Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. 15Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” 16So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” Daniel 6:13-16
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness. I am surrounded by fierce lions who greedily devour human prey—whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like swords. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth. My enemies have set a trap for me. I am weary from distress. They have dug a deep pit in my path, but they themselves have fallen into it. My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth. Psalm 57:1-11
Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me. May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay. Psalm 40:13-17
The Psalms from yesterday's devotional and today's are Psalms of David. They seem like they could be Psalms of Daniel in that they so aptly capture what we would imagine Daniel was going through. Both of today's Psalms are episodes in David's life when he is going through a severe trial. Notice the double petition to God, "have mercy .... have mercy" at the beginning of Psalm 57. David is feeling the impact of his trial rather severely. Now notice the double exclaimation to God, "my heart is confident .... my heart is confident" near the middle of the Psalm. David cried out to God for mercy and if you look again you will see that he speaks of God fulfilling his purpose for him. Here is how it all fits together: David is overwhelmed by a danger and he cries out for mercy that God would hide him beneath the shadow of his wings. Essentially, David is asking God to help him come to the spot where God is more real to him than the trouble he is facing and he asking that this will be the case until the trouble passes by. When we get to David's double exclaimation to God, "my heart is confident .... my heart is confident," we are seeing that David's pettition has been answered and that he has transitioned from one inner state to another. God's presence is the differnce and not the passing by of the danger. God's presence impacts David and the change in David through God's presence impacts others throughout the entire sphere of his life. This work of God is a part of how he fulfills his purpose for trials that come whether it is David, Daniel, or us.
Lord, I realize that my trials are not as dramatic as Daniel's trial of being in a lion's den. I also realize that the deliverence you accomplished for Daniel is a very dramatic intervention far beyond what I am ever likely to need. Even so, I do tell you, Lord, that I believe that all that you are and all that you do on my behalf are totally sufficient for the trials I experience. Help this belief in my head to translate into a full faith response to you in the midst of all I am going through today. You are amazing, God, and you are faithful to all generations of those who trust you as Lord and Master over all.
Posted on Tue, March 3, 2015
by Ken Hart