Friends of Daniel: Times of Testing

Hourglass and Antique Clock

Background Information

In a previous post, Daniel: A Man Above Reproach, we spoke of Daniel and his three friends being taken as servants to Babylon; being trained for three years; refusing to be defiled; experiencing favor, wisdom and revelation from God; and being promoted to positions of leadership by the king.

God used Daniel and his three praying friends to save all the wise men of Babylon from death. All four were promoted: Daniel became the ruler over the whole province of Babylon and the chief over all the wise men of Babylon; and Daniel’s three friends became the head administrators of Babylon.

Daniel and “his companions were part of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy” told to King Hezekiah about Hezekiah’s descendants being servants in the palace of the king of Babylon.

Even though King Nebuchadnezzar was surrounded by wise men, he did not consult them about his gods.

Strange Gods

Dr. Sumrall summarizes this time period, “Nebuchadnezzar desired to weld his empire into a homogeneous whole by establishing a universal religion. He commanded the creation of an image of gold, then had it set up in the plain of Dura so everyone could worship it.”

The vain worship of a golden statue opened the door for the Chaldean wise men to falsely accuse their leaders of not honoring the king. Instead of being thankful to Daniel and his three friends for their prayers and God’s revelation which saved their lives; we see jealousy arise in their hearts.

Jealousy and Pride

The Chaldeans accused the three friends of Daniel of “disregarding the king by not serving the king’s gods or worshipping the golden image the king had set up.” When the king discovered they would not worship his golden image, he responded in rage and anger and commanded the men to be brought to him. The king did exemplify restraint by giving the men one more chance to worship his golden statue or face death; yet, he pridefully proclaimed, “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”

The men confidently answered, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you set up.”

The king was filled with wrath and his facial expression was altered towards his three top administrators. He gave orders for the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal. The three men were tied up and thrown in the furnace of blazing fire which killed the soldiers who threw them into it because of the severity of the fire’s heat.

Man’s Heart

I must confess that I have never understood the spirit of jealousy. The Bible speaks of us rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, yet jealousy seems to disregard this Biblical encouragement. Jealousy is listed in Galatians 5 as one of the works of the flesh which can keep us from experiencing the kingdom of God.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines jealousy as, “That passion of peculiar uneasiness which arises from the fear that a rival may rob us of the affection of one whom we love, or the suspicion that he has already done it; or it is the uneasiness which arises from the fear that another does or will enjoy some advantage which we desire for ourselves.”

Jealousy fuels a passion that leads to the destruction of another.

The king walked in anger. Anger is defined as, “A violent passion of mind excited by a real or supposed injury; usually accompanied with a propensity to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party.”

The king was so filled with wrath when the three men wouldn’t bow to his golden image that his facial expression was altered. Wrath is defined as, “A violent anger; vehement exasperation; indignation.”

The wise men needed to be thankful to Daniel and his friends for their intercession and saving their lives. And the wise men needed to be grateful for God’s divine intervention which saved them from certain death. Instead, we find these wise men acting in foolish jealousy.

This jealousy led the wise men of Babylon to provoke the king to anger. The king’s pride caused him to move beyond anger to wrath. Their jealousy, anger and wrath would have led to three upright men’s death, and the destruction of the king’s highest levels of leadership, if God had not intervened.

God Steps In

After Daniel’s friends were thrown tied up into the fire, the king was amazed to see four live men walking in the fiery furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar said to his high officials, “Look! I see four men loose, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are unharmed. The appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

“Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and said, “You servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” I can picture the king carefully approaching the furnace that he had just ordered to be heated seven times hotter than normal and whose heat had just killed his mighty warriors. Yet the marvelous sight before his eyes compelled him to look closer.

Look Closer

When Daniel’s friends came out of the middle of the fire, everyone gathered around and marveled “that the fire had no power on their bodies. The hair of their head wasn’t singed. Their coats weren’t burned, the smell of fire wasn’t even on them.”

Then King Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, “Blessed be their God, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.”

Even though the king had heard of God, he had not seen him. The king was full of pride and dealt with fits of anger. However, once he saw God’s miraculous intervention, he humbly acknowledged that there was a God greater than him.

There Is A Deliverer

Remember how the king had pridefully proclaimed, “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” when Daniel’s three friends refused to bow to his golden statue. Now the king decreed, “That any people, nation, or population of any language that speaks anything offensive against” their God shall be killed “because there is no god who is able to save in this way.”

The king widely proclaimed there was a God in heaven who was mighty enough to intervene on the earth. After his proclamation, the king caused the three men to prosper in the province of Babylon.

10 Scriptures for Times of Testing

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)

Jesus stated, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Jesus exclaimed, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their (churches), and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10:16-20)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)

Prayer:

Lord, we choose to humble ourselves before You, to love You and trust You to strongly support us in good times and challenging times.

Lord, we thank You for providing a way of escape in every temptation. By the power of Your Holy Spirit: we refuse pride and choose humility; we refuse hate, anger and wrath and choose love, peace and a spirit of reconciliation; we refuse jealousy, envy and coveting and choose to rejoice with those who rejoice and are blessed, and we choose to walk in a spirit of contentment for You provide for all of our needs and even grant us our heart’s desires. We acknowledge You do all things well.

Lord, we forgive those who falsely accuse us, wrongly betray us, lie to us or cheat us. We choose to put them in Your hands – for You are loving, merciful and just. You are the Righteous Judge and decide all cases with wisdom, understanding and knowledge; therefore, we trust You to defend us and to convict us and others with righteousness.

Lord, we lift up those who are currently suffering hardships for Your Names’ sake. We pray as they wait expectantly upon You, You would strengthen them in their inner man; You would encourage their souls and help them to not grow weary in well doing; You would sustain them with Your righteous right hand; You would strongly support them for their hearts are Yours; You would provide for their needs; You would protect them; You would give them increased wisdom, discernment and counsel for every situation and every decision before them. In Jesus Mighty Name we pray, Amen.

Blessing:

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

Further Reading Actions:

If you desire to know more about Daniel, Lisa’s blog post, Daniel: A Man Above Reproach, reveals Daniel’s strong character and godly faith: https://strengthwithdignity.com/daniel-a-man-above-reproach/

If you need help overcoming your fears, Lisa’s blog post, To Fear or Not to Fear: Man or God? Gives 5 steps to victory: https://strengthwithdignity.com/fear-or-not-to-fear-man-or-god/

Scripture References:

Daniel 3; Psalm 32:8, 46:1; Isaiah 39:1-8, 41:10; Matthew 5:10-12, 10:16-20; John 14:27, 16:33; Romans 8:35-39; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 1 Peter 5:6-11

References:

New American Standard Bible, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by the Lockman Foundation.

Sumrall, Dr. Lester. Great People of History – Study Guide. Chapter 14: Daniel – The Golden Empire: A Prince and a Slave. Sumrall Publishing, 2004. Print.

Sumrall, Dr. Lester. Daniel – The End-Time Prophet – Study Guide. LeSea Publishing, 2001. Print.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Retrieved from: https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/english-standard-version-esv-bible/

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Retrieved January 25, 2021. Retrieved from: http://webstersdictionary1828.com/

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8 thoughts on “Friends of Daniel: Times of Testing”

    1. “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us …..and He will deliver us ….. . But even if He does not …. we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you set up.” is a quote that is a mainstay in my prayer life. God has delivered us through His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s Will be done.
      Jill

      1. This is such a powerful quote of faith and trust in God, Jill. We are called to stand in faith – whether we live or die is in His hands, but let us stand firm in faith in Him – for He is Faithful and True.

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