A couple things stood out to me in our Daniel passage today.
First, I wonder if Daniel's three friends had the courage to take their stand against the King because of seeing Daniel stand up to the King earlier by refusing the food sacrificed to idols, and giving all glory to God for revealing the dream and its interpretation? I'm sure it helped! Daniel's courage didn't affect only himself, but it inspired and emboldened his friends to do the same.
How we live matters. It affects those around us - directly and indirectly. Are we living in a manner that will inspire others to be godly and courageous?
Quite possibly my favourite verses in all the Bible are these.....
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so,our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
They had no doubt in God's power and ability to save. But they did not know what the will of God was in this manner. It is clear from the Bible that God always chooses to act in the way that will most glorify His name. But we don't always know which choice will do that - only He does. They knew He could, they just didn't know if He would. THAT is faith. THAT is courage!
Nebuchadnezzar seems to have a temporary respect for God - but it is clear that it is simply an emotional response to the miracle he witnessed and not something that he actually took to heart, as we see from chapter 4. Even after God warns him through yet another dream and interpretation, he merely brushes it off. Until God humbles him in a spectacular fashion. Pride is so destructive!
Rayburn: Our pride renders us dull to the Lord’s goodness, kindness and forbearance. Let us respond more quickly. Our pride places excessive value on ourselves and our achievements. Let us repent. Our pride stymies us from giving all credit and praise to Him. Let us return thanks – remembering…..
The Lord is not out to humiliate us as He did Nebuchadnezzar. He is not out to hurt our pride. He is out to destroy it before it destroys us. For surely it will. It has a voracious appetite; nothing about us is more ambitious. It is not only His enemy it is our own menacing, undaunted enemy and the chief cause of many of our miseries. Eternity is at stake.
I appreciated Rayburn's sermon on Revelation 6. I find Revelation to be overwhelming and, at times, confusing and, quite frankly, scary.
Some of his thoughts: mere human beings will never be able to explain the ways of God in anything other than the most general way. We know far too little of what God is doing and why to explain the course of events in the world or in any life in the world. Our minds are far too small; we see far too little of what is really happening; we can’t see where it is all going and how it is all to be resolved.
But again, answering those kinds of questions is not now John’s point. His point is to assert the truth that lies in the foundation of any true understanding of the world and its history: viz. that it is all under God’s control. God is not asking, Christ is not asking to be taken off the hook, to be excused for what is happening in the world. The Devil is doing great evil as he rages against the kingdom of God, to be sure – the Bible often enough describes that evil and shows us the devil doing it and we will see more of his evil in Revelation –; man is doing great evil and making matters so much worse for himself – that too is obvious and a frequent teaching of Holy Scripture –; but above and behind it all, waging war for the world and the souls of men, using and exploiting the Devil’s hatred of all that is good and man’s selfish clamoring for his own interests at the expense of others, is the plan and purpose of God, written as it is in that scroll the seals of which the Lamb is breaking one by one.
Wars, famine, disease – all the heartbreak of human life (including all of your heartbreak, trouble and sorrow) – and the persecution of the church and her struggles in a world of sin and enmity toward God and Christ, all of this is about what God is doing in the world in the interest of salvation and judgment. It is all leading up to and preparing for the consummation of all things at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.....Every trial you undergo as a Christian, every difficulty that you face as a human being, it is in every case a piece of this larger drama of salvation and judgment. Your life as a Christian, for that matter every single human life on the face of the earth, is what it is because the Lamb of God is breaking the seals of the scroll one by one.
Lamb of God come!
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Daniel 5-7; Revelation 7