6:6-9. This is a conspiracy, a satanic plot and scheme. Remember that it is when you begin to fulfill your personal sense of destiny that you are perceived by the kingdom of darkness and the principalities and powers as a serious threat. Daniel, however, following his usual custom, opens the windows of his upper room, and there prays to God three times a day. In fulfilling his personal sense of destiny, Daniel will not allow anyone to take him away from his fellowship with God. The question here is "should I obey a command when it is in direct contraction to the word of God?" The answer is "No, you should not!" ACT 5:29. However, let me warn you that you must also be willing to pay the consequences of your disobedience. Although he was aware of the decree, Daniel continued praying to his God, was observed, and reported to the king. His personal sense of destiny said to continue with his schedule in spite of the pressure being placed upon him. So, he prays in spite of the decree. DAN 6:10. Notice that Daniel stood his ground, knowing that he also had an opportunity of honoring God before men, and showing that he preferred God's favor, and his duty to God, before life itself. Daniel cheerfully trusted God with the outcome of the event. While fulfilling your personal sense of destiny get use to conspiracies or being conspired against. DAN 6:11 "Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God." "By agreement" in Aramaic means to assemble together for the purpose of causing disorder or chaos. These jealous governmental officials looked for and found Daniel petitioning his God. So we now have Daniel reported. DAN 6:12-18. However, this is another ROM 8:28 passage, where God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. Or, DEU 23:5 "The Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the Lord your God loves you." As a part of fulfilling his personal sense of destiny, Daniel is placed in an unfriendly environment, the lion's den. The result therefore of the believer willing to fulfill his personal sense of destiny no matter what, is found in DAN 6:19-22. In DAN 6:23-24, we have the committing of Daniel's prosecutors to the same prison, or place of execution that they tried to put him under. Another comforting fact for the believer who discovers his personal sense of destiny. Daniel's accusers, now that his innocence is clear and Heaven itself has become his vindication, have the same punishment inflicted upon them that they designed against him, according to the law of retaliation made against false accusers. Those who had accused Daniel and literally wanted to see the bones and flesh of Daniel devoured, now are given over to be torn in pieces. As a result of Daniel's faithfulness in fulfilling his personal sense of destiny, Darius' issues a new decree: a decree of peace to the people of his kingdom, to fear the God of Daniel because He is eternal, living, reigning, and helps His followers as He did Daniel. DAN 6:25-27. "Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations, and {men of every} language who were living in all the land: May your peace abound! I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion {will be} forever. He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has {also} delivered Daniel from the power of the lions." Daniel is another illustration of the fact that no matter what type of environment a believer finds himself in, he can still fulfill his personal sense of destiny and bring glory to God.

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