God’s Sustaining Presence

MEMORY SELECTION: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us. … But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods.” —Daniel 3:17,18

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Daniel 6:3-7, 10, 11, 16, 19-23

AFTER the downfall of Belshazzar, when his conqueror Darius had taken the throne, Daniel again was soon held in the highest esteem by the new king. But his favored position soon kindled the jealousies and hatred of his contemporaries in the king’s court. They endeavored to find some cause of complaint against him, but they were not able to find anything.

The presidents and princes, Daniel’s contemporaries, conspired to trap Daniel, for, said they, “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” (Dan. 6:5) So they conspired through flattery of the king to require all the realm to worship him as god for thirty days. Those who did not obey were to be thrown into the lions’ den.

Daniel, of course, ignored the decree and continued to worship his God three times a day, as was his custom. It is revealing to read that Daniel did this with his windows open, and of course he was soon discovered. The king, against his own wishes, was forced to carry out the decree and have Daniel cast into the lions’ den. It is interesting to note that the king himself had faith in God, for he said, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.”—Dan. 6:16

The king was distraught throughout the night, and early in the morning he went in haste to the lions’ den and cried out to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” Then Daniel answered: “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. … So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.”—Dan. 6:20,22,23

God has given this promise to his faithful servants, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Ps. 34:7) This was true with respect to the faithful servants of old and is also true of the consecrated Christians of the Gospel Age. This does not mean that the Lord always delivers his servants from trials, persecutions, or even death.

In the 11th chapter of Hebrews the Apostle Paul summarizes for us the experiences of a number of God’s faithful servants of the past “who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. … Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.” (vss. 33-35) Through all their trials these faithful servants had the full assurance of God’s overruling providence in their lives that nothing could happen to them except as permitted by him.

The earthly prospect for the church is that they, too, must suffer in order that they may be tried and tested before they enter into glory. The Apostle Paul in Romans 8:14-17 states: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption [sonship], whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

But in their sufferings the church have God’s promise that he will be there to sustain and to comfort. (II Cor. 9:8; Rom. 14:4; Phil. 2:13) And in I Corinthians 10:13 the Apostle Paul assures the church that “there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape [‘will direct the issue,’ Diaglott] that ye may be able to bear it.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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