Chapter 18 – Daniel in Exile

Trust in God.

We hear and read these words often, yet our own sinful nature doesn’t want to comply.

When confronted with challenges and trials, we often turn to our own abilities or the abilities of others to solve our problems instead of turning to God in faith for help. It seems that we often turn to God only after we have found that our own efforts are not working and we desperately need an answer.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego certainly found themselves in a challenging situation and could have taken the easy way out. Surrounded by unbelievers and commanded by the ungodly King Nebuchadnezzar to worship an idol of gold or face death, these men demonstrated an unshakeable faith in God and refused to worship the idol. When threatened with being tossed into a blazing furnace, they responded in faith that God would deliver them from the furnace. Even more remarkable is that these men were willing to accept death if God did not deliver them from the flames. Their trust in God was so strong they saw their situation as a win-win no matter what happened.

Daniel found himself in equally challenging circumstances. While King Darius had high regard for Daniel’s abilities, he allowed himself to be influenced by those who hated Daniel. Prompted by the other administrators who were jealous of Daniel’s abilities and who conspired against him, King Darius issued a decree that in essence outlawed prayer to God and demanded that everyone worship Darius. Daniel knew of the decree but continued to pray to and worship God. The king, trapped by his own decree, had Daniel thrown into the lion’s den.

We know how this story ends. Daniel was not eaten by the lions. He trusted in God’s perfect justice that no harm would be done to him since he was innocent.

Not only did God save these men but he also demonstrated his power and sovereignty to ungodly kings in such a dramatic way that both King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius acknowledged the power of God. Nebuchadnezzar was moved to issue a decree that nothing was to be said against God and Darius issued a decree that the people of his kingdom were to fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

Even if we are not facing the life-or-death circumstances Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel were confronted with, we daily face the choice of trusting God in all circumstances big or small. God is amazing and blesses us often with good things when we place our trust in him, but what about those “fiery furnace or lion’s den” moments in our own lives when things don’t always happen the way we want them to? The greater test of our faith is in these moments when, like the men in these stories, we trust whatever outcome occurs knowing that God will always have our best interests at heart. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.”

Trust God in all circumstances. He will always be with you.

May God bless you,

Mike

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