Daniel 6:19-28; 2 Peter 3:12-18; Psalms 119:121-128; Proverbs 26:18-19
NT: “Therefore, dear friends, while you wait for these things, make every effort to be found without spot or blemish in his sight, at peace. Also, regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some things hard to understand in them. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures. Therefore, dear friends, since you know this in advance, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stable position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” (2 Peter 3:14-18 CSB)
The “therefore” at the beginning of verse 14 is referring to the day of God’s judgement, when all that is of the world will be burned up in fire, and a new heaven and earth is established in righteousness. There are things that we as believers and followers of Christ are to do as we wait for His return and His coming judgement. The Greek word translated here as ‘wait’ is not a passive, sitting-around-doing-nothing waiting. It is an expectant, active watching in anticipation of something that we know is going to happen. While we are expectantly anticipating the return of the Lord and His final judgement, we must make every effort to live godly and holy lives by His grace, and live at peace with God and with mankind. We also need to make good use of our Lord’s patience (longsuffering) and the age of salvation we are currently in by getting the good news of salvation by grace through faith to as many people as we can.
Paul, in his writings, consistently wrote about our salvation, redemption, reconciliation and restoration that came, not through the righteous requirements of the law, but by grace as we place of faith fully on Jesus Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension. There were, and continue to be people that both misunderstand and misconstrue Paul’s teachings into a message of hyper-grace that does nothing to lead people in the process of ongoing sanctification – but to eventual destruction. Though we are saved freely by grace through faith, there is ongoing effort on our part – empowered and equipped by grace through the work of the Holy Spirit – to grow in godliness and in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.
As redeemed, reconciled and restored believers in Christ, as we wait – fully knowing the destruction that will come to this world – we make every effort to rinse ourselves (by grace) of any vestiges of the world within us, and make every effort to rescue as many people as possible from their enslavement to sin and the world by proclaiming the gospel and making disciples. This is our primary calling in this era of history. Everything else is secondary.
Psalms: “I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors. Guarantee your servant’s well-being; do not let the arrogant oppress me. My eyes grow weary looking for your salvation and for your righteous promise. Deal with your servant based on your faithful love; teach me your statutes. I am your servant; give me understanding so that I may know your decrees. It is time for the Lord to act, for they have violated your instruction. Since I love your commands more than gold, even the purest gold, I carefully follow all your precepts and hate every false way.” (Psalms 119:121-128 CSB)
The psalmist had a sure hope that God was going to move on his behalf, save him from oppression and bring justice to his oppressors. However, the deliverance that he hoped for did not come right away. But instead of giving up and seeking another god to help him, he kept looking for his salvation with anticipation. As he waited expectantly, he remained faithful to the Lord’s word, will and ways, and even grew to love and cherish them in the process.
OT: “At the first light of dawn the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he reached the den, he cried out in anguish to Daniel. “Daniel, servant of the living God,” the king said, “has your God, whom you continually serve, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Then Daniel spoke with the king: “May the king live forever. My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths; and they haven’t harmed me, for I was found innocent before him. And also before you, Your Majesty, I have not done harm.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to take Daniel out of the den. When Daniel was brought up from the den, he was found to be unharmed, for he trusted in his God.” (Daniel 6:19-23 CSB)
Daniel was thrown into a den of ravenous lions and had to remain in the den overnight. Darius, who regretted his impetuous law that put Daniel in the den, waited in anguish all night long fasting for Daniel’s wellbeing. Though the waiting only lasted a night, it must have felt like an eternity. As Daniel waited in the lions’ den, he didn’t wait passively. The scripture says that Daniel trusted in His God. All night long, Daniel trusted… and all night long, God kept the ravenous lions from even placing a scratch on Daniel. At the crack of dawn the next morning, Darius hurried to the lions den to see if Daniel’s God had been faithful – and to his delight, Daniel was alive, well and completely unharmed. Daniel’s salvation from the lions came, just as Daniel hoped and expected… and while he waited, he trusted and undoubtedly grew in faith. As soon as Daniel was delivered from the lions’ den, his accusers were brought to justice and God was glorified.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your patience and longsuffering that ultimately leads to the salvation of many and a greater revelation of glory to Your name. I also thank You, that in the waiting, You give me things to do so that I will stay active in faith and not grow slothful and complacent. Help me, by grace to grow in godliness and to do the things you have called me to do in faith as I wait. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.