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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Thy Kingdom Come # 11

A Battle Over the Lord's Sufficiency (continued)

3. A Battle for the Lord's Honor

In passing from chapter 2 to chapter 3, we pass from one battle to another. It is like that. Each spiritual victory does not absolve us from further service but only leads into new conflict. If Nebuchadnezzar had not heard about the head of gold he might not have made his golden image. If the three men had not been promoted to a place of prominence their non-conformity might never have been noticed. It is interesting that Daniel was not accused. Probably the accusers were afraid of their capricious king and did not dare criticize his favorite. It is also noteworthy that no other Jews were involved. Possibly they were ignored as being unworthy of notice. It was the prominence of these three which exposed them. So often spiritual triumph and advancement in the Lord has this effect or exposing God's servants to jealous criticism and malicious accusation. He permits it, for He means to achieve even greater triumphs in them.

satan's attack was a psychological one, as may be noticed by a complete reading of the chapter. Not only was the image imposing and the king's command urgent, but look at the repetition of the long list of important personages on the other side and notice the repeated description, in detail, of the musical instruments. The Bible does not waste words, so we must believe that there is a meaning behind these repetitions. Surely the meaning is to show the cumulative pressure brought to bear upon these three. Who were they, that they should dare to dissent from that which was so universally popular and so convincingly presented? satan knows how to concentrate his assaults upon their souls. How can we meet them? Certainly not by reason. Only strength in the spirit can give us victory over our own souls, and so over the great enemy.

These men had a spiritual relationship with the Lord, a relationship that was stronger than all the emotions and reasonings of their soul, so that, in a sense, the issue for them was simple. It was not easy - indeed it was very costly; but it was clear and straightforward. Put like that, they had no difficulty in deciding, for the honor of the Lord's Name seemed far more important to them than their own lives. So they chose not to flee or surrender but to stand and fight, as every true spiritual warrior must do. All that they had to do was to stand: yet their stand, though in great personal weakness, overthrew the power of satan and maintained the rights of the Lord in the whole empire. It was indeed a battle. The fate of those who were burned by the intense heat shows that this was not imaginary fire, just as the destruction of Daniel's accusers in the lion's den proved that the lions were both fierce and hungry. For us, too, there is a real price to be paid if we are to stand firmly in the Lord's Name and not just be swept along with the crowd.

They not only fought for the Lord's honor, they also fought for the rest of His people. We have already pointed out that these three were exposed to attack because of their prominent position. They were the first, but they would not have been the last. If they had yielded (or indeed if they had perished in the flames), no doubt many of the lesser saints would have been hunted down and threatened in the same way. They delivered the rest by their faith. They stood, they survived, they rejoiced and reigned, even in the midst of the fires. This was true ascendency. They "yielded their bodies", but they also "changed the king's word" (Daniel 2:28). And after all, what is the good of our talking glibly of a coming kingdom in which the saints shall reign, if we are not proving the Lord now, and reigning spiritually even where we are? It is those who have truly prayed: "Hallowed be thy name", who alone have the right to pray: "Thy kingdom come".

It is impossible to think of these things without remembering brothers and sisters in the Far East who are at this very time face to face with the same issue, and, even as we remember, lifting up our hearts for them in prayer, that they may so triumph by faith that they, too, may walk with the Son of God, even in the fires, and have an honored place with Him in His kingdom

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 12 - (A Battle for the Lord's Purpose)

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