Study 9 DOING EXPLOITS FOR GOD
STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF DANIEL
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Daniel 11:30-45)
This study is based upon the last part of Daniel 11:32 as it is recorded in the King James Version. Three ideas are contained in this verse. There is the thought of knowing God, being strong and doing exploits. God’s people are characterised by what they know, what they are and what they do. Believers (Christians) are different from worldly and unconverted people in these three respects – in the matter of knowing, being and doing. Notice that these three characteristics of the child of God are related, for only as we know God can we be strong; and only as we are strong can we undertake exploits in the name of the Lord. Conversely, if we are not doing exploits for God it is because we are not strong; and if we are not strong it is because we do not know God well enough. In this study we shall examine the three ideas in Daniel 11:32.
1. FIRST, WE MUST KNOW GOD
It is not enough to know about Him. It is possible to know much about the Lord, His nature and attributes, and yet not to know Him personally. We can, of course, only come to know God through the Lord Jesus Christ - look up and compare Job 22:21; John 14:6; 17:3. This is the initial sense in which we come to know God as our loving heavenly Father through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour; but we must go on to know Him progressively, for there are degrees of knowing Him, as John 14:9 and Philippians 3:10 indicate. How do we really get to know God?
- We get to know Him as we spend time in communion and in fellowship with Him. We can only really get to know anyone by spending time in his or her presence, and we can only really get to know God as we spend time alone with Him and cultivate fellowship and friendship with Him - as Enoch did (Genesis 5:22-24).
- We get to know Him as we listen to Him speaking to us. When friends get together they talk and listen to one another, and thus they get to know one another; and as we wait in the presence of God regularly, He speaks to us in and through His Word, and we hear His voice and, like Mary, really come to know Him - look up Luke 10:38-42.
- We get to know Him by speaking to Him. Fellowship is mutual; it is not a one-sided affair, and when we come into the presence of the Lord and open our hearts and our lips to Him we get to know Him, as David did (Psalm 55:16-17); and as Daniel did (Daniel 6:10).
- We get to know Him by observing His ways of working. We get to know God as we see what He does and how He does it, and in this respect we can only get to know Him gradually in the daily paths of practical experience as we follow on to know Him - look up Hosea 6:3 KJV, and compare 2 Peter 3:18.
All this should make us ask ourselves: How much do I know Him? For the measure of our knowing …will determine the measure of our being… and our doing!
2. KNOWING GOD WILL MAKE US STRONG
Yes, and the more we know Him the stronger we shall be. Shall we be strong physically? We should remember that He is the source of our physical life as well as of our spiritual life. Shall we be strong morally? Yes - as Daniel was when he was cast into the lions’ den; and as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were when they were cast into the fiery furnace. Shall we be strong spiritually? Yes - look up Ephesians 6:10. As we go on to know the Lord:
- We shall become stronger in our confidence in Him. We shall be filled with a holy assurance; we shall “know” - look up Job 19:25; Romans 8:28; 2 Timothy 1:12. We shall have confidence in God and His enabling to endure in adversity, trial, sorrow and any kind of affliction.
- We shall become stronger in our power to meet and overcome temptation and evil. How weak we are sometimes! Why? Because we do not know the Lord enough; but as we get to know Him better we shall receive more power to meet and to overcome those things that are displeasing to Him - look up Acts 1:8.
- We shall become stronger in our ability to be a strength to others. A Christian once prayed, “Lord, make me as Thine arm, upon which the troubled and tried can lean!” Is that the kind of prayer we should pray and that God will answer? Indeed it is!
Thus, as we know God we become strong - look up Isaiah 40:28-31. And when we are strong, then what happens?
3. WHEN WE ARE STRONG WE SHALL DO EXPLOITS FOR GOD
An exploit is: ”A heroic deed of achievement”; a great and daring feat. The Bible is full of illustrations of men and women who did exploits for God. Think of Gideon and his 300 (Judges 7:19-23); Samson (Judges 14:5-6); Elijah on Carmel (1 Kings 18:36-39); and see God’s picture gallery of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Think also of the apostles and the early Christians who hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord (Acts 15:26), and turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)! If we really know God and are thereby made strong in Him, we also shall do exploits, and we shall do them in two ways:
- By prayer. We shall find ourselves walking in the footsteps of men like George Muller and Hudson Taylor, who by prayer alone ”moved the arm that rules the world”.
- By Witnessing. We shall find ourselves walking in the footsteps of the early Christians, whose hearts were so full of the love of Christ that their lips were constantly filled with the message of the gospel as they went from place to place witnessing to the power and grace of God.