Bible Society of South Africa

Faith that withstands the test - 26 October 2023

By Imogen Campbell

Bible text(s)

4Then the other supervisors and the governors tried to find something wrong with the way Daniel administered the empire, but they couldn't, because Daniel was reliable and did not do anything wrong or dishonest.

Daniel 6:4GNBOpen in Bible reader

Considering the absolute onslaught on Christian values today, contending for the Word of God seems tougher than ever. Standing up for one’s faith can feel countercultural and out of step with society.

Perhaps, the only reason it feels so difficult now is that we once lived in a society that valued Christian teaching. In cultures where Christianity was not as readily adopted, brothers and sisters have always lived under the shadow of persecution. Even death.

At a time, where the tenets of the faith are under renewed scrutiny and basic beliefs are eschewed, how do we remain faithful to the Word of God? Perhaps, we need to revisit an exile in Babylon: Daniel. Let’s recap from Daniel 6:3-5: “Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

It seemed as though they had succeeded in their evil ways when he was consigned to be thrown into a den of lions and the king, forced by decree, literally sealed Daniel’s fate with his own signet ring. Miraculously, Daniel survives and explains it in Daniel 6:22, “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.”

As delightful as it was for Daniel, there were others who surely knew that the writing was on the wall for them, who instead met their end in the lion’s den. The king also issued another decree calling for fear and reverence of the God of Daniel.

It is clear: our walk with God matters, our integrity matters, our prayer lives matter. One day, an aged Jewish nobleman was mightily used by God because he had never stopped placing his faith in his God. Daniel had cultivated an impeccable track record of faith from the beginning of his exile and had never backed down: from eschewing food that could defile, to praying without ceasing three times a day. So much so that the king could say that he served God continually.

Living in modern-day Babylon is not easy, but we have the men of old to inspire us to live lives worthy of the Gospel. “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27)

Prayer: Lord God, thank you for giving us true heroes in the faith to imitate on days when living according to the Word looks bleak. Thank you that they had led exemplary lives that lead the way for us even to this day. Amen

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