Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Devotions - Courage in Captivity

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility  young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.[b] The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. Daniel 1:3-7

Our church held our Vacation Bible School this week with the theme Daniel's Courage in Captivity. One of the college age girls from the community dressed up like Daniel and talked to the kid's about 'his life' in Babylon. It was fun for me to see the kid's introduced to this period of history but also to see their awe at all the Daniel endured during his decades of living in Babylon. 

Not only was he taken from his home but he was given a new name and a new language to learn. Then he had the courage to speak up against Nebuchadnezzar's, king of Babylon, royal training.

 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

Next Daniel testified of God's power and strength to the king, an unbeliever, when he was asked to interpret the king's dream under the threat of execution if he got it wrong. 

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; 
    wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons; 
    he deposes kings and raises up others. 
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning. 
22 He reveals deep and hidden things; 
    he knows what lies in darkness, 
    and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: 
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king. 

Then he had to endure watching his friends being punished for worshiping God rather than Nebuchadnezzar's statue and being thrown into the fiery furnace. Surely Daniel knew that their fate would eventually be his fate as well. 

13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. 

Finally in the sunset of his life when he was most likely an old man Daniel was thrown into a den of lions, reluctantly, by King Darius. 

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

"I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty." 

For an innocent man poor Daniel sure had to endure quite a lot. I've moved around a lot and I haven't always found it easy to settle into a new home, and that was with my own name and language! I can't imagine how much courage Daniel had! But despite the hardships Daniel was blessed because he always remembered that God was with him, God always keeps his promises, and God NEVER FAILS! What a wonderful testimony to carry throughout one's life and into a new kingdom!! I often wonder how many converts Daniel influenced in Babylon. 

Courage. It's not always easy to have. Imagine if you were followed around everyday by a huge capable bodyguard, like the celebrities have but better. Your bodyguard is equipped with the utmost knowledge and superior fighting capabilities so that you knew that no harm would come to you no matter the circumstances. How brave would you be then? Awfully brave I bet. 

That's how brave and courageous and fearless we can be everyday because we DO have that bodyguard in God!! Hallelujah!! 

Dear God, Thank You for never failing us. Thank You for always, ALWAYS being by my side. Thank You for providing me strength, faith and bravery in every situation!! Life is so much easier to face with You next to me. Amen!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you have to say! I try to reply to every one of them.

Related Posts with Thumbnails