The politicians hated him. They saw in him something they did not have or understand, and this was a threat. His faith was a menace. The law they manipulated into place was pointed straight at him. He knew that. He was no fool. You’re so confident, they muttered. Let’s see what happens when we demand you stop worshipping. Let’s see what happens when your life is at stake.
He could have protested. Loudly. He had the clout. He probably had the following to create a riot if he wanted to. He could have blown the whistle, could have broadcast the injustice, the blatant conspiracy against him. He did none of that.
“When Daniel knew the document had been signed, he went to his house . . . He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously” (Daniel 6:10).
This is the reaction of one who abides in his Savior.
There were others in the kingdom who believed in Daniel’s God. There were others who prayed. But when the enemy rose against them, they saw not their mighty God but a pit of lions waiting to devour them. I don’t know if Daniel was afraid as he walked back to his house, knowing his enemies would follow him and entrap him, knowing those lions were waiting. How he felt didn’t matter. What he chose made all the difference.
More than one admits that it is a sacred duty and a blessed privilege to abide in Christ, but shrinks back continually before the question: Is it possible, a life of unbroken fellowship with the Saviour? Eminent Christians . . . may attain to it; for the large majority of disciples . . . so fully occupied with the affairs of this life, it can scarce be expected. They are too weak, too unfaithful–they never can attain to it.
“Dear souls! How little they know that the abiding in Christ is just meant for the weak, and so beautifully suited to their feebleness. It is not the doing of some great thing, and does not demand that we first lead a very holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept–the unfaithful one casting self on one who is altogether trustworthy and true.*
Daniel was no stronger than the rest, no different from any of us. Except that he knew how to abide. He entrusted himself to the Mighty One who is altogether trustworthy.
Daniel remained in God because he knew the God who remained in him. God always abides with us first (John 14:16-18). So, as he was lowered into that devouring pit, he knew that God went before him.
Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us. . . Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has engaged to perform.*
If he had fought the law, raised a protest, pulled his clout with the king and manipulated those who manipulated him, what might have happened? He may have triumphed. But he would have shown himself to be no better than his enemies. His many hours in the presence of God had taught him to yield. To trust. To wait. He entrusted his suffering to his Father and waited to see what God would do with it.
God’s plan was so much bigger than Daniel. And because of Daniel’s yielded heart, an entire kingdom saw the power of God.
Our troubles begin when we take up our own agendas and plant them firmly in our thoughts, making no room for Christ. What if we made room only for Christ? And how do we even begin?
My beloved fellow-believer, go, and take time alone with Jesus . . . yield yourself this very day to the blessed Saviour in the surrender of the one thing He asks of you: give up yourself to abide in Him*
A yielded heart does not come by accident. It is a decision that leads to a discipline that eventually leads to a practice, a way of life. The yielded hearts rest in the peace of God’s love for them and understand their story is part of a larger plan. They know the lions are coming. Whether or not they are devoured does not matter, because they are held already in perfect peace. They are home.
What an experience. It must have been fun when the pit opened up and the light poured in, and Daniel looked up to see the faces of those men peering down at him with astonishment. I can imagine him grinning.
Abide in me: These words . . . are the command of love, which is ever only a promise in a different shape. Think of this until all feeling of burden and fear and despair pass away, and the first thought that comes as you hear of abiding in Jesus be one of bright and joyous hope: it is for me, I know I shall enjoy it.*
*Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ