This Sunday, we will be gathering with other Christians to encourage them and be encouraged by them, and we will be studying Daniel 11 together.
Admit My Need To Prepare
We all enter on Sundays with worries and strains. We have things we are looking forward to that are happening after worship or sometime in the next week. They can make it hard to fully participate in worship — to listen closely, to join in prayer silently, to sing, and to care for others.
Join the Psalmist in considering our need as we approach Yahweh, the One True God and Creator of the Universe:
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Ps. 24:3-5 ESV)
We want to receive the blessing from the LORD, but…
- Actions: Who has perfectly clean, innocent hands — who can say there’s nothing they’ve done against God’s will?
- Thoughts: Who has an innocent heart with no hardness or selfish thoughts?
- Idolatry: Who has kept God as the highest priority of their soul in every moment and refused to submit to coveting, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5)?
- Honesty: Which of us has been perfectly honest refusing to permit misleading ideas?
REFLECTION QUESTION: Is there any thought or action that I have done for which I need to repent and be forgiven?
Ask For The Father’s Help
We know we need God’s help, and our only hope of the righteousness we need to approach the throne boldly is the covering provided by Christ. Join the Psalmist in begging for God’s teaching and mercy!
“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame …
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;”
“Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.”
“Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!”
Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
“For your name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.”
From Psalms 25:1-11 (ESV, excerpts)
We thank God that He has made us a way for us to be drawn near to Christ:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13 (ESV)
Let’s go to worship knowing we do not deserve it because of our own power. Instead, we have been given the gift of rescue and forgiveness by God who worked through Jesus to bring us near, so we can approach with boldness and confidence knowing he is trustworthy. (Ephesians 3:12)
REFLECTION QUESTION: What is something the Father has forgiven you of or taught you recently? How can you offer praise and thanks to him?
Prepare To Pray Together
Every Sunday at North Wake Church, we approach the throne through singing, through silent corporate prayers for our Far Flung Families, and through the preaching of the Word.
Father, prepare me to sing the songs to you accepting the help of our worship leaders to truly sing, worship, and pray with meaning. Prepare me to focus on the Far Flung Families: servants you have scattered abroad to teach the gospel which leads to repentance, forgiveness of sin, and trust in Jesus’s name.
REFLECTION QUESTION: How can I think of singing with others in church as part of my prayer life? How can I make it more enjoyable and more God-focused?
Prepare To Hear From God
On this Sunday, July 4, 2021, our preaching will focus on Daniel 11 which is part of the final vision of Daniel. This passage predicts kingdoms, but was written 400-500 years before the actions take place.
First, remember that Paul teaches us that God is sovereign over people in power; God establishes kingdoms and removes them when he chooses.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1 (ESV)
Second, we are promised that every scripture has value for us personally, and so we beg God to keep his promises to us.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
Third, we learn that God is not surprised as men are; he has a comprehensive knowledge of the future. The events of Daniel 11 were prophecies when they were written, and through God’s power, they are now history. In fact, the predicted triumph of “the wise among the people” (Daniel 11:33-35) was part of Jesus’s life. During that time it was called the “Feast of Dedication,” and now it is called “Hannukah” (John 10:22).
One key purpose, as written by scholar Mitchell Chase, is,
for the historical detail to overwhelm the reader with the assurance of God’s sovereignty and meticulous guidance of this world. God does not make educated guesses about the future; he decrees it.
Scottish teacher Matthew Henry writes of the kingdoms described in Daniel 11:
See what decaying, perishing things worldly pomp and possessions are, and the power by which they are gotten. God, in his providence, sets up one, and pulls down another, as he pleases. This world is full of wars and fightings, which come from men’s lusts. All changes and revolutions of states and kingdoms, and every event, are plainly and perfectly foreseen by God. No word of God shall fall to the ground; but what he has designed, what he has declared, shall infallibly come to pass. While the potsherds of the earth strive with each other, they prevail and are prevailed against, deceive and are deceived; but those who know God will trust in him, and he will enable them to stand their ground, bear their cross, and maintain their conflict.
To appreciate the level of prophetic detail that became historical reality, check out the names and dates in the “ESV Global Study Bible” at https://ESV.org/Daniel11:1
REFLECTION QUESTION: Read Daniel 11. Since God sets up and tears down kingdoms and nations, allowing both evil and good, how should I think and talk about elected leaders?
Prepare To Encourage Others
God who writes the future has told us that Jesus is going to come back! The writer of Hebrews tells us our knowledge that God holds eternity should inspire us to gather together in person and to show loving encouragement to one another.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
REFLECTION QUESTION: What is something I could do that would be an encouragement to someone I gather with on Sunday? Pray to God for the strength to do it.