Throughout this study in the book of Daniel, we have seen messages of certain hope even when circumstances look bleak. Daniel has been shown that a King and a Kingdom will be restored for Israel, a King and a Kingdom that will last forever and will encompass those from all nations and lands. The glorious grace is that that kingdom is fulfilled in Christ. He is the King whose kingdom will never end. God sets up kings and kingdoms and knocks them down again for His own glory and for the refinement of His people, and God revealed to Daniel that He was Lord over all of the empires that had allowed to capture His people.
However, even as Daniel was aware of God’s providence in both great and small things, Daniel still worked for the welfare and good of the city and the kingdom that he dwelled in. Wait a minute-. Let’s think about that.- This nation had destroyed the temple, taken Daniel and his friends from their homes, and the ruler of this nation threatened their lives, not once, but multiple times. And yet they worked for the welfare of that city. Daniel gained influence because he sought the human flourishing even of those who were trying to literally kill him!
We have been so blessed as a church family, even as many within our congregation have walked through deep waters this year, Jesus has given us hope and blessed us far beyond what we deserve. He has placed us, Refuge City Church, in Dayton. Here in Dayton there are so many whose lives have been ravaged by poverty, addiction, racial and socioeconomic discrimination and injustice, crime, and hopelessness. Our neighbors are in distress, and we have the great blessing of knowing the one who offers a living hope even to the most hopeless. In John chapter 4, we learn of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus goes into a synagogue and there He causes quite the stir by reading the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor”
Tim Keller describes what Jesus says next as “the shortest sermon on record.”(Blessed are the poor, 1998) Jesus simply says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” He is the Good News, for all people, but especially for the poor, who are told by their culture, neighbors, and society that they have no value and nothing to offer. But Jesus spent His life and ministry primarily with the poor, the outcasts and the sick! He offered the message of hope through His own atoning work to all, despite race, class, age, or status.
We know this living hope, and we have this good news! So like Daniel, let us seek to be good citizens of both our heavenly city and of our earthly city. Let us seek the welfare of Dayton, living out our true identity as citizens of the Kingdom that is to come, the Kingdom that shall never be destroyed.
On May 20th we will be hosting a Family Room to discuss principles of how to do mercy ministry with the poor and needy, and to cast vision for how Refuge City Church can proclaim the good news to the poor.
For more info on the Family Room, or to RSVP, please contact Sarah Linhardt via email at: Sarah.Linhardt@gmail.com or by phone at (937) 475.2766