Category Archives: Personal Cultivation

Cultivation Is Worth Dying For

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)

What was the first thing that Daniel did when heard the decree of King Darius ordering the death of any who petitions any god or man other than the king himself? He went home and prayed to God, thus disobeying the king’s decree. The Bible notes that he did this “as was his custom since early days”, indicating that this was not something new for Daniel to do. In fact, these thrice-daily prayers were his usual spiritual cultivation. And these prayers were so important to Daniel that he deemed them worth defying the king for, so important that they were worth dying for.

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The Lord Makes a Difference

But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. (Exodus 11:7)

During the last of the ten plagues, Moses spoke boldly against Pharoah: the Lord will go into the midst of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. This plague was the climax to the story of God’s deliverance of His people, after the Egyptians had undergone lengthy suffering and before Pharoah finally cast the Israelites out of his land in devastation from the loss of his firstborn. At the end, the Lord had gained victory and displayed His majestic powers. The Lord had shown that He does make a difference between the Egyptians and those who He calls His own.

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He Is Righteous and Merciful

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people. (Ex 33:3)

After the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, God said that He would not go with the people, but would send an angel instead. So, God showed the Israelites that their perverseness made this severe punishment necessary for them. However, even in His judgment, He remembered to show mercy to them. The Ten Commandments and related laws defined Israel’s relationship with God. To obey those laws was to act righteously, because such obedience maintained the covenant between God and His people. As David wrote, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Ps 103:7-8).

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