SOS Daniel

We don’t see clearly how we fit into the tapestry of our generation.  Know that God has a plan and that you are an important part of it, even if you’re not entirely sure what it is.

And pay attention to dreams.

I am Belteshazzar, one of the Chief Commissioners, Overseer of 120 Satraps and Prefects who in turn oversee the administration of Darius.  Our kingdom is Babylon and we are the rulers of the known world.  Belteshazzar is the name they gave me as a youth, after the sack of Jerusalem.  They taught me Chaldean and instructed my friends and I in the service of the royal court.  Over the years, I’ve been promoted to a place of prominence and influence.  The riches and extravagance surrounding my daily life are beyond what I ever would have dreamed as a boy, especially a boy who was a slave.

That’s on the outside.  In my heart I am a child of Zion, born of the tribe of Judah.  The windows of my home open toward Jerusalem and I look to her as I offer prayers to God.  I ask for the will of heaven to deliver us.  I pray for the Return.

I am Daniel, and I am a prophet of the Most High God.

I was strangely at peace on the day I was scheduled to die.  Surrounded by God’s presence and favor, I didn’t lose heart or cry out when sentence was passed and they threw me off balance into a den of hungry lions.

I landed, rolled and crouched, expecting the worst.  I wouldn’t be the first servant of God who died at the hands of the nations and I knew I wouldn’t be the last.  Waiting for the attack that never came, I saw him.  It was the angel of the Lord standing before me, terrible in his beauty.  I was struck by emanating waves of holy power flowing from his very being.  I can only say that somehow, he Belonged.  With his influence over this place of death, I belonged as well.  The presence of God was thick like incense and the lions were at rest.  It didn’t take long before I was at rest as well.

The big cats are surprisingly soft and warm, though it’s clear soon enough how very strong they are.  Even in repose, and even when they had accepted me, it was still obvious that they would never be domestic.  I suppose the God of creation formed lions when the earth was young and it shouldn’t surprise me that they still Remember Him.  I watched as the light dimmed when they closed the den and I listened as the seals were put into place.  At that point, there wasn’t much to do, so I expressed my thanks to my Father and to His angel and settled in to rest.

In surrender to sleep, as so many times before in my life, I dreamed the dreams of God.

It was a stark contrast to previous days, when the dark night of the soul had been my constant companion.  I had slept fitfully when I slept at all and I had been fasting, seeking answers and His direction.

Political enemies were plotting against me and none of my options were good ones.  I considered simply going to Darius directly.  The venomous satraps and evil men were trying to pass a law targeting me specifically and trying to entrap me in religious scandal.  As I searched for clever counter moves and searched my heart for answers, I felt like God was telling me to be still.  It was odd, but my sense was to do nothing in my own defense.  My path was to stop trying, stop speaking and to simply allow God Himself to defend me.

Trusting with everything I had within me, it was still a very dark couple of days.  With the way things were unfolding it would likely cost me my position and my life.  I started the process of setting my house and affairs in order.  My will was set and sealed, and I included a special note for Darius, telling him to not blame himself and to trust in God.

You always hope that if the time comes to lay down your life, that you’ll do that with honor and courage.  You hope that even the act of dying will bring glory to God and that it won’t be in vain.

But how do you know you won’t crumble when faced with the choice?

Renounce God or die.

It’s easy to claim boldness when things are good and you’re comfortable in your own place, resting in familiar surroundings.  How do you really know unless you step into that place for real?

When the decision was made, an interesting thing happened.  My mind became perfectly clear.  My heart stopped racing.  I knew that if I died for Him, it would be a part of His purpose and His plan.  If He delivered me, that too would be to His glory.

I loved God more than I loved my own life.  I loved Him either way.

That note rang like a bell in my heart.  It cut through the darkness and the dread accompanying my season of sifting faded like a barely remembered dream.  Who I was simply wasn’t based on the outcome of circumstances around me.  My relationship with God was all I would ever need.

Like so many things, the dream was His before we saw it in the light of day.  The awesome movement of His power ended with the proclamation of a king and the undeniable miracle of His protection.

It had started with loyalty and His work in the heart of a single man.

Devotional Thought for the Day

Choosing God is fairly easy for many of us in our mostly comfortable surroundings.  Most will never face the decision to renounce God or die. But we know people who have, and may know of areas where Believers facing that decision daily.  What kind of relationship results in that kind of trust?   What kind of love is it that trumps that of your own life?  Ask God to reveal the ‘comfortable’ areas of your relationship with Him and surrender them in trust to Him.

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