September 14 (Daily reading: Daniel 4-6) God’s activity in the lives of the four young Hebrews teaches us how God can bless our faithfulness. King Nebuchadnezzar had issued a challenge to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and to their God: “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” (3:15). Then he had witnessed a fourth person in the furnace, saying that he was “like a son of the gods!” (3:25). This led him to declare God to be the Most High God (3:26)! Nebuchadnezzar’s response was directly tied to the faith of the three Hebrews. He noted that they had “put their trust in Him” and were ready to die rather than “worship any god except their own God” (3:28). His challenge had been answered, and he now declared: “There is no other god who is able to deliver in this way” (3:29). These events led to the king’s own public testimony that God’s “kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His dominion is from generation to generation” (4:3).
Daniel earned very quickly a reputation as an interpreter of dreams. The interpretations he made for King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar brought bad news for them, but both of them acknowledged Daniel’s God, who had revealed the interpretations to him. King Belshazzar promoted Daniel to “the third highest ruler in the kingdom” (5:29). The next king, Darius, appointed Daniel to be one of three administrators over all the land. But Daniel also had to deal with jealousy. His enemies manipulated the king to make a law where Daniel had to choose between obedience to the king or to God. When Daniel remained true to God, he was thrown into a den of lions. God protected him, and once again, the king of Babylon was led to acknowledge God: “For he is the living God and he endures forever” (6:26, NIV). These stories encourage us to be faithful and to put our faith into action every day!
– Al Gary