By O.S. Hawkins
Thursday, May 01, 2003
I love those words in
When we do not give in nor give up nor give out God will bless. Note that He will give protection. God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. (
God will also give us influence. The Bible says, Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus. When we read these words in
Yes, Daniel continued. And God gave him protection, wisdom, and influence along the way. This should be a tremendous encouragement to all of us who are seeking to address a 21st century Babylonian culture in the western world. It would be wonderful if it were said of us that we too "continued," that we did not give in nor give up nor give out, that we too were resistant, consistent, and persistent. In 1992 our First Baptist Church of Dallas high school choir had the wonderful privilege of ministering during the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Those of us who remember those Olympic games have forever etched in our minds the 400-meter run. The favorite to win the gold medal was a young man by the name of Derek Redmond. Derek was 26-years-old. In the middle of his race Derek Redmond fell flat on the track. When he fought his way back to his feet he grabbed the back of his leg in pain. A torn hamstring had brought a lifetime of dreams to a miserable end in a split second. But Derek Redmond got up. He began hopping around the track on one leg. When he reached the home stretch a large man broke through the security guards and onto the track. He was wearing a tee shirt that said, "Have you hugged your kid today?" The man put his arms around Derek Redmond and together they hobbled toward the finish line. That man, it turned out, was Derek Redmond's father, Jim Redmond. It made for a beautiful picture. There was a fallen hero and a loving father making sure that he finished strongly. And anyone who watched on television that day will never forget that scene.
Derek Redmond is a picture of some of us. Some of us are lying on the track of life with our dreams smashed and our hopes dashed. Setbacks are no fun. But look, from out of the stands comes a loving father who takes our arm and puts it over his own shoulder. He'll see us to the finish line if we will walk with him! Like Derek Redmond we have a hope. Don't give out, be persistent.
In every one of these verses in
We live in a world today much like Daniel's. Ours, too, is a world that is out of control. We're living in a culture that is increasingly opposed to what we believe. We live in a culture that is busy at work with a plan to re-educate our young minds. We don't call it Babylonianism but that's what it is and it is all around us.
Daniel purposed in his heart. (
What does this mean for us today? Simply because God is in control does not mean that Daniel was passive and did nothing. He worked, he prayed, he took a stand, he studied, he influenced others. Yes, God is in control but He desires and expects our own obedience. Daniel made a choice. He purposed in his heart. God did not make the choice for him. His friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not make the choice for him. He purposed in his own heart. The same is true for us. Life is about making right choices.
Daniel is saying to us today that we, too, can make it! How? By deciding which way we're going to turn before we ever get to the intersection. Along the way we hear him saying, "Don't give in, be resistant." Our tendency tomorrow is simply to give in to the culture, to go its way, but we must not. We must "purpose in our own heart" and draw a line with the Word of God.
We can also hear him saying, "Don't give up, be consistent." Our tendency tomorrow is to be so overwhelmed that we give up and lay down our biblical principles and conform to the culture. We can also hear him saying, "Don't give out be persistent." Our tendency is so often to simply quit the race — but we're called upon to finish strongly. I love those words in
O.S. Hawkins is president and chief executive officer of the SBC Annuity Board. He is a Contributing Editor to Preaching.