Daniel 6:20 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?”
We often don’t realize how closely we are being watched. Naturally there are individual differences, but people who consistently follow God and are true to Him get noticed. Other people admire them, even if from afar, and they often feel they couldn’t live like that. What they want to know, however, is whether God rewards such faithfulness. That Daniel would choose a horrible death rather than fail to pray to God was certainly impressive, and the king wanted to know the outcome. I can’t help but feel that this incident had an impact on the later decision to return the Jews to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. Otherwise, why would Cyrus have made his decree in the name of “Yahweh, the God of heaven?” (Ezra 1:2) Daniel’s absolute faithfulness to God made him be completely trusted by the human rulers he served. In American government today, conspicuous faithfulness to God tends to make you suspect, because those currently in positions of authority know you won’t go along with their agenda. However, that situation cannot and will not continue, but God Himself will never change, so faithfulness to Him is still the order of the day. We are seldom presented with such dramatic choices as Daniel was, but martyrs down through the centuries have made the right choice. It’s hardly coincidental that the Greek word, martyr, actually means “witness.” When we choose loss over denying our Lord, as Daniel did, we are presenting a powerful witness to the world.
I’ve certainly never been presented with as dramatic a choice as Daniel was, but people are watching me nonetheless. I know that following Christ certainly doesn’t guarantee me a trouble-free existence. After all, Jesus Himself said, “In this world you will have trouble!” (John 16:33) However, it’s how I respond to that trouble that people are watching. If I gripe and moan, people will think that following Christ isn’t worth much. If I am “joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) people will want to know what I have that they don’t, and sharing the Gospel with them will be easy, delightful, and fruitful. This is why my wife, Cathy, is so dearly loved by so many. Many people are aware of her physical challenges, and others are amazed when they find out about them, because she rarely complains, but rather is concerned for others. That’s why people at her rehabilitation facility often say, “Your God is strong!” We frankly don’t know when the harvest will come, but as long as the Lord leaves us here, we are to be faithful.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Daniel was another one like John, who went through a great deal to be faithful to You. May I learn from their example so that others may learn from mine, and many be brought into the discipleship of faith, for a great harvest in Your kingdom, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!