Lee and I continued our reading today in the book of Daniel. Here we see the hand of God and how He works in the world, and in the lives of His people.
The edict had gone out to kill all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel was included in that number. When faced with certain death, Daniel went to a higher authority. He who made the world, and God gave him wisdom and direction. God revealed the dream itself to Daniel, and gave him the interpretation. A very pleased Babylonian King put Daniel in charge of a region and his three friends became his assistants. A very bad situation, indeed, what appeared to be the end of life itself instead caused his advancement in place of his downfall. Upside down. God works upside down.
Are you faced with what appears to be a life shattering situation? Take your lead from God's friends in the Bible. That shattering situation in God's reality could be your promotion, a step up in the journey that God has designed just for you. Turn your heart and your face to God who sees all things. Grab hold of Him and let Him bear you up into greater things.
There is no better life. Follow after God. Pursue Him.
Chapter three in Daniel just keeps getting better. My first thought was about Nebuchadnezzar. He had just had an encounter with God. Mighty, Eternal God had visited him and told him of his life and God's plans for his kingdom. He took those words of life, freely and wonderfully given, and made something cheap. He proceeded to make an image of gold, and used his God given authority and power to compel those in his care to worship a dead thing… What a head trip! Take heed. If God has given you a place of power and influence, remember from where the power and influence flows. It is not you but God who causes the times and seasons.
As the story continues we see how God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo from the fiery furnace – so many good things here! Jealous accusers surely thought they had brought them down. It didn't work then – it won't work now provided the accused continues to throw himself on the mercy of God and check their hearts against His Word. The young men stood on eternity and faced the reality of death, horrible painful death, but in weighing the value chose eternal life and obedience to the true God. It is such a current story for us all as we see the lives we have disintegrate. We are blessed when we realize that God is our eternal anchor and the only certainty. He endures and will keep us. We will not loose anything of true value when we cling to Him, but we have to realize what things are a true value.
So Cool! Notice that the behavior and spirit in which they passed through the fire caused hearts to turn to God. What a privilege to know that the passages of our lives serve to illustrate God's goodness in the world. We are living testimonies of God's goodness and grace. Do you see the echoing theme of God working upside down? They faced death and chose to pass through that death into eternity. In choosing death, God gave them life. They surrendered and proved by their very lives what they valued. In that surrender came victory. Once again defeat and overwhelming odds only served to put forward God's eternal plans. We are truly more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Upside down. God works upside down.