How are you doing this absolutely spectacular day?
We're continuing in somewhat the same prophetic vein of the previous two Coffee Breaks, and I want to take up a theme of prayer and fasting within the realm of intercession as it relates to government and our responsibility as believers in Jesus Christ.
In our last discussion, we talked about prophecy as being a realm in which we unite (or marry) the invisible and eternal realm with the visible, present realm. Something that is important for us all to remember is the fact that the visible realm only exists because of the invisible and eternal.
Prayer and intercession play a vital and integral role in prophecy. Dreams, visions and the visible appearance of the Lord or his messengers, the angels, all serve a role in revealing to us what God has in store for His people, but just knowing what God is saying and planning does not relieve us of responsibility or accountability.
Jesus put it like this. "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48b)
When God begins to reveal things to us, we have an accompanying responsibility for that which He reveals. There are times when the Holy Spirit unveils things to us and shows us things to come that can be changed or altered by our involvement and cooperation with the Lord. The purpose of intercession is to bring to pass what God has shown and to implement His Will and His heart's desire.
Let me take a minute to explain something else before we continue.
We often talk about the will of God, and there is a tendency among many Christians (and even non-Christians alike who believe in God but have not submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ) to lump the will of God into a single category. What gets missed in the translation is that the Word of God uses different words to define God's will. Let's take a look at a few of them in order to get some proper context.
1. Thelema: This word describes determination, purpose, choice, intent, decree, desire, will.
2. Prothesis: A setting forth of intent and purpose.
3. Boul챕: One's volition, counsel, advise (and advice), what one is disposed towards, will.
4. Teleios: (Drawn from the root word, thelo, from which also thelema is taken). Describes what one wishes for, what one desires and/or longs for.
5. Aihreomai: Akin in meaning to teleios, this word is defined as: to take for oneself, to prefer, to choose.
Absolutely NONE of the words used in the New Testament Greek describe unchangeable will or sovereign dictate or decree. There are other words in the Greek text similar to the above, but by far the most-often occurring word in the N.T. text is the word, thelo, and its derivatives, thelema and teleios. It becomes clear, therefore, that when we speak of God's will, we are not talking of His sovereign purposes and decrees. Instead, the Holy Spirit has chosen to primarily describe the will of God in the context of His heart's desire, that which He wants and looks for in His people.
What God has sovereignly purposed -- even before time began -- is to have a family for Himself. What He has designed and destined from before time began is to have a people with whom He can fellowship on His level. In order for that to happen there must of necessity come into being a people who choose Him of their own volition and purpose, a people who learn -- through overcoming processes -- to function as He does, making use of the authority and power granted to us through Jesus Christ.
God absolutely will have a family. That has been settled. He absolutely will have a people who function in Him, like Him and through Him! But His will and purposes do not include forcing men and women and/or programming them like automatons. For them to be like Him, they must function out of their own will and free choice -- again, in Him, by Him and through Him!.
Thus David writes, "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S; but the earth hath He given to the children of men." (Psalm 115:16)
Why? So that we can duplicate what He has demonstrated in Heaven. This is why Jesus' first prayer command (when the Disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray) was, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will (thelema) be done on (and in) earth as it is in Heaven." (Matthew 6:10)
Question. Are God's purposes, determinations and desires accomplished in Heaven? Yup! Most certainly!
Because God has given earth "to the children of men," He absolutely will not take back what He has given. God is not (if you'll pardon the expression) an Indian giver. God doesn't give, and then retract what He has given, or change His mind.
That said, God does govern in the affairs of men, but He governs through His commissioned and anointed people. The key in understanding this is that He does not govern the affairs of men, He governs IN the affairs of men. This is an important distinction, and that leads us to our next picture from Daniel.
Daniel was an extraordinary prophet of God who served through the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar (chapters 1-4) -- a period of 43 years, his son; Evil-Merodach (see Jeremiah 52) -- a period of two years; Belshazzar (chapters 5-8) -- a period of fourteen years; Darius (chapters 9 & 11) -- a period of 35 years; and Cyrus (chapters 10 & 12) -- a period of nine years.
Add all those together and you discover that Daniel served during the reigns of five kings spanning a period of 105 years, of which we have recorded prophecies given to and through him during 99 of those years. According to eastern tradition, Daniel was either 30 years of age or just shy of his 30th year when he was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. That would mean that he lived a good 130 years.
It was in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign that the king had a dream no one could understand. Because none of his wise men (magi) could give him any kind of interpretation of this dream, he sent out a kill order to destroy all of the wise men (Chaldeans), the magicians, sorcerers, and astrologers who were at his beck and call. Daniel heard of it and intervened with Arioch, the Captain of the King's Guard who related Nebuchadnezzar's dream to him.
Daniel then proceeded to ask the king to stay his kill order and give him an opportunity to get an answer from the Lord God. Thus begins a repetitive cycle of intercession and prayer on Daniel's part, resulting in some of the most spectacular answers from God ever recorded.
Maybe you've seen this before, and maybe you just haven't paid any attention to it, but for most of the recorded 99-year period of Daniel's prophecies, he also served as Prime Minister. The exceptions were the short reigns of Evil-Merodach (2 years) and his successor, Belshazzar (14 years), and even at that, Belshazzar had kept Daniel among the chief of his ministers up until he finally appointed him Prime Minister. We have no specific record of Daniel's activities during the reign of Evil-Merodach (history shows his name in Babylonian manuscripts as Amel-Marduk.)
What am I getting at, and why is this important? Maybe you see it now, but Daniel was the one constant during the 105 years of these five kings. He was the true ruler. Kings came and went but Daniel remained. In his true role as an intercessor (and we'll get to this more in just a minute) he was able to overrule the decrees and writs of the kings and compel changes to those decrees to conform to God's laws.
Consider a decree of Darius. When Belshazzar was killed, Darius became the new ruler over the
Among the three presidents, Daniel was chosen by Darius as "First Prime" (minister). To the astonishment and resentment of the other presidents and princes, Darius decided that because of the preeminent and majestic spirit evident in Daniel he should be set over the entire empire. The other presidents were Chaldean (Babylonian/Persian) by birth and culture and the fact that the King would choose a Hebrew to rule over them was simply unacceptable.
We have somewhat the same kind of picture in
Because Daniel had such favor with Darius, the other presidents and 120 princes decided they would do everything they could to undermine his position and have him removed from office.
"Then the presidents and princes sought to find
occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none
occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error
or fault found in him. Then said these men, We
shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him
concerning the law of his God." (Take notice, folks, that this is what the spirit of
Antichrist is doing in
"Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counselors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." (Notice that Daniel would not compromise his primary position with God as an intercessor, no matter what law had been passed.)
These jealous and resentful princes and presidents thought they had successfully set Daniel up, and now they were going to get him! Sure enough, they checked up on Daniel and found him doing what he always did on a daily basis: praying, interceding before God and giving thanks.
"Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the kingâs decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day." Talk about racism! These guys were bound and determined to demean and diminish Daniel in whatever way possible!
"Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee."
This is really spectacular! The King realized that the preeminent spirit he so appreciated in Daniel was a manifestation of the Spirit of God; and because Daniel served the Lord God, no sentence of death, no decree, and no presence of man-eaters was going to have any effect. His declaration to Daniel was a statement of faith.
But Darius didn't leave it there. The pattern and lifestyle of intercession he had seen in Daniel rubbed off on him, and he immediately began to fast and to pray. He spent the whole night in intercession on Daniel's behalf. The following morning, Darius went to the lion's den. Because a heavy stone had been rolled across the entrance, Darius couldn't see anything so he cried out, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
"Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lionsâ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt."
The very fact that God had vindicated Daniel before the King with such miraculous deliverance was enough for Darius. He immediately gave the order for Daniel to be freed and for the conspirators -- all of them including their wives and children -- to be cast into the den of lions. We're told that "the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den."
The original decree of Darius lasted for only 30 days. Now he issued a new decree -- one without a termination date.
"Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions."
Daniel's intercession had paid off. A new law was passed that favored the people of God and instructed all unbelievers alike to reverence the name of God.
As I noted in our last discussion, God's people cannot and
must not quit praying and interceding. Whether we have a wicked leader or
not, whether we have unrighteous people in power or not, the intercession of
God's people can change the laws and govern the course of affairs in this
nation. Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility before God to pray
for Barack Obama and the
Lots more to come.
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22) Be blessed!
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