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Faithful in the Hard Times – Day 4

By January 18, 2024Daily Devotional

Hearing God’s Voice from His Word

James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Take a moment and turn your attention to God. Tell God that you desire to trust and obey Him. Ask God to speak to you from His word.

Psalm of the Day

Psalm 108:1-4
My heart is confident, God;
I will sing; I will sing praises
with the whole of my being.
2 Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake up the dawn.
3 I will praise you, Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
4 For your faithful love is higher than the heavens,
and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Read the Entire Psalm

God’s Faithful Love and Faithfulness. God loves faithfully. He does not owe love but he has committed to love. He is love. He is faithful in his love and in all that he does. He never decides. He is always decided, because he acts perfectly in line with his own character. Love and faithfulness to his covenant promise is his natural perfect state. In the first verse the Psalmist said that he is confident. You too can be confident because God’s love is faithful and he is always faithful. Praise him for his faithful love.

Daniel 2:1-23 – The Message
2 1-3 In the second year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar started having dreams that disturbed him deeply. He couldn’t sleep. He called in all the Babylonian magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and fortunetellers to interpret his dreams for him. When they came and lined up before the king, he said to them, “I had a dream that I can’t get out of my mind. I can’t sleep until I know what it means.”

4 The fortunetellers, speaking in the Aramaic language, said, “Long live the king! Tell us the dream and we will interpret it.”

5-6 The king answered the fortunetellers, “This is my decree: If you can’t tell me both the dream itself and its interpretation, I’ll have you ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and your homes torn down. But if you tell me both the dream and its interpretation, I’ll lavish you with gifts and honors. So go to it: Tell me the dream and its interpretation.”

7 They answered, “If it please your majesty, tell us the dream. We’ll give the interpretation.”

8-9 But the king said, “I know what you’re up to—you’re just playing for time. You know you’re cornered. You know that if you can’t tell me my dream, you’re out and out doomed. I see right through you—you’re going to slap together some fancy stories and confuse the issue until I change my mind. No way! First tell me the dream, then I’ll know that you’re on the up and up with the interpretation and not just blowing smoke in my eyes.”

10-11 The fortunetellers said, “Nobody anywhere can do what you ask. And no king, great or small, has ever demanded anything like this from any magician, enchanter, or fortuneteller. What you’re asking is impossible unless some god or goddess should reveal it—and they don’t hang around with people like us.”

12-13 That set the king off. He lost his temper and ordered the whole company of Babylonian wise men killed. When the death warrant was issued, Daniel and his companions were included. They also were marked for execution.

14-15 When Arioch, chief of the royal guards, was making arrangements for the execution, Daniel wisely took him aside and quietly asked what was going on: “Why this all of a sudden?”

15-16 After Arioch filled in the background, Daniel went to the king and asked for a little time so that he could interpret the dream.

17-18 Daniel then went home and told his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what was going on. He asked them to pray to the God of heaven for mercy in solving this mystery so that the four of them wouldn’t be killed along with the whole company of Babylonian wise men.

19-23 That night the answer to the mystery was given to Daniel in a vision. Daniel blessed the God of heaven, saying,

“Blessed be the name of God,
forever and ever.
He knows all, does all:
He changes the seasons and guides history,
He raises up kings and also brings them down,
he provides both intelligence and discernment,
He opens up the depths, tells secrets,
sees in the dark—light spills out of him!
God of all my ancestors, all thanks! all praise!
You made me wise and strong.
And now you’ve shown us what we asked for.
You’ve solved the king’s mystery.”

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Having God’s Ear through Prayer

  • Express thanksgiving to God.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sin to you.
  • Confess your sin to Him and receive forgiveness.
    (1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.”)
  • Bring your personal requests to God.
    (Psalm 62:8 “Pour out your heart before God”)
  • Pray for someone in your small group.
  • Join with others from River and pray today for Christian Challenge. They are  meeting tonight for the first time this semester.

Living as God’s People by applying the Bible

Scripture Reflection from the Sermon

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
Daniel 3:17,18

God can rescue you from all harm. God can choose to deliver you from any circumstance. God has the power to keep you safe and healthy. He can, but he may not. Eventually, even if God chooses to rescue you from illness and death today, you will die of something. On that day, God will choose not to keep you from death. Is God faithful if he gives you 60 years? Or only if he gives you 90? Is God unfaithful if you only get 30 years? Is God faithful if he gives you 90 years and you are healthy until the last minute, then you die? Is God unfaithful if you suffer, if your health fades, if someone you love dies? What will it take for you to have a heart like the young men in Daniel? They knew that God could, but they also knew that he may not rescue them. They did not base their decisions on what God may or may not do; they were going to honor God regardless of what he chose to do. How did they get hearts like that? How do we get ones like theirs? We know that they endured much hardship. Their nation had been attacked. They had seen many in their city die. They had been forced into another country and made to work for the very king who had killed their friends and family. They had faced fear and chosen faith. These young men were not just “different” than we are. It would take us off the hook if they were. We could not be expected to have their faith and faithfulness if they were super humans and we are just regular people. Be sure of this, they were just like we are. They had trained to trust through difficult times. We can do the same. Will you say to God, “I know you can keep this difficulty from me (whatever it is for you), but even if you do not, I will only worship you and nothing else”?