Thursday, October 20, 2011

Knowing God

"The people who know their God shall be strong and do great things." Daniel 11:32b (TLB)

This is the verse referenced on my artsy, scripture calendar for October. It is a simple, matter-of-fact statement, but at the same time it's powerful. After reading the context of the verse, it holds even more power and yes, conviction.

At first, I believed this verse to mean that if I have faith in the Lord then I can be strong and do great things. While this may be true, this is not the context of the verse. At the time, this was written as a prophecy regarding the future of Israel. It spoke of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his attack on Jerusalem. When he attacked, he desecrated the temple by sacrificing pigs on an altar he built for Zeus inside the temple. Here is verse 32 (the entire verse): "He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God will stand firm and take action." (ESV) Antiochus was able to flatter some people away from the covenant, but the ones who truly loved God and knew God, chose to stand firm in their beliefs and convictions while others took action (the Maccabees).

These people were choosing death instead of desecrating their bodies or abandoning their beliefs because they knew God. They understood his Holiness and how He set them apart. They would rather die than eat unclean pork (at least in one example I read) because they knew this would separate them from the Lord.

Well, once I understood the verse, I wondered how many times have I not stood firm against the enemy? How many times have I chosen to abuse His temple for my selfish wants? How many times have I been seduced by flattery ("Go ahead, you've earned it...")?

Once again, the point has been made - my relationship with the Lord requires and deserves a deeper understanding of Him, which only He can reveal to me. As James 4:8 says "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you..." (ESV)

1 comment:

smithsk said...

This echoes what Paul said - For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I Cor 2:2

Great post to get us focused.