Daniel 6:1-18; 2 Peter 3:1-11; Psalms 119:113-120; Proverbs 26:17
OT: “Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm. The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him. Then these men said, “We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God.” So the administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, “May King Darius live forever. All the administrators of the kingdom — the prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors — have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an edict that, for thirty days, anyone who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den… When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:3-7, 10 CSB)
In the epistle of James, James wrote that wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, you will find disorder, confusion and evil of every kind (James 3:16). Evil of every kind was present in the Medo-Persian Empire as the pagan administrators and satraps were full of jealousy and selfish ambition. Darius organized the government in Babylon under the management of satraps – and over the satraps were three administrators. Daniel was one of the administrators and was distinguished far above the other two administrators because of his guileless spirit. Therefore Darius planned on putting Daniel in charge of the entire structure. Motivated by jealousy and selfish ambition, the satraps and other administrators hatched a plan to see Daniel removed. There plan was to construct a scenario where Daniel would be found guilty of crimes against the kingdom and executed. The only way they could do that was to frame Daniel in his consistent commitment to worshiping his God.
After the evil plans were set in motion, Daniel continued to worship his God, even though he knew that it would bring a sentence of death. For Daniel, continuing to give God the worship that He deserved and dying for the sake of righteousness was better than forsaking his God and living apart from God. An interesting observation on this story is that God actually allowed Daniel to go into the lions’ den. God could have stopped this evil plan from coming to fruition… He could have rescued Daniel before the death sentence was carried out – but He didn’t. Was God slow in His response? Was God late? From a human point of view, it would appear that He was – but He wasn’t. God was not slow in saving Daniel. He brought salvation to Daniel at the exact moment that would both grow Daniel’s faith and bring the most glory to God. God doesn’t operate on our timetable – and that can be discouraging and frustrating if we allow it to be. However, we can trust that God knows exactly what He is doing and that He is operating on a time table that will bring about the most good – for us and for those who are watching.
NT: “Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder, so that you recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires, saying, “Where is his ‘coming’ that he promised? Ever since our ancestors fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” …Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming.” (2 Peter 3:1-4, 8-12a CSB)
In order to prepare his readers for what would inevitably come, Peter warned them (and us) that scoffers would eventually ridicule them for the hope they had in Christ. It has been nearly 2,000 years since Christ ascended into heaven, promising to return again. From a purely human point of view, it would appear that Christ lied… that He isn’t coming back… that our hope is a fairy tale that will never come to pass. However, we must remember that God is not working from human time tables. God is not limited to linear time the way we are. God transcends time. He sees the beginning, the end, and all points in between.
The Greek word translated here as ‘delay’ means to be slow, to tarry, to loiter, to be passive. Though it may seem from a human point of view that God is loitering around in heaven, not actively involved in sending Christ back to finally save us from this evil age, God has definite purpose in His timing and is very actively involved in Christ’s return. Christ’s return will come at the right time – at a time when the most lives possible will be saved – at a time when God will get the most glory and Satan will experience the most crushing defeat. Make no doubt about it – the Lord will return, and when He does, it will be when no one expects it… like a thief in the night. He wants as many people as possible to hear the gospel and have the opportunity to respond – and at that moment (that only the Father will know) Christ will return for those who have come to faith in Him. All wrongs will be made right, and all evil will be destroyed. The important question is not when will Christ return, but what will be your fate when He does.
Psalms: “I hate those who are double-minded, but I love your instruction. You are my shelter and my shield; I put my hope in your word. Depart from me, you evil ones, so that I may obey my God’s commands. Sustain me as you promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Sustain me so that I can be safe and always be concerned about your statutes. You reject all who stray from your statutes, for their deceit is a lie. You remove all the wicked on earth as if they were dross from metal; therefore, I love your decrees. I tremble in awe of you; I fear your judgments.” (Psalms 119:113-120 CSB)
Apparently, the psalmist had to deal with scoffers who ridiculed him for his hope in God. The psalmist had to deal with evil people who wanted to cause him harm. Instead of becoming discouraged and frustrated… instead of giving up on the hope he had in the Lord, he held on even tighter. Though the Lord was not delivering him right away, he continued to love the Lord’s instructions and decrees and maintained his respect, honor, and trust in the Lord. He knew that as he help on to the word and to hope, he would experience the deliverance and sustaining power from the Lord that he needed – and the Lord would be glorified through it all.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that Your time is always the best time. I don’t see the future. I can’t even see much of what is going on in the present. But You see all, and You know all. I can trust Your judgement and Your timing to bring about the most good and the most glory. Help me to remain steadfastly, confidently, and peacefully committed to Your word, will and ways, no matter how long they take. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.