Some thoughts from the witness of Daniel and his companions. See also 1 John 4:4 and 5:19.
The first six chapters of Daniel illustrate very beautifully the word of Paul in Phil. 2:15 about being “blameless and harmless, the Sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation.” Daniel and his companions certainly shone as lights in the world then set in the midst of a devil-controlled Babylon and, as such, they can teach us many vital principles relative to such a witness in our day.
Many such principles could be cited, but the outstanding one is that this witness was being given by what we could call resurrection men. To use the words of Paul, they were continually delivered unto death, yet ever manifesting another life” (see 2 Cor. 4:11). There was the fiery furnace and the den of lions, each a virtual death in itself, yet leading on to resurrection. Even before that, we remember how they positively flourished when they were under the eye of Melzar in the King’s palace. They had deliberately chosen the way of threatening death, yet emerged with the glow of abundant life. And even before that, when they first survived the destruction of Jerusalem, emerging from the burning city, they were like resurrection men.
This, we suggest, is the basic and all-pervading principle if we, in our day, are to be part of God’s true light in the world’s darkness, certainly if we are to be seen as his testimony amidst the decadence of today’s ‘Babylon’, or, shall we say, unspiritual religion of any kind. We have to be men of the cross, His cross, and thereby men of resurrection. And, most of all, men of the cross in an inward sense; our own strengths crucified, our own wisdom set aside and Christ our all in all. Resurrection means an ‘old man’ crucified, and Christ discovered as the great divine replacement; it is blessing through brokenness.
This is the clear teaching of God’s word regarding the church. It is created to be the expression of Christ’s own resurrection. Years ago, we heard it said that the one word which characterizes the true church is the word resurrection. That, we have seen, is true. But, first of all, it means that individuals must take up the cross in this inward way, discovering the blessedness of Romans six.
“Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus a new life divine.” See Rom. 6:11.
Thank God for the Holy Spirit Who works all this progressively into us as we believe. And this is the way for assemblies as well as individuals, and thus God secures His light in the darkness, His way of touching ‘Babylon’.
And how encouraging that God got this witness in those who were but young men; perhaps little more than teenagers in Daniel’s day. O for such a fresh witness in our times! O for young Joshua’s who can complete the work of Moses, and young Timothy’s who can re-echo in the Spirit, the messages of Paul! The history of young Daniel and his companions teaches us that “God is able”. May the Lord do it in our day.