Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘fiery furnace’

Daniel for Our Day

Reading a book of the Bible in one sitting gives amazing perspective.  A view of the forest which we miss out on if we dive in prematurely. (Pardon the mixed metaphor.) The book of Daniel has amazing messages for today.  No, I’m not thinking primarily of all the prophesies with their strange creatures and the endless back-and-forth battles of the kings of the North and the South. 

Daniel is well-known in Sunday School stories, especially for his escape from the lion’s den and his friends’ from the fiery furnace.  But what is the significance of these stories and how do they fit together with each other and the other chapters of this book?  Too often “Bible stories” are told without showing how they fit into God’s one great story.

So what is Daniel all about?  Think of the three tests of faithfulness—refusing to eat the king’s food, worship the king’s image, or pray to the king instead of to God. 

Think of the three kings of this book who were forced to acknowledge that their power was nothing compared to God’s.  That their kingdoms could be removed like a puff of dust in the face of God’s eternal kingdom and almighty sovereignty which will demolish and outlast them all. 

This encourages me today when faced with arrogant rulers or powerful pressures to conform.  Like Daniel, I am a citizen of that Eternal Kingdom that will outlast them all.  I determine to be courageous and faithful like he was. 

Standing by a purpose true,
Heeding God’s command,
Honor them, the faithful few!
All hail to Daniel’s band!

Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known.

The First Test

A man of courage, principle and prayer—Daniel.  He’s been brought to my attention both in my work (checking a translation of that book) and in our pastor’s sermon today. 

Daniel and his friends passed through a series of tests to see whether they would stay true to God or cave in to pressure.  Most well-known of these are the fiery furnace experience that followed their refusal to worship an idol, and the lions’ den experience that followed Daniel’s faithfulness to the outlawed practice of prayer.

But maybe the very first test was the most crucial—the matter of their diet. These young men had just been kidnapped from their home in Judah and brought far away to Babylon to be trained for service in the king’s court.  And here was this great food being served up for them.  Woops!  Not kosher. Just a small thing?  Not for them.  These young men had been carefully taught values that stayed with them even when they left home. If they had caved in under the pressure of this one thing, would they have had the gumption later on to refuse to bow to an idol?   

I pray that I, and those I love, will be strong in the “little things” and then strengthened by that to stand firm when the bigger tests come.  May we be people of prayer and faithfulness, courage and conviction!

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