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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Supreme Vocation

Daniel 10:1-21

From the tenth chapter of the Book of Daniel I want to take just this fragment from the nineteenth verse:

"And he said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong."

And I want to add to that, for later purposes, two fragments from the New Testament:

"Withal praying for us also, that God may open unto us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ" (Col. 4:3).

"We would fain have come unto you, I Paul once and again; and satan hindered us" (1 Thess. 2:18).

An Expression of the Heart of God

"O man greatly beloved." The actual and implied content of that declared approbation of Daniel comprehends a very great deal of the whole revealed heart of God. There is no doubt that it is a heart expression, and it is the expression of the heart of God. "O man greatly beloved." "Thou art greatly beloved" (9:23). Three times was that said to Daniel, and when we have the Lord speaking like that there must be a very great reason for it, and very great content in it. It is not just some emotional overflow of sentiment. God does not waste Himself like that, however kind He might want to be. If God says a thing like that, there is much behind it and very much in it. This declaration gathers up many of the major features connected with God's relationship with man, and man's relationship with God. If I indicate just two or three of these features, it will be immediately seen how true what I have just said really is.

Vocational Love

For instance, we have in the statement the tremendous truth that it is possible for a man - or let me use the larger term - for man to advance beyond the wonder of redeeming love, which is no small thing, to something even more - a vocational love, where, because of man's fellowship with God's purpose, Heaven may attest him in such language: "Thou are greatly beloved." Now, that is not peculiar to Daniel. That is a great Bible truth - it is something in the Bible. It is positively immense that an archangel, right out from Heaven, should be battling his way through to reach this man, and be saying, in effect, "Heaven's estimate of you, Daniel, is a very great one. In Heaven you stand in a position of very high value." "Thou art greatly beloved." I say that is something beyond, much beyond even the wonder of redeeming love. We feel that  redeeming love itself is more than we can grasp. It is beyond us; it gets us out of our depth. Redeeming love is our theme, our song, and we say it will be so for eternity. And yet here is a love of God and Heaven toward a man which goes beyond redeeming love. It is what I have called vocational love: the love which lights in a peculiar way upon that which serves God's ultimate purpose.

We say: 'Can there be anything more glorious than redeeming love for man - anything more wonderful than man standing in the love of God redemptively?' That you and I, knowing even the little that we do know about ourselves, should be compassed about by redeeming love - that man, such as he is, should be in such a position - is nothing short of marvelous. And yet there is something more, after redeeming love. It is a love which relates to the purpose of God served, God satisfied as to His purpose. Notice that it is man again; this is the word that we shall emphasize and underline all the way through. And Heaven is declaring, angels and archangels are speaking for God concerning man: "Thou art greatly beloved", "O man greatly beloved". Is that a theme? That is only one thing included in the statement. We may see much more of what that means.

Intelligence As To God's Purpose

We note another feature gathered into this declaration - the immense importance and value of being a part of God's heavenly intelligence system. Perhaps that sounds strange, but that is what is here. Notice how repeatedly the thought occurs of Daniel knowing, understanding, having understanding, being in the knowledge of things, having intelligence as to God's purpose and the meaning and portent of the present situation. If God finds someone like that in that position, that someone or that instrument is of tremendous value to the Lord. It was that intelligence, that knowledge, that understanding, that spiritual insight, which led to this - "thou art greatly beloved." It was because of that that all the other followed. What a tremendous thing it is to have spiritual understanding and intelligence, to be in what I have called "Heaven's intelligence system", being "in the know" as to God's thoughts and intentions. It must be noted here that, in the case of Daniel, this included light through the Word of God. He had been studying the scriptures, and he received light through the Word. We shall perhaps see more of this later.

Heaven-Affecting Prayer

Take a third thing included in this declaration - the basis and nature of that kind of prayer which reaches beyond temporal things and touches the whole spiritual order, setting in motion the powers of Heaven, celestial and diabolical. If we read the whole chapter, we shall see that that is what is there.  That goes beyond our temporal affairs and matters, our personal and private things, the things of everyday life. They are very important, those requests which relate to the details of life; but this goes beyond the temporal and beyond the earthly. It touches the whole spiritual background of this world, and sets angels in action and Heaven on the move - and satan, furious to combat, resist, withstand, frustrate. Is that a small thing? But that is a great Bible subject, not peculiar to Daniel.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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