My heart and mind was exercised today to seek out the fulfilment of the promises given to Gods people and how things worked out in their application.
Daniel was the one who came to mind, a young man with a heart set on His God and who took God literally regarding the promises made in His word.
Alongside his compatriots Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego they stood firm in their faith even though faced with massive opposition in mighty Babylon.
The rougher the going became with the opposition the tougher they became in over coming because the Living God stood with them.
'Fear not' was their watch word as they face continual hostility in captivity, God did not bring them out but He kept them secure whilst they were there.
A thought to ponder today that the same promise and conditions are open to all of Gods people, He will keep us from falling without bringing us out of the trial of our faith.
When the testing gets severe the promises become paramount to be claimed, the stronger the trial the greater the assurance of mastery becomes clear.
God had become very real to these four stalwarts of the faith as He gave the promises they believed Him to fulfil them in them personally.
Let us look at the similarity with these four alongside the disciples after Pentecost, Gods preparation left fully trained men and women to perform the tasks allotted to them.
In Daniel 1 v 4 the four men are described as being taught of God in 'all wisdom', cunning in knowledge and understanding all in preparation for what was to come.
'Wisdom' is insight into things, to be intelligent not only mentally with a human view but spiritually also, seeing that we can see things from Gods point of view.
'Knowledge' points to gaining insight into things that are with held from others, the word 'cunning' is linked with it and brings out the skilful use of knowledge that has been with held from others.
'Understanding' brings out the thought of not just apprehending the statement but the disclosing of the truths not perceived by the onlookers.
There were very clever and intelligent people around the courts of Nebuchadnezzar gifted in all manners of knowledge but lacking spiritual insight into issues.
There were folk who had insight into the affairs of the nation but they had limitations and they had to go to the 'god' prophets to seek an answer that was not always forth coming.
This is where we find the massive difference between them all and these four Hebrew men they were able to forth tell as well as fore tell the events that were to become reality in the rest of human history.
When it really mattered these four men stood out from the crowd as men worth listening to but also to accept what was being revealed by them.
They had these spiritual ingredients that baffle human nature, the ability to see things as they really are in the sight of the all seeing and all knowing Living God
The only way that these can be received is by spending time alone with God not by studying commentaries and listening to others but by direct contact with the Lord Himself.
It is one thing listening to a good teacher and drinking in the knowledge he imparts but something else to receive knowledge and wisdom from the Creator.
There is nothing left to chance or guess work when the Living God is concerned, there is no hit and miss that may happen or could happen, no the word received from God brings promises to good and bad people.
We should notice the pattern that evolved in Babylon as jealousy soon takes over in the capital city, critics are soon to be heard and charges made against the anointed servants of the Lord.
This was not confined to the Old Testament world but in the New Testament world men offered money to receive the Holy Spirit as in the Acts of Apostles.
Human nature delights to speak with great knowledge baffling the minds of the hearers leaving them stunned at what they hear but when the simple gospel is preached so that everyone can understand the truth they only shy away or turn their backs on it.
So back to Daniel and these four brethren who stood firm on the promises of God and to the trials they face with the calm assurance that the Living God would see them through.
The three Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were to face the fiery furnace hotted up for the occasion seven times hotter 3 v 19, exceedingly hot' v 22.
'God is able to deliver' v 17 when the errand is urgent we find the Lord is present with us what a terrific promise to claim, note 'our God' there is a distinct difference between 'gods'
and the Living God.
The Living God stands all of from all the idol gods that men construct and therefore we say boldly that all roads to not lead mankind to the Living God, there is but one narrow way.
The Lord Jesus is the only way that anyone can approach the Throne of the Living God, all else will be withered up by the very purity and holiness of the Creator God.
Daniel has several years to reveal the wisdom, knowledge and understanding before the King and courtiers before his great trial in the lions den.
The fact that all the brains in Babylon could not solve the pressing dream of the King and the demands to interpret it speaks loudly of the poverty of human knowledge when measured against the knowledge imparted at the Throne of Grace.
Daniel had worked hard as a boy in school and as a young student in college, he stood out as a particularly bright youth but the spiritual knowledge effected his life even more.
The wisdom, knowledge and understanding learned from his Divine Tutor made him head and shoulders above those around him, it was due to his application of Gods word to his life.
The theory was now to be put into practise and in the dreams, visions and writing on the wall 5 v 12 Daniel was able to bring home the reality of things as the truth sent by the Living God.
The lions den experience comes as a result of extreme jealousy but the Living God is already preparing His servant Daniel for this ordeal 6 v 10.
The truth should be underlined here that Daniel was in the habit of enjoying such communion over the years it was not a special period of time to cover the special ordeal.
What a testimony he heard 6 v 27 from the king, it is 'the Living God' v 26 who has 'delivered, rescued and worketh signs and wonders' v 27.
In the quiet hours meditating on the word receiving ministry from the Lord Daniel had learned to wait upon his God and when needed was able to reveal the truth to kings and nations.
The second half the book Daniel is able to reveal to us today the mighty plans that our God is working to in the years ahead, the mighty Empires will come, rule and go in their season.
They point us to Messiah coming and after being rejected by the Hebrews they would be scattered far and wide for a space of time.
Our God reigns supreme and every word that He speaks is for us to believe and apply if we are to become the men and women that He intends us to be.
The promises of God are all fulfilled in detail by those who trust in Him and no matter the situations and circumstances that we are called to go through we will like these four brethren find that He always keeps His word.