"If I follow Jesus, everything will go wonderfully"...right?
Sometimes being faithful still leaves us open to trials, tribulations, and difficulties.
And somehow, that all fits within God's sovereign plan.
That means that, no matter what our circumstances, we are still called to "Trust and Obey"...and lean on Him to get us through!
Daniel had been faithful from the time he was a young man.
Through the violent overthrow of his homeland, the forced deportation that he and other young Israelites went through, being unfairly mistreated and 'set up' by others, and having to serve under several different tyrannical rulers, Daniel remained faithful.
Not only had he been faithful to God, but he had also been faithful in his service to the various kings. He had always shown integrity and leadership--because these things came not in response to 'nice kings' or 'good treatment', but rather from his relationship to the God of Israel!
As a result, even when things got tough, he remained faitful. Even when he was 'set up' by his fellow officers, he remained faithful to pray to his God several times a day...as had been his custom! He did not change!
As a result, he got caught breaking a law which the king, in his pride, had signed. This law said that anyone who was caught praying to anyone except the king would be thrown into the Lions' den.
Daniel's response? Continue praying and take the risk of suffering the consequences!
When Daniel was 'caught', he didn't try to get out of it. Instead, he committed himself to
God's prayer and protection and continued being faithful.
King Darius, for his part, tried to figure a way to get Daniel out of this predicament, but couldn't. He knew they'd both been set up, and he said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you from the Lions" (Daniel 6:16)
Darius knew this was a bad situation, and he didn't sleep at all that night. He paced until early in the morning, then went to the Lions' Den, and called out: “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”
The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God." (Daniel 6:19-23)
Daniel had continually been faithful to the Lord, and to serve those kings he was under. God had exalted him to a high office, but HAD NOT KEPT HIM FROM ALL TRIALS. Did Daniel struggle in that night? Was he afraid? Did he think his life was over?
We're not told...(although, given what he'd learned and experienced, he had reason to be confident).
Daniel was delivered from the lions! God faithfully and miraculously protected him, even though he had been allowed to go through the trial. He had not wavered. God allowed his faith to be tested, and honored his faith at the same time.
What happened next?
"Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den." (Daniel 6:24)
The King then praised Daniel's God, and encouraged others to do the same.
Lesson for us:
Next time you're going through a trial, check yourself: Have you been faithful? Are you committed to continually serving and honoring the Lord, no matter your circumstances?
If so, and the trial comes anyway, commit yourself to Him, call on His name, call out to Him in prayer, and HAVE FAITH that He will deliver you and get you through.
In doing so, He will use you to bring eternal glory to Himself...and it just may be that others (like King Darius) will give Him praise because of it!