Following into the flames

Daniel 1-3

I love the story of the fiery furnace!  Most of all, I am captivated by Daniel’s prayer at the opening of the book of Daniel:

“Praise the name of God forever and ever,
for he has all wisdom and power.
21 He controls the course of world events;
he removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the scholars.
22 He reveals deep and mysterious things
and knows what lies hidden in darkness,
though he is surrounded by light.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,
for you have given me wisdom and strength.

Daniel didn’t just tell the king what his dream meant — the king wanted a greater sign.  He wanted to authenticate the message behind the foretold meaning of his dream by requiring the prophet to first tell him what the disturbing dream itself contained.  Daniel prayed…and the Lord provided!

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say that of ourselves?  “__________ (insert your name here) prayed, and the Lord provided.”  Some of you may be able to claim that truth for yourselves already.  At the moment the Lord has me sitting on John 15:7, which is, according to the sermon I heard last Sunday, an algebraic equation!

7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!

Daniel was a man of God.  He stuck to the Lord’s commands despite being captured and carried away to Babylon.  How many of us would stay true to our faith if a foreign nation invaded our country and carried us off so that we were separated from our families?  Daniel was faithful to God, even going so far as to refuse to eat the foreign meats and other foods that were not permitted in God’s law.  His friends were also faithful, to the point where they angered the king so much that he threw them in the fiery furnace — but the Lord granted them safety within the fire, and they emerged unharmed.  This single act of the Lord gave His name great respect…and these faithful followers were then granted much power in Babylon’s kingdom.

But before they got the position of leadership, they had to walk through the flames.

There comes a time in following the Lord that we have to decide whether or not we will follow him even if our lives depended on it.  This isn’t as true in this country that touts freedom of religion, but it is true in many other countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith.  Daniels’ friends followed the Lord into the flames.

I pray the Lord will give us courage to do the same when our leaders demand that we worship idols rather that the Lord.

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