My commands are not burdensome

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – 1 John 5:1-5

If ever we are to find a wonderful example of the proof of these opening verses from 1 John 5 it would be in our passage from Daniel 1.

Kind Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies were expanding their empire west, and tiny Judah was swallowed up almost without resistance. The Babylonians were fairly generous as conquerors and only took a few of the brightest young men from the Judah’s most prominent families as captives. One of them was Daniel who would have only been a teenager at the time.

Having seen his nation conquered, temple desigrated and taken off into captivity (v2) it would have been easy for Daniel and the other young men to be demoralised and give up on God and to accept the gods and ways of their Babylonian conquerors. The Babylonians did everything they could to change these men from narrow minded Israelites who worshiped the Lord God  into sophisticated Babylonians who worshiped the victorious gods of Babylon. They took Daniel over a thousand kilometres from his family and religious community and changed his name from Daniel (which means “God is my Judge”) to Belteshazzar (“May Bel (a Babylonian God) preserve the king”). He was trained in a new tongue and studied the science, religion and politics of Babylon instead of the law of God.

But despite all this pressure to conform to their new environment, Daniel and his companions resolved not turn their backs on God.  It would not have been easy for them. The first crisis for Daniel came when he had Babylonian cuisine set before him to eat – there was a bigger problem than pork chops and other foods prohibited under the food laws in the Old Testament. The animals killed for the king’s household were first offered as sacrifices to pagan idols and therefore if he and his companions were to eat them they would be participating in idolatry – the sin that had brought God’s judgement on his people in the first place. So Daniel, politely refused to eat and offered his hosts a wise alternative plan – feed us vegetables for ten days and if we look any thinner or sicker than those who ate the king’s food, they would join them at the banquet table.

Here and throughout the book of Daniel we see how his faithfulness in following the Lord’s commandments are rewarded. These passages should help inspire us daily to faithfully grab hold onto the Lord’s commands despite the cost as we face the pressures of a hostile world. So like John and Daniel we can also testify “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Stay faithful daily readers

Glenn B

 

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3 thoughts on “My commands are not burdensome

  1. Hi Glenn, Thanks for your reminder to stay faithful (daily readers lol). It’s so easy to get swept up in the hubbub, hype and flashing lights of excitement. We would even be tempted in our Christian practice to read the latest book instead of the old bible or go for the most exciting church service and overlook the less-sexy orthodox practices of simply gathering and reading God’s Word. It’s a timely reminder that faith is not always seen but it’s always essential.

  2. Thanks Glenn. It is so easy to be distracted from God’s ways. We are holidaying in far north Qld and using FDR to be our daily food. It is great to hear from you today Glenn!

  3. Thank you Glenn. The only reason that following the ways of Christ are not burdensome is only because of the love that a Christian has for Jesus. The Christian walk is filled with hard work and discipline but if we have understood deep in our hearts all that Jesus has done for us it will be a joy to live under His Lordship. Of course all the commands are tied up in two. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and strength and love your neighbour as yourself. And when our load seem to feel heavy we can ask Jesus to help us. He is always around to help us through the Holy Spirit.

    Heard this from a sermon I was listening to yesterday by Colin Smith:
    The life of a church can not be sustained by hard work, moral integrity and doctrinal orthodoxly alone. The life of the church and therefore the life of the Christian is sustained only through a vibrant love for Jesus Christ. Loose that and you loose everything, you will be left with only a shell.

    May the Holy Spirit bring us back to our first love – Jesus.

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