Welcome to today's encouragement from Our Daily Bread.
Today's reading, titled, Firm Refusal, was written by Wynn Collier. When the Nazis drafted Franz Jager Stader during World War II, he completed military basic training but refused to take the required pledge of personal loyalty to Adolf Hitler. Authorities allowed Franz to return to his home, but they later summoned him to active duty. After seeing Nazi ideology up close and learning of the Jewish genocide, however, Jager Stader decided his loyalty to God meant he could never fight for the Nazis. He was arrested and sentenced to execution, leaving behind his wife and three daughters. Over the years, many believers in Jesus, under peril of death, have offered a firm refusal when commanded to disobey God. The story of Daniel is one such story. When a royal edict threatened that anyone who prayed to any god or human being except the king would be thrown into the lion's den, Daniel discarded safety and remained faithful.
Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. The prophet would bend his knee to God and only God, no matter the cost. Sometimes, our choice is clear. Though everyone around us implores us to go along with prevailing opinion, though our own reputation or well-being may be at risk, may we never turn from our obedience to God.
Sometimes, even at great cost, all we can offer is a firm refusal. Today's scripture reading is from Daniel chapter 6 verses 10 through 23. Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem.
Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree. Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days, anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, your majesty, would be thrown into the lion's den? The king answered, The decree stands in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed. Then they said to the king, Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, your majesty, or to the decree you put in writing.
He still prays three times a day. When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed. He was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.
Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, Remember, your majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians, no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed. So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lion's den. The king said to Daniel, May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you. A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation might not be changed.
Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him, and he could not sleep. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lion's den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, Daniel, servant of the living God, Has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions? Daniel answered, May the king live forever. My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight, nor have I ever done any wrong before you, your majesty. The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den.
And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him because he had trusted in his God. Let's pray. Lord, no matter how old we get, we still feel the pressure of our peers to hold certain opinions or take certain sides. We also know that, a lot of the time, these things stand in opposition to what you want us to do or to think. In these situations, we pray that you would give us the courage to stand strong against the pressure and do what we know pleases you. Thank you, Father. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-21 15:46:11 / 2023-09-21 15:48:25 / 2