Pentecost 24 – Friday Devotion

Readings: Daniel 1:1-21 and Matthew 28:1-20

Daniel 1:8-13  But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.”

Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”

 

“Tested”

This is a test. We hear those words and wait for the tone to sound. This is a test. The teacher begins to distribute the pages, reminding us of the rules of testing. Actually there are two tests at that time, one on paper and the other of integrity. Which is more important?

If we are concerned with our integrity then the above words might speak strong and bold to us. Daniel resolved he would not defile himself. 

Have you ever been in one of those situations? It would be so easy to go along with the crowd. Is it the right thing to do? What would be wrong with eating the food or consuming a little wine? Could that food have been offered to idols? Might the wine lead to drunkenness and other sin? Daniel did not want to go there. He sought the Lord’s strength to resist and he received it.

Do we not often pray “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”? The Greek makes this even a little stronger by asking, “deliver us from the evil one.” From where comes all evil? The evil one. Deliverance from him is the removal of all temptation from us or when it does come, having the strength to stand strong against it.

One way to resist temptation is to not put ourselves into situations of temptation or sin. If we have a weakness to alcohol we might not want to hang out at the bar. If we are prone to spend great amounts of money we can’t afford to lose by gambling we should probably stay away from casinos. You get the picture. We can’t ask God to lead us from temptation and then put ourselves into situations that are tempting to us.

God was with Daniel and his companions. When the test was over these young men were in better shape than the others. He was with them in more ways than this.  God blessed them because of their faithfulness. A fiery furnace? No match for the faith they had in God. Not pray to Him? Daniel was not going to give in to this. He prayed and ended up in a den of hungry lions, but God protected him.

When the challenges, the tests come, the only way we stand strong is because of the relationship we have with God. We turn and see the shadow of the cross and our Savior hanging there. We hear His reminder that He is with us – always! – even to the end of the earth. Knowing we are not alone helps us endure, it helps us remain faithful to Him

Yes, the test will come. Will we pass? Probably not on our own, but with God, our strength and forgiveness, we pass – every time!

 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, when You faced the test, You went to Your Father, Who gave You the strength to endure. Remind us, and lead us, when tested, to come into Your presence for strength and the guidance needed to endure. On our own we are soon defeated; but with You we are able to endure all things. Thank You, Jesus, for the strength You give us through Your Holy Spirit. Amen.