As Did Daniel

Friday, April 26, 2013, 6:37 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Nothing Can Separate Us” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Daniel 6 (NIV):

The Administrators

Darius was king. He appointed 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, and he appointed 3 administrators over the satraps. Daniel was one of the three administrators appointed by Darius. Because of Daniel’s exceptional qualities, the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. This didn’t set very well with the other administrators or with the satraps. It sounds like they were envious, i.e. jealous of him. So, they devised a plan to try to find grounds for charges against Daniel, but their planned backfired, i.e. there were no grounds. He was completely trustworthy. So, they had to come up with a Plan B. And, they did!

In Plan B they went to the king and talked him into issuing an edict and to enforcing “the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to” the king should be thrown into a den of lions. The decree, once in effect, could not be altered and could not be repealed by law. So, the king listened to his advisers and did what they recommended. Bad, bad decision!

Now, I love this next part!!

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.

Awesome! He did not bow to the gods of men! He did not back down in his faith. He didn’t cower in fear and deny his God out of fear for his life. He continued to do what was his practice to do every day, and he did so without fear of reprisal, because he put his trust in Almighty God! Amen!!

So, these evil conspirators went as a group and found Daniel doing what they knew, apparently, was his daily practice. They found him praying and asking God for help. So these sneaky fellas went to the king and told on Daniel. The king obviously admired and respected Daniel or he would not have been considering putting the whole land underneath his authority. So, it distressed him greatly that he had been talked into issuing such an edict and that he was thus bound by law to carry it out against Daniel. Yet, the king did everything he knew to do to try to save Daniel, but to no avail. The law must stand! The men even had the gall to go to the king to remind him that his edict could not be changed, as though he needed that reminder.

The Lion’s Den

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!”

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. 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.

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 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?”

Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 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.”

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.

Awesome! Don’t you just love it? God protected him from the lions’ mouths just like he protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. In both cases they came out unharmed as a testimony to God’s saving grace and to their trust in God.

Our Example(s)

So, should we take this story as a promise from God Almighty that if we put our faith and hope in Jesus Christ that no harm will ever come to us? NO! Why do I say that? Let me give you some examples from the New Testament, Jesus Christ being the prime example.

Jesus Christ, God the Son (sinless) was often criticized for his ministry, was accused of being Satan and/or of Satan and of his demons, and thought crazy by his family members who were embarrassed for him. Isaiah prophesied about him that he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with suffering, like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised and rejected of men. His own disciples did not believe him part or half of the time, his brothers definitely didn’t believe him and mocked him, and the religious leaders of his day (and of his religion/faith) were continually on his tail trying to trip him up and to find some cause to accuse him to the people, and they were all the time attacking him for ministering to people’s needs on the Sabbath.

Then the religious leaders conspired against him, one of his disciples betrayed him into their hands, the other disciples and his closest companions all fled, deserted and abandoned him, and one of them vehemently denied him three times when asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. He was arrested and falsely accused, although he had committed no wrong (no sin was found in him). He was given a bogus trial. He was mocked, spat upon, ridiculed, beaten and then hung on a tree to die as though he was a common criminal. Those who had once waved palm branches and sang his praises were now shouting “Crucify him!”

When he died he took upon himself the sins of the entire world. But, praise God he did not remain dead. He rose from the dead triumphant over the grave, death, Satan and sin. Amen! He conquered sin so that we could be free from slavery to sin day-to-day, and so we could be free from the penalty of eternal damnation, and so we could be free to walk in freedom, fellowship, holiness, righteousness, faithfulness and obedience to our God. That is awesome! “Oh what fellowship; oh what joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms” of Jesus!

Trust in God

Since that time, many of Jesus’ followers throughout history have had to endure similar suffering, persecution and even death for their testimonies for Jesus Christ. Jesus promised us that we would be hated as he was hated, and that we would have to endure much of the same type of suffering he went through on our behalf, and because of his name, and because of our testimony for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, there may be times when he may physically rescue us from situations and from harm, but we should not count on it or expect that to be the norm, especially if we are out sharing the true gospel every day. And, we should know that if we are not rescued like Daniel was that it does not mean necessarily that we are not putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, though it could mean that at times.

Yet, even if he does not rescue us physically from harm or even emotionally from persecution and hatred against us, know that he is with us always if we are his true followers and disciples. He will never leave us or forsake us. And, nothing can ever separate us from his love! We are conquerors through him who loves us!! He will give us all we need to endure suffering, persecution, and attacks from the enemy; to combat fear, and to continue to stand strong in our faith, as did Daniel, even in the face of great opposition.

Nothing Can Separate Us / An Original Work / March 28, 2013

Based off Romans 8:28-39

Nothing can separate us
From Christ’s love now within us:
Not trouble, hardship, nor famine,
Nor danger, nor sword.
No, in all of these things
We are more than conquerors!

For your sake we face hardship.
We are sheep to be slaughtered.
I am convinced that death,
Nor life, nor anything else
Will separate us from
The love of God now in Christ.

What, then, shall we say to this?
God for us: who against us?
He who did not spare His Son
But gave Him for us all –
How will He not, with Him,
Graciously give us all things?

Who brings a charge against us?
God justifies His chosen.
Who is He that condemns?
Christ Jesus; died, rose again.
He’s at the right hand of God,
Interceding for us.