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A Commitment to Purity

November 27, Day 330 - Psalm 134; 1 Peter 5; Daniel 1; Daniel 2:1-23

Psalm 134 is a beautiful little song of ascents which was sung by Israelite pilgrims who went up to worship the Lord at the temple in Jerusalem. The Psalmist calls upon “God’s servants to praise Him,” and he directed this Psalm specifically to those who “minister by night in the house of the LORD” (verse 1).  Continual burnt offerings (i.e., which continued through the night) were a requirement of the law (cf., Leviticus 6:8-13; Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:4).  The posture of Israelite praise included “lifting up hands” as a gesture of honor and submission to the wonder and greatness of the “Maker of heaven and earth” (verse 2).  Finally, this brief Psalm concludes with a special blessing for those who were responsible to minister in this way.

In 1 Peter 5, Peter presents the contents of this chapter to elders and pastors - those who “shepherd God’s flock” (verse 2).  Pastors must be highly qualified and must meet God’s high expectations - they must serve willingly and eagerly, they must demonstrate integrity, and they must serve as examples “to the flock” (verse 3).  Humility is also a necessary virtue, as are alertness and sobriety.  Above all, the true “call of God” must precede a shepherd’s pastoral service with an emphasis on “care” (verse 10).  We learn that Peter was accompanied by Silas and Mark at the time of this letter.

In Daniel 1-2, we see Daniel’s initiation to service in Babylon.  We note Daniel’s resolve to live an undefiled life in a pagan and secular culture. As we live today in similar circumstances of self-centeredness and social decadence, Daniel’s commitment to purity within his world is an example for us to follow.  Daniel’s qualities of leadership and service are already present before his arrival in Babylon; his resolution to serve the Lord and do God’s will are neither undermined nor compromised by his obligation to fulfill the expectations of a foreign administration.  We see that God blessed the faith of Daniel and his three friends and gave them “knowledge and understanding” (1:17).  The test of Daniel’s wisdom comes in chapter 2, where we see that Daniel credits “the God of heaven” for His “wisdom and power” and His ability to “change times and seasons” (verses 20-21).  We must recognize that God alone “reveals deep and hidden things,” and He “knows what lies in darkness” (verse 27).

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