Wednesday, May 19, 2010

He Did Not

We were blessed last night to attend graduation at Crown Southwest-Norris Seminary. Several of our church friends – and our daughter! – received their Certificates in Biblical Studies. What a blessing it is for our church to have such a large group trained to teach!

A double blessing, for Dr. A. V. Henderson spoke at the commencement. If you have not heard him, may the Lord have blessed you in other ways. Past ninety, this man of God can hold an audience through every word. I have heard others state that he expects preachers to be able to get their message across in twenty minutes. He does, and leaves us wanting to hear more.

His message last night was from the first chapter in Daniel. Read the passage, I won’t go into the whole story. This morning, re-reading it, I want to focus on the first part of one verse.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself …[Daniel 1:8 KJV]

He did not hear a voice from God, as Samuel did.

That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. [1 Samuel 3:4 KJV]

He did not become blind from God’s visit, as Paul did.

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? [Acts 9:4 KJV]

He did not ask the Lord for an understanding heart, as Solomon did.

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? [1 Kings 3:9 KJV]

He didn’t go to a family member, for none were left near him. The Bible doesn’t say that he discussed it among his fellow royal prisoners, either. The verse clearly stated that Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”

There were no promise rings, there were no special robes, there were no outward signs of his decision. He requested that the prince set over him simply allow him a different diet from that sacrificed to idols.

We don’t have to go that far. We can purpose in our hearts that we will not partake of that which defiles us. We choose what goes into our minds, into our hearts. We choose what we hear and what we see. We can purpose in our hearts that what we see, what we do, what we take into our lives does not defile us.

Why don’t we? It’s easier not to. It is much easier to keep quiet at the off color joke. To just ignore the lyrics though they are degrading to women. To look past the suggestive photography of the beauty pageant. It is harder to make a conscious decision to refute them and request a replacement that edifies rather than defiles.

Except for the verse, this wasn’t a part of Dr. Henderson’s message to the graduates. And, if you read that first chapter, it might not be the message you receive from those verses. God speaks to us individually through His word, when we listen.

Purpose in your heart to do so. It is to your advantage.

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