No Greater Joy!

Two of my daily readings “came together” this morning . . . one from the Old Testament, it’s compliment from the New Testament . . . one describing the actions of a faithful man, the other kind of a commentary on how those actions should be viewed . . . one a voice from earth directed toward heaven, the other a response from heaven concerning that which is done on earth . . . a verse in Daniel, and a verse in 3John.

“And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, [Daniel] knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Daniel 6:10)

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3John 1:4)

By chapter 6, Daniel is now on his third pagan king . . . Darius the Mede . . . Darius the naïve! Daniel has again found favor in the sight of this powerful man . . . again those competing for “top spot” with Daniel seek to take him down . . . again Daniel finds himself in a position of having to choose between obeying man or obeying God . . . and again, obeying God wins. Darius is duped into establishing a written decree that, for the next 30 days, anyone who prays to a god or man other than the king shall be cast into the den of lions (6:6-9). And Daniel . . . dares to be a Daniel . . . again. Not that he defies the king with a one time act of protest . . . not that he determines to “make a statement” through some showy act of civil disobedience . . . but that he goes home and does what he has always done . . . gets on his knees and prays before His God.

Though he lived there, Babylon was not Daniel’s home . . . though he served in the kings courts, he was in fact an ambassador from another place . . . though he walked daily the streets of a pagan world, he continually set his mind and heart on things above . . . knowing that he was but a stranger and pilgrim . . . knowing that, beyond the king of Babylon or the king of the Medes, the really king he served was the King of heaven . . . the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And, as was his custom, despite the crazy edict, Daniel went home . . . set his face toward his real home . . . directed his heart toward heaven . . . and talked with God . . . giving Him thanks and appealing to Him on behalf of others. Bottom line . . . he faithfully walked in truth.

Cue 3John . . . and if John’s inspired words reflect the heart of God (and I think they do) . . . then what joy does the Father have when He sees and hears His children walking in the truth? . . . no greater joy!

Think about it! There is joy in heaven and in the presence of angels when a sinner repents (Luke 15:7,10) . . . a great celebration in the presence of God when a son or daughter of Adam passes from darkness into marvelous light. But, there is no greater joy than that those sinners saved by grace, and enabled by the indwelling Spirit of God, seek to walk as children of light. No greater pleasure for God than to see those redeemed by the blood of His Son . . . seeking to be conformed to the image of His Son . . . as they submit to the Spirit’s work of making them like His Son . . . walk like His Son.

“He walked in truth.” Should that have been written on Daniel’s tombstone (not that he had one), wouldn’t it be an accurate and appropriate summary of his life? I’m thinkin’! Or if “WLKNTRTH” were the vanity license plate on his chariot (whatever) wouldn’t those who knew him say, “Pretty much!” I’m thinkin’ that too! And in that, the God whom Daniel determined to faithfully serve, has great joy . . . no . . . more than that . . . He has no greater joy!

Dare to be a Daniel . . . Dare to be a Gaius (3John 1:1) . . . Dare to walk in truth . . . Dare to bring no greater joy to the Father . . . for His glory alone . . . amen!

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