The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”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 lions’ 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 lions’ 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.
- Daniel 6:12b-23
“Look at Jonah in the fish belly – surrounded by gastric juices and sucked-in seaweed. … He prays. … Before he can say amen, the belly convulses, the fish belches, and Jonah lands face first on the beach.
”Look at Daniel in the lions’ den; his prospects aren’t much better than Jonah’s. Jonah had been swallowed and Daniel is about to be. …
“Or look at Joseph in the pit, a chalky hole in the desert. The lid has been pulled over the top and the wool has been pulled over his eyes. … Like Jonah and Daniel, Joseph is trapped. He is out of options. There is no exit. There is no hope. … Though the road to the palace takes a detour through the prison, it eventually ends up at the throne. …
“Such are the stories of the Bible. One near-death experience after another. Just when the neck is on the chopping block, just when the noose is around the neck, Calvary Comes.
- Max Lucado, He Still Moves Stones
In the Grace for the Moment Daily Bible with devotional writings by Max Lucado, this devotion, quoted above, is entitled “Just in Time.”
Just in Time, or JIT, has been around for a while in project management. You can have less real estate consumed in storing equipment and building supplies. The metal parts get less rusty. The wooden parts don’t get water-logged and warped, at least not as much. There is less time that you must borrow money without getting to use the final product. But if you have problems in the supply chain and a shipment date is missed, you are paying a lot of construction workers to sit on their hands while you yell at someone over the phone. Okay, maybe plead and beg, whatever your style might be.
On a construction site, while I was working as the Safety Manager, there were six pressure vessels that had been fabricated in China and were being shipped, all on the same boat, east through the Panama Canal and then to the east coast destination. Each pressure vessel was larger than a double-wide mobile home. Three were so large that they were placed on the ship’s deck, too large to be placed in the hold. We had to coordinate one of the largest cranes in North America to lift them into place, with horrific expense if the crane sat idle for even one day. We had to shut down the highway each day while moving each piece, one per day, into place, we had to remove powerlines that draped too low over the highway. JIT meant coordinating with police, electrical utilities, the landside transport company, the ship, and the crane company. To ensure that the days for the delivery were going to be on time, we tracked the ship’s status each day by GPS. We knew we were on time.
With God, He provides no GPS. He simply says that we should believe and trust in Him. Like Jonah, Daniel, and Joseph, we trust, especially when we are most broken.
In only Max Lucado fashion, he sets up the final words as if they could be “The cavalry comes.” That’s what you hoped for in the old western movies. The stagecoach or the wagon train was surrounded. Hope was about to be lost, but then the cavalry shows up and saves the day.
But we don’t require the cavalry to solve our problems, we have God. Calvary comes. In other words, Jesus saves. I have heard pastors talk about the narrow margin of time from when crucifixion had been invented until it was abandoned. Jesus came to earth at that point to satisfy the prophecies regarding the perfect sacrifice.
I talked yesterday of how our son is at that point where he needs Calvary to come. We want to know where the light at the end of the tunnel is. We want to see that light. But no, we are asked to take one step of faith and follow it with another, moving into a dark cave that appears to be a dead end.
It is that kind of faith that Jesus was talking about when He told us to take up our cross and follow Him. Having the sniffles why riding on the back of a truck with the trunk of a tree draped over our shoulder may meet the literal concept of taking up a cross, but that misses the point.
Jonah knew he had done wrong. The people on the boat were suffering because of him. He confessed and he was thrown overboard to drown, but God provided the fish – just in time.
Daniel disobeyed the king’s rule because he was answerable to God, yet he was loyal to the king. He went into the lions’ den, and God sent an angel to convince the lions that they were not hungry and Daniel meat was off their diet.
But when we look at Joseph, could Joseph have become second in the kingdom, second only to Pharaoh, if he had not been imprisoned where he interpreted the dreams of the cup bearer and the baker? As a slave of Potiphar, he would have never gained that recognition. Of course, if his brothers had never been jealous of him, he would have never been thrown into the pit or would have never been sold to the Midianites. Without Joseph in charge of selling the Egyptian grain during the famine, he would have never been able to reunite with his brothers and father. The Israelites would have never been enslaved and persecuted. And there never would have been a first Passover, much less the continued celebration of Passover. Then, would the significance of Jesus dying on the cross on an ordinary day have been as meaningful as dying at Passover, to provide the Passover Lamb that saves all who believe in Him?
We are asked to have faith. Why is it that some people get a “raw deal” while others coast through? Is a lot expected of those who have had it tough? Is little expected of those who coast through? I am not condemning here or exalting here. I don’t know. I am asking yet another question that has no answer.
I simply put one foot in front of the other, moving further into that cave that I trust God who says it’s a tunnel, with an eventual light at the other side. In so doing, I praise God for creating the light that I presently cannot see, for I believe in Him and trust in His promises.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.