22 May 2014

Peace at the Door: Living Free from Fear

Opening the door, he stood face to face with a man on the verge of a killing spree.

The captain's bound by law to do it, of course, simply obeying the orders of an irate king.  Yet the young man standing just inside the door, face to face with death--not for the first or last time--calmly, wisely, simply says, "Why?"

Wouldn't you love to be that unruffled by fear, anxiety, stress, trials, bills to pay, illnesses, and deadlines?  

If I were the king's captain, who was gone forth to slay all the wise men of Babylon, I would have been a little surprised.  If I were Arioch, I probably wouldn't be accustomed to being questioned, but especially not politely and calmly when I've just said, "I'm here to kill you."

I might be even more amazed when the young man said, "Oh, wait on that command from your king.  We Hebrews know a God who can solve this."  I'd stand in awe, watching him hurry over to the palace, gain an audience with the king, and after everyone else has failed in offering every excuse and begging for their lives, secure a precious window of time to work on the king's mystery.

The song "Dare to be a Daniel" takes on new and deeper meaning, doesn't it?

I don't know everything that's outside your door right now, about to knock, about to threaten your life.  I do know the same God who was there for Daniel is out there pushing everything else aside to get the first chance to knock on your heart-door, willing to give you the same calm and courage Daniel had when death knocked on his door.

But back to the story.  There's a ton we could say about everything that happens in Daniel 2 (it's world history in 49 verses or less, after all), we'll just stick with one thing for today.

Daniel and his three buddies, unified in their prayers and purpose, saved not only their own lives, but the lives of the other guys who failed the king.  

There were four groups of them:  the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the sorcerers.  Their magic arts were an empty sham, and the king could still have done away with them because they didn't come through for him.  But because of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, their lives also were spared.

Which lends a maddening sting to the story in the next chapter, where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship the image of gold.

It's Nebuchadnezzar's attempt to re-predict history to the end of time, setting himself up as the kingdom that will never be destroyed, even though he knows from his very recent dream of the image and its interpretation that other nations will rise after him, all ultimately superseded by God's everlasting kingdom.  

With the image of gold, he's setting himself above the Most High God as if he could make himself live for ever, and it's not the image itself people are commanded to worship after all, but Nebuchadnezzar himself.

Among those gathered together for the image's dedication are a group of Chaldeans, possibly the very ones whose lives were just spared by Daniel's calm courage, his friends' faithful prayer support, and God's blessing of wisdom.

Although they owe their very lives to these Hebrew captives, they are the first to accuse, demanding that the king execute them on the spot.

These Chadleans are beyond ungrateful, unimaginably spiteful.  It doesn't appear from the text that Nebuchadnezzar would have even known about the three Hebrew men who stayed standing, except for the Chaldean tattlers.

Yet there is not one speck of evidence that it ruffled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego even for a moment.  They're so bent on standing true to God even in the midst of a pagan ceremony that they hardly notice their accusers, or stop to remind them who just saved their lives.

Maybe that's what it really means to seek first the kingdom of heaven, to enjoy its peace that passes understanding.

To be so focused on defending God's name in a messed up and perverted world trying desperately to change the timeless truths of God's Word that we wouldn't even notice the threats and jabs of our enemies.

To be so constantly abiding in Christ's purity that our enemies have nothing against us but our faithfulness to heaven's king.

To be utterly convinced of our future hope, so that no arrow of Satan can shake our humble faith that God can save us, knowing that even if He does not (physically, anyway), no reward will entice us to betray our Lord.

Even when death comes knocking at the door.


  1. Powerful. . . Thanks for sharing these insights!

    1. It's my privilege to share, Sabrina. Thanks for stopping by to read!


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