Three Great Stories

Three of the greatest and best known stories in the Bible are in the Book of Daniel:  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace, the handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast, and Daniel in the den of Lions.  Daniel was a Jewish youth of noble birth carried off during the first captivity of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon around 605 B.C.  Because of his gifts he became a member of the Royal Court and an adviser to the King.  When Babylon was captured by the Medes and the Persians he took on a similar role with Darius the Mede.

Nebuchadnezzar made a gold monument 90 feet tall and 9 feet across and ordered all to bow down before it.  The Hebrew youth refused so the King had them thrown into a fiery furnace.  They not only did not die there, there was a 4th figure in with them which may have been an Old Testament appearance of Christ.  They came out not even singed or smelling of smoke.   The King was humbled.

We have been in a fiery furnace as it were for the 8 years of Obama who advocated a weaker America, weaker military and a nation watered down through open borders and large numbers from the Middle East.  Hillary would have done the same.  We have been given another chance by a leader of a different ilk all together.  I have said if one wanted a successful Presidency, watch Barack Obama and do the opposite.  That is what Donald Trump is doing–not by watching Obama but by his good instincts and understanding of our Heritage.

We get our expression of “The Handwriting’s on the Wall” from the next story.  Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, Belshazzar, throws a banquet and has the cups stolen from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and begins to toast their false gods with the goblets.  Suddenly a hand appears and writes on the wall of the palace:  MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.  Terrified the King brings in his astrologers and wise men who cannot interpret it.  Someone remembered Daniel who interpreted the dreams of the King’s father, Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel tells Belshazzar the words mean your kingdom is coming to an end, you are found wanting on the scales of life, and your kingdom will be divided among the Medes and the Persians.  That very night Belshazzar is killed and Darius the Mede takes over his kingdom.

The handwriting was on the wall for our nation had Hillary been elected.  But we have been spared by God.  Let us learn from this and move forward together.

Daniel becomes an adviser to Darius and is so successful he is named leader of all the princes.  They become jealous and convince the King to sign a document that anyone who prays to anyone but Darius  will be thrown into the Lions’ den.  Daniel refuses and Darius regrets signing the decree.  Daniel is thrown into the den and God closes the Lions’ mouths.  The next day the King visits the den and is delighted to see Daniel alive.  He has the princes who urged the decree and their families thrown into the Lions’ den.  The mouths of the Lions are not closed.

There is a legendary story about Dr. Charles Stanley of First Baptist Church, Atlanta.  Early in his ministry he ran counter to some of his elders, one of whom socked him on TV one evening as Dr. Stanley delivered the message.  Naturally this was devastating and Charles Stanley prayed over what to do.  As he prayed on older woman came by his office and handed him a package.  She asked that he ponder over it.  He sort of brushed the package aside and continued his seeking Godly counsel.

Then he spotted the package again and decided to unwrap it.  It was Daniel in the den of Lions.  He reflected on it and then saw it.  Daniel was paying no mind to the Lions beside him;  he was looking up to heaven.  Dr. Stanley then knew what he must do:  Look up and ignore the Lions roaring around him.  Forty years later he is still there and that elder has gone the way of the princes who sought to destroy Daniel.

Lions have been roaring about us from ISIS to transgender bathrooms and most anything in between.   Leadership matters and God has smiled on us again.  Let us thank Him and pray for Donald Trump every day.  His tasks are great and he is already making a difference.

I close with thanks to our veterans as we remember 75 years ago today was the attack on Pearl Harbor.  One of those veterans is my father, a WWII marine still living at age 93.   God saw us through that and trust He will do so again in our circumstances today.





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