Grace over All

The book of Daniel is about God's sovereign grace.

Daniel 5 (7)

Introduction

The book of Daniel is a study in the workings of God’s grace. In particular, we can see how the grace of God works in people, preparing some to know Him, others to become more hardened against Him, and His own people to fulfill their callings as His witnesses. Let’s make sure we don’t miss the lessons God has for us here, lest we be seen to have received the grace of God in vain.

Read Genesis 6.1-3.

Read and Meditate on Daniel 5.

Think it Through
1.  Let’s reflect on what we’ve seen thus far (chapters 1-5) of the grace of God toward Daniel. Meditate on Philippians 2.13. How many different ways can you cite to show that God was at work in Daniel, willing and doing of His good pleasure? Meditate on Philippians 2.12. How would you describe Daniel’s responses to those works of grace? That is, what did Daniel do to “work out” God’s gracious initiatives toward him? What were some of the effects of this? What are you learning from Daniel about the grace of God, about growing in that grace (2 Pet. 3.18), and how grace works within us to help us in our witness for Christ?

2.  Now let’s think about Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Meditate on Matthew 5.43-45. How many different ways can you see that God acted graciously toward each of them? Compare their responses. That God is gracious, even toward those who ignore or despise Him, does not mean that everyone is going to come to know and worship Him. Nor does His being gracious toward them mean that He will not finally consign some to His wrath. God is graciously at work in the lives of the people you see each week, even those who do not know Him. How can you see that? Why is it a good idea to point out to people the many ways that God reaches them with His grace?

Meditate
“We should not suppose, because he said, ‘For it is God that works in you both the willing and the doing,’ that he has taken away free will. For if that were so he would not have said above ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.’ For when he bids them work, it is agreed that they have free will. But they are to work with fear and trembling so that they will not, by attributing the good working to themselves, be elated by the good works as though they were their own.” Augustine (354-430 AD)

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for Hisgood pleasure. Philippians 2.12, 13

Lord, thank You for your grace and Your salvation. Help me work out that salvation today as I…

Pray Psalm 135
We are called to praise and bless the Lord, even though the world scorns Him and us. As you pray this psalm, let the Spirit suggest reasons to praise the Lord (vv. 3-13) and why it is so important to be faithful in your witness for the Lord (vv. 14-18).

Psalm 135 (St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
Praise the Savior, praise Him, for His Name is good;
Sing, for it is pleasant, to our glorious God!
All whom He has chosen and redeemed by grace,
Praise His Name together, praise Him in this holy place!
Refrain v. 1
  Praise the Name of Jesus, you who serve His Word!
  Raise your voice and praise our good and glorious Lord!

Great and sovereign, Jesus rules o’er all above,
Doing as He pleases, sovereign in His love.
Clouds and seas obey Him, lightning, too, and rain;
He the winds brings forth in pow’r and sends them back again.
Refrain

Egypt’s firstborn fell to God’s redeeming pow’r;
Kings and nations crumbled in redemption's hour.
He the land of promise to His people gave;
Thus His Kingdom Jesus gives to all He’s pleased to save.
Refrain

Evermore Your Name, O Savior, shall endure!
Your renown throughout all ages is secure.
For You have compassion, vindicating all
Those who serve Your Name and on Your saving mercy call.
Refrain

Vain the nations serve the idols of their hands;
Mouths and ears they have but cannot understand.
Every idol vain is, lacking life or breath;
All who serve them, like them, shall be lost to lasting death.
Refrain

Bless the Lord you people, all who love the Lord!
Bless Him, you who trust His sovereign, holy Word!
Bless the Lord from Zion, Him Who in it dwells;
Praise Him! Lift your voices, all His grace and glory tell!
Refrain

T. M Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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Where sin obtains, God's goodness is denied.

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