Do you take your health for granted? If you’re like me, we give thanks for health, yet we are not too cautious in our care of ourselves. Just to go through a medical examination and get the all clear together with good blood results does not mean you are one hundred percent healthy. From a Biblical perspective I would suggest that good health implies the body, emotions, mind and soul. To enjoy a healthy prayer life, you might battle with the body in numerous ways, but the condition of the emotions, mind and soul are important. At the end of Daniel 9:4 we find the answer to keeping both the emotions, mind and soul in good health!
1) If you love Him you obey Him.
Da 9:4 with all who love him and obey his commands.
In one of the least-known songs Elvis Presley sang, the lyrics go … “If you wanna be loved, you gotta love me too.” God assures His people of His covenant love and the response is to love and prove that love through obedience. God loved so much yet Israel abused that love and resorted to idolatry even in the most degraded forms. The apostle John helps us to know what the Biblical love process is and how to respond to it:
1Jn 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
The love God requires is … actions and in truth. If love is demonstrated practically in sharing with the beloved in Christ, then loving God is obedience!
1Jn 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
In other words, proof of loving God is loving the body of believers and the demonstration of love is obedience to God’s Commandments … the Ten Commandments … followed quickly by all of His Word. Right here the soul stays health … but we also notice that God’s commands are not burdensome … meaning that they, with His help are easy to obey. The fruit of this obedience will be healthy emotions, mind and soul. The Bible is so exhilarating because in it God shows exactly how love is done. Look at how Jesus explains to us where love starts for the people of God:
Mk 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
As Jesus summarizes the Law (Ten Commandments), He says there are no greater commands than these because they capture everything required for obedience to God. When these are fulfilled as best as possible, then the whole person is healthy! Heart represents the emotions and the fountain of love. Soul represents the spiritual dimension that lives eternally. Mind represents the intellectual or academic sphere and strength represents the body. To love God this way there are no half measure or switching on and off or running hot and cold. It is all or nothing. What Elvis sang, although intended between a man and woman applies to God … “If you wanna be loved by God, you gotta love Him too.”
2) The first fundamental expression of love is acknowledging what you have done wrong.
Da 9:5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
People don’t like the way Daniel expresses this “wrong” in our day. He says Israel had sinned, been wicked, rebelled, turned away from God’s Commands and Laws, not listened to the prophets … meaning not listened to God’s Word. I hope you and I are able to see this!
Israel was totally evil, rejecting God and His Word, resorting to idol gods and immoral behavior resulting in her punishment. Daniel acknowledges this to God. The prophets were God’s men, sent to speak His Word to His people. They did not preach in obscure places … they moved around preaching to the nation wherever the people were. This means that all heard and all were guilty. They turned away from God and His Word. They rejected that which was life and blessing. This was willful disobedience and this was the crucial issue. No one could plead not guilty; I did not know; give us another chance!
Remember Daniel is an old man. He as a prince was taken into exile together with the nation of Judah (now called Israel). The seventy years prophesied by Jeremiah were almost exhausted … and as he uses the plural he is identifying with the people as a nation who are guilty before God.
Is there such a thing as a “holy man?” Years back the pastor was called “a man of the cloth or a holy man”. People have an impression that pastors or Christian workers are so close to God and therefore must be sinning so little. Daniel saw it differently. Spiritual leader are equally sinners and equally guilty. Paul throws a curved ball just in case some think they are indeed so “almost sinless”:
Ro 3:22 There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
And James says:
Jam 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Many people don’t want to hear such talk … yet it is not talk … it is God’s Word. We need to face reality … all sin and all sin all the time. The only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that the Christ is saved and seen by God as sinless … yet we do sin and are responsible for our sin. Maybe the takeaway for today needs to be a serious look at honesty … before God.
Ask yourself … “Have I turned away from God by ignoring His Word and His Will for my life?” “Am I willfully disobedient?”
I know what God wants yet I purposefully reject it. Just because God sees the Christian as sinless does not mean the Christian may pursue a sinful lifestyle. Daniel seeks pardon for him and the nation. Do you?
Father in Heaven, examine all our motives. Where we have are rebellious, discipline us, pardoning and purging sin. Amen.