The book of Daniel tells us, "The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits" (Dan. 11:32b, NKJV, author's emphasis). The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an exploit as "a notable or heroic act." I get excited about carrying out notable or heroic acts for God, don't you?
Notice it doesn't say that the people who are super spiritual or strong in themselves will do great exploits. No, it's the people who know their God. Apparently, we can get close enough to God to know Him and to do notable and heroic acts for Him. That sounds like good news to me. It sounds like you and I could qualify!
Daniel knew what he was talking about. He was just a young man when he and the Israelites were taken captive from their homeland to the heathen nation of Babylon and forced to assimilate to a foreign culture. When he and his friends risked their lives by standing up to the king and refusing to eat food that God had outlawed, they ended up looking healthier than anyone else, and they were granted more wisdom than anyone in the kingdom (see Dan. 1:1-20).
When they refused to bow down to an idol and were thrown into a fiery furnace as a result, God rescued them, and they didn't even smell like smoke afterward (see Dan. 3:8-27)! In his later life, when Daniel refused to stop praying to God three times a day and was thrown into a den of man-eating lions, God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths so that Daniel was completely unharmed (see Dan. 6:1-28).
All of these notable and heroic acts happened because Daniel knew his God. All through the book of Daniel we see him praying and obeying. He showed us a life of closeness to God, consecrated to knowing Him, and the results were great exploits!
I say, let's get closer and closer to God—let's get to know Him better and better and do some great exploits of our own that bring Him glory and set people free.
We Have It Even Better
As awesome as Daniel was in doing great exploits, he was an Old Covenant child of God. You and I are new covenant children of God, and according to Hebrews 8:6, we have an even better covenant based on even better promises! Do you suppose that means we can do even greater exploits than Daniel did? Jesus said we could in John 14:12 (author's emphasis):
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul said, "[my determined purpose is] that I may know Him" (Phil. 3:10a, AMPC). Now, think about this. Paul didn't say that his determined purpose was to reach most of the known world with the gospel ... though he did that. He didn't say that his determined purpose was to write half the New Testament ... though he did that too. He didn't say that his determined purpose was to perform miracles in the name of Jesus ... even though he did that too!
No, his determined purpose was to know God—to get closer and closer to the Father, and because of that, he did all those other things. It was because he knew God that he reached the known world with the gospel, wrote half the New Testament and did miracles in Jesus' name. His main focus was getting closer to God—and the result was reaching the world with the gospel, writing half the New Testament and performing miracles in Jesus' name.
What might happen in your life and sphere of influence if your determined purpose was to know God? He is ready, willing and able to have the closest relationship possible with you, if you want it. He wants to be known—by you!
Karen Jensen Salisbury has been in ministry over 30 years. Formerly a lead pastor, then an instructor at Rhema Bible College, she is currently an itinerant minister and author of several books. Connect with her on her website, karenjensen.org; Facebook; Instagram or Twitter.
This article was excerpted and adapted from Karen's new book, Closer Than You Ever Imagined: Experiencing the Deep Relationship With God You Always Wanted. To read the first part FREE, preorder your copy or join the Launch Team, click here.
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