Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Rebecca Feere
Over the past few weeks, I have talked to several people dealing with complicated and heavy circumstances. It is easy to question where God is and why He would allow such pain for His children. Does He see? Does He care? Daniel and the Hebrews, who were taken to Babylon as captives, must have had some of the same questions. Where are you, God? How long is this going to last? They knew their circumstances were bleak; they could not understand God’s actions. Their stories, recorded in Scripture, remind us that God is always at work behind the scenes, even in life’s most devastating moments. Think about the stories found in the book of Daniel – the three men thrown into the fiery furnace (chap. 3) and Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den (chap. 6). Those moments looked bleak; it seemed there was no hope of survival. But, of course, we know from reading the book of Daniel that God delivered the three men from the fire, and God preserved Daniel from the hungry lions.
So, what does this have to do with us today? It is doubtful any of us will be thrown into a den of lions or cast into a fiery furnace. But, in other ways, God may be placing you in the “fire” or positioning you among people who seem to be out to destroy you. Perhaps your “lions” are negative thoughts leading to discouragement and despair. I challenge you to read through the book of Daniel, looking to see how God was at work (God’s actions) behind the scenes. Look for such phrases as “God granted Daniel…” (Dan. 1:9) and “God gave them…” (Dan. 1:17). These are just a few, and I promise if you read the rest of the book, you will find plenty more! It is exciting and encouraging to notice all the things God was doing while, on the surface, it looked like the kings of Babylon were in control; we see that God had never forgotten or abandoned His people – even in Babylon.
We may think Daniel and his friends were “super Christians.” How did these men face these things and not succumb to fear and intimidation, run, or just jump ship and give up on their faith in God? It sure seems that would have been easier, considering the consequences of their obedience. Well, the characters in the book of Daniel were humans, just like you and me. They were sinful people made in the image of God for His glory. As you read through Daniel, you see Daniel and his friends doing two things – praying and praising (Dan. 2:17-18 and Dan. 2:19-23 is just one example). It would have been easy to focus on the problems at hand. But these men knew Who their God was. They had no doubt that He would deliver them (Dan. 3:17). They had pre-decided to be faithful to God’s Word regardless of the cost, even if it meant their very lives.
Like Daniel and his friends, we need a right-sized view of God. In the face of much danger and destruction, and even in the presence of the most powerful kings of their day, these men remembered that their God was in control. Daniel boldly declared to King Nebuchadnezzar that God would restore his kingdom to him when he (King N.) recognized that Heaven rules (Dan. 4:26). They lived with complete confidence that God was in control of all things. Their actions were evidence of their faith in the God of Heaven! Here are a few names of God found in the book. I encourage you to read the entire book to find more.
- The God of Heaven (Dan. 2:44)
- The Great God (Dan. 2:45)
- The Most High God (Dan. 4:32,34)
- The God who holds our life breath (Dan. 5:23)
- The Living God (Dan. 6:20,26)
- The Highest One (Dan. 7:18)
They were clinging to what they knew to be true of their God. Even how they often spoke of God in personal, relational terms is exemplary! Earthly kingdoms come and go, but we see in Daniel’s account of Hebrew history (and in recent news) that no earthly ruler or circumstance is ultimate or eternal. But God is! If we truly believe Heaven Rules, there is freedom from anxiety and worry. There is freedom to live in obedience to God and with joy without allowing fear to hold us back!
Tether yourself to the goodness of God, the greatness of God, the glory of God, the promises of God and the Word of Truth. We cannot comprehend His ways, His purposes, and His plans, but we can choose to place our hope in God and His Word.
Lord, help us to believe that You, The God of Heaven, Rule!