In response to Joel Osteen's sermon,
I want it understood that not everyone is amazing or great and that it is good to be average too. His misuse of the Divine prerogative, "I Am" is not a valid concept
- see Isaiah 47 : 10. And all of his listeners should enjoy his uplifting oratory with their brains engaged. And they should
also help Joel to elevate his level of spirituality by requesting that he
provide biblical insights which will uplift
us all and without the invalid idea of telling everyone that he or she is amazing. If he does this and you all read the Bible together then there
is, in all likelihood the possibility that amazing things will happen around you all,
but you have to stay in reality - God's reality.
More on Joel Osteen
On Sunday, 12/23/12 Joel's message of establishing one's
worry free life on faith in God's ability and willingness to deliver His blessings
included the story of Daniel in the lions'
My personal belief is that applying a vague memory of the childrens'
story version of Daniel which he or she learned 30, 40, 50 or 60 years earlier is a good, Madison Avenue marketing technique. Osteen demonstrated
the value of ejecting worry from one's life and adopting a courageous faith based lifestyle when he provided the image of the sleeping Daniel surrounded by the lions.
However, it is irresponsible to exhort adults to feel that they can be like Daniel when neither the tens of thousands of adults
in the audience or Osteen himself know what was going on in Daniel's life.
Let's look at this episode as responsible adults: Daniel was a vegan. He ate a plant based diet,
and "... would not
defile himself with the portion of the king's food ...." ( Daniel 1 : 8
). He proposed to the chief of the eunichs who provided their food that for 10 days Daniel
and his young men eat only vegetables. " And at the end of 10 days they appeared fairer and fatter in flesh
than all the youths who did eat the portion of the king's fare."
( Daniel 1 : 15 ).
Perhaps Osteen could have chosen the episode of Shadrak, Meshakh and Aved-nego to illustrate that faith brings results. The three men refused to bow and worship Nevukhadnessar's golden idol when
the horns and other instruments were played. So the king had them bound and thrown into a fiery furnace.
Chapter three of the Book of Daniel continues with the king looking astonished as 4 men, one looking like an angel, walked unharmed in the furnace.
Daniel in the lions' den begins in Chapter 6, not with the children's image which
Osteen brings to the minds of his desperate or under educated audience,
but with a new king of Persia, Daryavesh (a.k.a. Darius). The new king likes Daniel and
has already appointed him one of the 120 governors of his kingdom. Daniel being virtuous,
wise, not to mention a prophet,
distinguished himself so that the king wanted to appoint him over the whole realm. The other governors ( satraps
and presidents ) plotted to have Daniel killed. They brought a proclamation for the king to sign which they new would incriminate Daniel. " All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects, and the satraps, the
counsellors, and the governors,
have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whoever makes petition of any God or man for 30 days save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the Lion's den."
( Daniel 6 : 8 ).
Of course, these villains found Daniel praying toward Jerusalem as was his tradition. "Now
when Daniel came to know that the writing was signed, he went into his house; ( now he
had windows open in his chamber towards Jerusalem,
and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his
God, as he did aforetime.)" (Daniel 6 : 11).
The king was distressed, but had to go along with the decree which all of these
men rushed to inform him that Daniel had broken. So Daniel was caste into the lions' den, but the king assured Daniel that "Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will rescue thee ( Daniel 6 : 17 ).
the king then went to his palace and spent the night fasting" ( Daniel 6 : 19). "Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste
to the lions' den. And when he came to the den,
he cried out in a tone of anguish to to Daniel : and the king spoke and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to rescue thee from the lions ? Then
Daniel said to the king, O king, live forever. My God has sent His angel, and has shut
the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: seeing that I was found innocent before
Him; and also before thee, O king, have I done no wrong. Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel
up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the Den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he trusted in
his God (Daniel 6:20 - 24 ).
What Osteen is morally obligated to explain is the actual context of this miracle. Daniel didn't
just wake up one day, hear a sermon on TV and decide he was going to get blessed by refraining
from worry. Chapter 14, verses 12 to 20 of the Book of the Ezekiel should be an eternal reminder for
TV pastors, rabbis and all people interested in earning their redemption, just who Daniel is in the eyes of our God. "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, son of man, when the land sins
against Me by trespassing grievously, then I will stretch out My hand upon it, and will
break its staff of bread, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast
from it: though these three men, Noah, Daniel and
Job were in it, they should only save their own lives by their righteousness, says the
Lord God." So the moral to remember, Joel, is
that God is just and loving and He does provide His Word, the Written Torah to guide mankind
toward righteousness so that they can earn His blessings.
You, Joel need to consider whether you want to be
a marketing man or a genuine teacher of righteousness. When the time of judgment brings mankind's sinning to an end, you will have already benefited from the money you earned from your terrific
performances before millions of people, but the insurance policies you sold them may not have the pay back value they thought they were buying. Now , imagine if you took your
talent and taught your listeners just what God does ask of us in order to earn His blessings.
You would be an amazing teacher of righteousness and one who could bring many to repentance
and deliverance. There is a ancient Chinese adage that a man who is truly free, knows the relationship between his obligations and his destiny. In the Book of Isaiah, chapter 11, verse 3, the messiah is described : " And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord;" If we are taught
to fear and love God and to stay strong and courageous in righteousness, He will indeed
bless us. I would like to see you play your part in promoting a rededication of America to Righteousness.