Day 334

Intimate Connection

Wisdom Psalm 136:1-12
New Testament 1 John 1:1-2:11
Old Testament Daniel 5:17-6:28


Fellowship – it’s a wonderful word. It’s what you were made for. It satisfies the deepest longings of your heart. It is the answer to loneliness. Nothing in this life compares with it. It starts now and goes on for ever.

There is no greater joy in life than fellowship. John wants his readers to enjoy the same fellowship he has: ‘We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!’ (1 John 1:3, MSG).

Koinonia, the Greek word used for fellowship, is almost untranslatable. It expresses ‘a relationship of great intimacy and depth… it even became the favourite expression for the marital relationship – the most intimate between human beings’. It is a rich word that describes a life together in which everything is shared. This is the word that John uses of our intimate relationship with God (v.3).

It also describes our relationship with one another. You can have deep genuine friendships and honest communication. There is no need for masks or ‘spin’ or ‘image’. You can be real before God and before others. The result is a level of authenticity, vulnerability and intimate connection with one another that is best summed up in this beautiful word, ‘fellowship’.


Psalm 136:1-12

Psalm 136

  1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
   His love endures forever.
  2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
   His love endures forever.
  3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
   His love endures forever.

  4 to him who alone does great wonders,
   His love endures forever.
  5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
   His love endures forever.
  6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
   His love endures forever.
  7 who made the great lights —
   His love endures forever.
  8 the sun to govern the day,
   His love endures forever.
  9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
   His love endures forever.

  10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
   His love endures forever.
  11 and brought Israel out from among them
   His love endures forever.
  12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
   His love endures forever.


Thank God

God loves you. We need to be constantly reminded of God’s love for us. Twenty-six times in this psalm the psalmist repeats, ‘His love endures for ever’. Your intimate connection with the Lord is based on his enduring love for you.

Respond by giving ‘thanks’ to God for:

  1. Who he is
    He is the ‘God of gods’ and ‘Lord of lords’ (vv.2–3). He is good (v.1).

  2. What he has made
    He does great wonders. He made the heavens and spread out the earth; he made the sun, the moon and the stars (vv.4–9).

  3. What he has done
    His hand is strong and his arm is outstretched towards you (v.12).


Lord, thank you that your love for me endures for ever.
New Testament

1 John 1:1-2:11

The Incarnation of the Word of Life

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers

3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.


Talk to God

John knew who he was talking about. He knew Jesus Christ personally. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved in a special way (John 13:23), and with whom he had spent a great deal of his time.

John, now an old man, writes that he had ‘heard’, ‘seen’, ‘looked at’ and ‘touched’ Jesus (1 John 1:1). What he had ‘seen’ he wanted to ‘testify’ to and ‘proclaim’, in order that his readers also might have an intimate connection with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ (vv.2–3).

Astonishingly, you too can experience this intimate connection: ‘we saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ’ (v.3, MSG).

How can you have this intimate connection with the Father and the Son?

You are enabled to ‘walk in the light’ because of ‘the blood of Jesus’, which ‘purifies us from all sin’ (v.7). Because of this, even though we are still sinners (v.8), we are offered continual forgiveness for our sins. You are called to this intimate relationship with him, where you can talk to him about your sins and be assured of forgiveness: ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’ (v.9).

The blood of Jesus continually cleanses you in the same way that the combination of your liver and your physical blood continually cleanses your physical body.

The only requirement is that you admit that you have sinned and confess your sins.

Keep short accounts with God. When you sin, quickly confess, repent and receive God’s cleansing. Get up and keep going.

There is an extraordinary balance here. We are not supposed to sin, but rather to walk in the light. However, we have all sinned and, ‘if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives’ (v.10).

This leads to a wonderful combination: John both encourages his readers not to sin, while at the same time assuring them of God’s grace and mercy if they do (2:1). This balance of a call to holiness alongside grace is right at the heart of the Christian life.

Amazingly, when we mess up, Jesus is our ‘advocate’ (KJV), our divine defence lawyer: ‘we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One’ (v.1).

It is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for you that makes it possible for you to be able to talk to the Father and the Son in the intimate relationship of ‘fellowship’ (1:3). You are called to know God (2:4) and to experience his love for you (v.5). ‘Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived’ (v.6, MSG).

Part of this is seen in our connection with one another in the Christian community. ‘If we walk in the light... we have fellowship with one another’ (1:7). A clear conscience, love, obedience, intimacy with God and intimacy with one another all go hand in hand.


Lord, thank you for the amazing privilege of being able to have fellowship with you and with one another through your blood shed for us on the cross.
Old Testament

Daniel 5:17-6:28

17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendour. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.

22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honour the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

25 “This is the inscription that was written:

    mene, mene, tekel, parsin

26 “Here is what these words mean:

  Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
  27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
  28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Daniel in the Den of Lions

6 It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three chief ministers over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the chief ministers and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the chief ministers and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

6 So these chief ministers and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! 7 The royal ministers, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:

  “May you prosper greatly!

  26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

   “For he is the living God
    and he endures forever;
   his kingdom will not be destroyed,
    his dominion will never end.
   27 He rescues and he saves;
    he performs signs and wonders
    in the heavens and on the earth.
   He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.


Trust God

Daniel enjoyed close intimate connection with God. He is a wonderful example of someone who had total and complete trust in the Lord. He refuses to accept Belshazzar’s gifts (5:17). Be careful about simply accepting gifts from anyone. Daniel did not want to compromise his position.

Belshazzar’s sins were: first, pride (v.20) – he did not humble himself (v.22); second, arrogance (v.20) – he set himself up against the Lord of heaven (v.23); and third, idol worship – praising gods of silver and gold (v.23).

Daniel is a superb example of a Christian politician. It is not just that his intelligence completely outclassed the others. What really made him stand out was his integrity. When they tried to find an old scandal or skeleton they could not find anything: ‘He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. They could find no evidence of negligence or misconduct’ (6:4, MSG).

Not all of us can distinguish ourselves as Daniel did (v.3), but we can all have an ‘excellent spirit’ (v.3, AMP). Seek to be trustworthy in your work, and to be honest and careful, ‘neither corrupt nor negligent’ (v.4). Be faithful in your work and most importantly be faithful in your relationship with God.

Daniel was one of the top three men in the country and he had great responsibility. He had an extremely busy, time-consuming job. Yet he managed to find the time to pray three times a day.

Daniel had lived in Babylon for many years by this stage and his attitude to the state is very interesting. He played his full part. He obeyed all the laws. His accusers knew this. They realised that the only way to attack him was to make up a law that went against God – so they made it illegal to pray (vv.5–7). Daniel had no hesitation in disobeying that command openly (v.10).

Talking to God is inextricably linked with trusting in him. Fellowship with God was the number one priority in Daniel’s life. He continued to pray just as he always had done. He refused to compromise. He did not even try to hide the fact he was praying. He kept the windows open as he had done before – so that all could see.

Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. The whole story seems to foreshadow the last period of Jesus’ life:

  • Jealousy led to false accusations against him
  • His enemies were unable to find any basis for a charge
  • In the end they resorted to a religious charge
  • A reluctant and weak king was persuaded to take some action he did not really want to take
  • The great courage of Daniel foreshadowed the supreme courage of Jesus.
  • The rescue by God foreshadowed the resurrection
  • Even the empty tomb seems to be foreshadowed: ‘A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it… At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den’ (vv.17,19).

The key to the whole story is Daniel’s complete trust in God. This made him fearless. It is said that the lions did not eat Daniel ‘because he was grit and backbone’! He served God continually (vv.16,20), and was recognised and thought of as a servant of the living God (v.20). He was at God’s disposal every moment of the day.

Resist the pressure to compromise. Keep trusting God even when everything seems to go wrong. Have the courage to be different.


Lord, help me to keep walking in an intimate relationship of connection with you – thanking you, talking to you and trusting in you.

Pippa adds

Looking at Daniel 5 and 6, we need more people like him to be advisers to our leaders in this day and age. It is impressive that Daniel was so loyal to Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, but he did not compromise his faith. He followed God first and was a politician and an adviser second.

Verse of the Day

Daniel 6:23

‘When Daniel was lifted from the lion’s den, no wound was found on him because he had trusted in his God’



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William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich (eds) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (University of Chicago Press, 1957), p.439.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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