Daniel’s Absence, God’s Presence

I remember a time when television networks were flooded with gameshows ( I think they are still right now though I just don’t get to watch lately!) and there’s this particular show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” that gives the contestant a “lifeline” by calling a friend (Phone-a-friend). This came to memory when I was reading Daniel’s story and that of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (famous for their Babylonian names – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego). We know that because of Daniel’s ability to tell King Nebu (short for Nebuchadnezzar, as my kids call him 🙂 ) his dream and interpret it as God has enabled him to do so, he was then placed in a high position in the King’s court while his friends were appointed as officers-in-charge of the entire Babylon ( read it here).

Things have gone well and prosperity abound, King Nebu, the superpower king built a golden statue and ordered his “minions” to bow down before it with an execution order to whoever does not. The blazing furnace awaits to those who defy the king’s decree. This part of the story (Chapter 3 of the book of Daniel) interests me. Why?

Daniel’s 3 friends knew their fate and but they have already made up their mind, they knew that death awaits them (again!) because of the faith that they profess, yet, they refused to compromise.

How many times do we succumb to the temptation to compromise to the things of this world? When we have experienced God’s miracle first-hand, we know that He who’s able to rescue us then, will save us over and over again!

Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah ( I prefer to use their original, given names) experienced it when Daniel was able to interpret the king’s dream when they were only an inch away from death’s door. Once again, God will be able to deliver them! When was the time that God was able to deliver us from a “blazing furnace”?  It was said that out of the King’s rage, he ordered the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter! Have we felt the heat of trials 7 times hotter than before? Think of that time when He was able to deliver us from that fiery furnace, He will be able to get us out again from that scorching heat, from the flames of trials! No compromises. Believe and declare the saving power of God like how these 3 young men declared before King Nebu;

  “.. we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. ” – Daniel 3:16-17

Sometimes in the heat of trials, it is tempting to call a friend – first , before God. Like what I mentioned earlier, I got reminded of this game show when we are given this chance to call a friend when the going gets tough. True enough, we appreciate it that we have several lifelines – our spouse, family, church, our small-groups, “BFFs,”  etc… but God desires that we call on Him first. Reading this chapter of the book, at first , I thought – “Why didnt they even think of calling Daniel who stays in the King’s court? Whom the King listens to and asks for advise? Why not ask for their best friend, Daniel’s help? ” Isn’t it that our “default mode” as a human is to call a friend when in need? Amazingly, these 3 young men didnt call for Daniel’s help. No mention of Daniel’s intervention. He was absent! But even then, it was a happy ending for the three. They came out unscathed, King Nebu praised the God who rescued these young men and he even issued a decree that no one will be able to speak against God! What’s more, he even appointed them to higher positions in the land!

Next time when faced with trials as if we’re in a blazing furncae and it is tempting to call someone first, call on Him first! The absence of “Daniels” in us is the great time when God’s presence is evident in our lives. Help comes from God, not men.

“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” -Psalm 50:15

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