Tuesday 11 October 2016
Hello to you, wherever you are on Planet Earth: France; China; the United Kingdom; Brazil; Poland or New Zealand? The reality is that people from all over the world are visiting this website. People just like you and me, who are looking around and wondering what is happening to our world. Are you in a dreadful, situation right now? Or do you ever lie awake at night wondering how you will cope as the situation becomes dangerous in your corner of the world? We pray this week's writing may be of use to you.
The Bible has some really good examples of what to do, and how to behave when you are threatened, when your times of propserity and bright hope are dimmed.
Remember Daniel in the Old Testament? Have you heard about Daniel in the lions' den? The time when Daniel's political and spiritual enemies schemed to have Daniel killed?
Nothing much has changed in human nature has it? Evil schemers are all around us today, in all walks of life. Why? Because they are being used by the "adversary", whom we know as Satan. Weaker human beings who are used by Satan are simply those poor souls who have not yet searched for and connected with God. Their harmful thoughts and acts are one example of the great controversy between Satan and Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. The Bible tells us these people are deluded, and enjoy scheming and manipulating but they will not get away with this as God will bring their fears upon them. Pray for them. You can find this text in Isaiah 66: 3-4.
Daniel trusted God wholeheartedly, this was his secret of success. Daniel had always prayed earnestly to God, on his knees and at his window, three times a day. He rose to a high position in the government of King Darius of the Medes and Persians because the King could see that Daniel was a man of "good spirit". Daniel was actually one of three governors of the land and the King was thinking of appointing Daniel above all others. Envy and hatred sparked in the hearts of his enemies.
His enemies drafted a new law and tricked the King into signing and sealing the decree. Under this new decree people were not allowed to pray to any god or man for 30 days, because worship must only be given to the King! Those who broke the new law would be thrown into the lions' den and eaten alive!
STOP! What would you do?
(a) Stop praying because you feared for your life?
(b) Plead with the King to change his law because you are one of his most trusted advisers?
(c) Carry on just as you are, praying and trusting in God?
We think we know ourselves, but in a time of trouble, how will we respond?To be honest, I wouldn't trust myself. As I lie awake in bed at night thinking on these things, I always think of Peter and his bold words in the New Testament books of Matthew, Luke and John. Peter said he would NEVER betray Jesus Christ. But Jesus knew better. Jesus knew Peter would betray him, THREE times.
Daniel chose option C. He carried on just as he was, praying three times a day and trusting in God. That's a good tip for us - keep on obeying God's law and trusting in Him.
So the King and Daniel found themselves in a weird situation. The King was very displeased with himself and set his heart on freeing Daniel from the dreadful decree. But there was no escape. The law of the land, the Medes and the Persian law, stated that a decree could not be undone.
Daniel was thrown into the lions' den that night and a strong stone put over the mouth of the den.
All night long the King was sleepless, sorry and heartbroken that he had been tricked into signing the new decree. He rose very early and went down to the lion's den, crying out sadly, hoping that Daniel's God had saved him from the lions.
What do you think happened? Daniel was alive! The lions did not eat him! God sent His angel into the lions' den and shut the lions' mouths!
The King was so very, very glad. He commanded Daniel be brought up and everyone was amazed to find there was not one scratch on Daniel!
Can you imagine what happened to the schemers? They were thrown to the lions. I know, best not to think about that.
King Darius was so amazed, that he made a decree throughout the land that God was to be honoured. The King realised that God had the power to save, just as God has the power to save today. Did you notice how God let Daniel go THROUGH the trouble? That's another good tip for today's world - we can learn a lot by God helping us struggle THROUGH a trouble.
And so, we can be very encouraged by these quotes from a book titled, "Prophets and Kings", authored by Ellen White in the nineteenth century, about Daniel in the lion's den:
"God did not prevent Daniel's enemies from casting him into the lions' den; He permitted evil angels and wicked men thus far to accomplish their purpose; but it was that He might make the deliverance of His servant more marked, and the defeat of the enemies of truth and righteousness more complete. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee" (Psalm 76:10), the psalmist has testified. Through the courage of this one man who chose to follow right rather than policy, Satan was to be defeated, and the name of God was to be exalted and honored." P544, 545
"From the story of Daniel's deliverance we may learn that in seasons of trial and gloom God's children should be just what they were when their prospects were bright with hope and their surroundings all that they could desire. Daniel in the lions' den was the same Daniel who stood before the king as chief among the ministers of state and as a prophet of the Most High. A man whose heart is stayed upon God will be the same in the hour of his greatest trial as he is in prosperity, when the light and favor of God and of man beam upon him. Faith reaches to the unseen, and grasps eternal realities." P545
We all know there are “weird situations” today, and more coming, and that is exactly where Daniel and the King found themselves. Today as in Daniel's day, our only hope is knowing that God is the real King, and He is in charge of the entire universe, and has given us His truthful laws in the Ten Commandments. The true God is not caught out by anybody or any situation. Always remember, there are two realities – this world and unseen worlds looking in. We are caught up in the controversy between Jesus Christ and Satan.
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23
Most of us have heard the wonderful outcome of this story. Yet the glory of God saving Daniel never fades. Oh, how it glows in wonder, beyond our little human understanding! Imagine how much we will have to learn, if we remain faithful and get to heaven!
Let's take a second to thank God for being longsuffering and that he has instructed his angels to hold back the winds of strife until his faithful true people alive today are sealed in their foreheads. This simply means that the people who TRULY want to be a follower and a child of God have woken up from a worldly sleep, have chosen to be open to learn about God, asked for His guidance and made sure they know what they believe IN THEIR MINDS AND HEARTS!
Thank you for your time today! Please share with anyone you believe will benefit.