In June 2018, twelve boys on a youth soccer team became trapped while hiking a cave complex in the Chiang Rai province of Thailand. They were trapped by flooding due to heavy rains that were unanticipated.
Because the cave complex was extensive, the hope that the boys were alive was questionable. Divers and trained Thai Navy SEALs located the boys alive in a distant cave. The discovery led to a successful rescue operation.
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
Like the children in the cave, humanity was lost and in need of rescue. God sent His Son to find and bring people into relationship with Him. As a rescued people, Christians now have the responsibility to seek out others in need of saving and introduce them to Jesus Christ.
God says that those who rescue others for eternal life shine like stars. Christians become bright beacons of light in the dark void of the sky, pointing the way of salvation for all they encounter.
Prayer Suggestion: Lord help me to effectively lead others to You.
Quicklook: Daniel 12:1–3
A story is told of a fire in Africa that set a hillside ablaze. The Africans, experts in fire emergencies, soon had the blaze under control. When the smoke cleared observers saw a large bird sitting on her nest of eggs. She resembled a skeleton with feathers burned off, but still guarding her eggs. Were the eggs protected by her guard? According to the story, observers later rejoiced when the mother bird passed by with a full flock of babies.
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9).
Christians are those removed from the fire of God’s judgment. Jesus took the judicial penalty of sin on himself at the cross.
When God brought the Israelites from Egypt, He commanded they never forget. He wanted their rescue to be before their eyes. The memory was to be as vivid as if written on the inside of their eyeglasses. They were to view everything through the lens that they, an undeserving people, had been rescued by a loving God.
Thought for Today: God’s people should view every circumstance in light of God’s love.
Quicklook: Daniel 9:7–14
Daniel received a vision of four fierce animals, nations with beastly characteristics. He saw a lion with wings, a ravenous bear, a leopard with four wings and four heads, and a fourth terrifying beast.
Daniel then saw a throne occupied by the sovereign God who rules above all nations.
His white clothing and hair spoke of supreme holiness. Flames and a river of fire depicted the glory of His person. Wheels depicted His swiftness to be everywhere present. Tens of thousands attended Him. Then this Supreme Judge sat judging all peoples and nations.
“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze” (Daniel 7:9).
Turmoil and beastly actions trouble the world and bring great harm. Christians cling not to worldly powers or influences, but to God alone. The Lord is greater than any worldly power or authority. He alone is worthy of all worship, praise, and devotion.
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help me to worship You alone, the God of glory.
Quicklook: Daniel 7:9–14
Delivering food in a small car, the college-age driver knew that the faster he drove the more tips he was likely to make. Speeding onto a freeway on-ramp, his tires hydroplaned on water, and the car turned sideways. Then, it started to roll. It seemed like the sound of the crash and breaking glass lasted forever. Finally, his car came to rest on its side. He crawled out the space where the windshield once was. Because he was a Christian, he believed the Lord had delivered him, despite his questionable driving. Sometimes, however, Christians need God’s help because they’ve done the right thing.
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand” (Daniel 3:17).
Christians can rest in God. He has promised to be with His people and to go before them. When Joshua encountered the “commander of the army of the Lord,” he knew that he was not fighting his battles alone.
Heavenly forces easily overpower the armies of men. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help me to remember that You are with me.
Quicklook: Daniel 3:14–18
Owning a boarding house in 1849 Astoria, Oregon, Conrad hosted large groups of miners returning from the California gold fields. His family worked hard preparing meals and hosting. Sometimes one hundred guests descended at once when a ship came in.
His guests often had buckskin sacks of gold dust, and they wanted Conrad to guard their treasure. Having no locking safe, Conrad put the sacks under his bed. No sack was ever lost or diminished, despite the humble location of its safekeeping. Conrad kept himself from his customers’ money, just as the prophet Daniel kept himself from food God had forbidden.
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way (Daniel 1:8).
Because of his desire to please God, Daniel requested to eat only food allowed in the Scriptures. He risked punishment, but God blessed his desire and permission was given. He became an example to the Jewish captives around him.
Christians are called to live lives of Godly character, to go against the flow even as Daniel did.
Thought for Today: The Spirit powerfully strengthens God’s people for holy living.
Quicklook: Daniel 1:8–17
Often believers will attend a powerful spiritual retreat or a moving church service and afterward exclaim, “God was there!” But sometimes these same believers fail to realize that the God who was “there” remains with them.
“And the name of the city from that time on will be: the lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35).
God showed Ezekiel a future vision of God living with Israel in perfect harmony. God has forgiven their sins and removed all the barriers in their relationship with Him. He dwells among them for eternity.
An encounter with God isn’t meant to last for only a moment. The encounter is to transform God’s people so that each person can experience the ongoing reality of God’s presence.
Just as the identity of Jerusalem was transformed so the very name of the city was tied to the presence of God, so believers’ lives can be changed so that their identities are intertwined with the Holy Spirit’s life.
God’s presence isn’t limited to churches, camps, and altars. He wants to be with His children in every part of their lives.
Thought for Today: God’s people are identified by God’s presence.
Quicklook: Ezekiel 48:30–35