We are quick to defend our opinions and our “rights”. We get so caught up in self-defence that we sometimes forget that we have a God by our side who is ready willing and able to defend us. Just like an earthly father would defend his son or daughter would not our Heavenly Father be ready to do the same for us? There are some things that we can defend on our own, but it is recognizing that there are some battles what we need help from our Father.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.”
The book of Daniel is a great example of when we can defend ourselves and when we need to step aside and let God defend us. Think back to when Daniel and his three friends arrived in Babylon, they were sent for training where they were going to be forced to eat all the rich foods. Daniel and his friends stood firm and offered their alternative which with hesitation was accepted and eventually convinced their masters that it was a good diet. Daniel stood firm in his defiance of the Kings orders that everyone was to only worship him. These battles and defences were their own, they relied on their faith and God blessed them for it.
Here is today’s verse, we see the boys stepping aside and letting God defend them. They knew that there was nothing they could do or say to convince the King that they shouldn’t bow before his statue. They knew that it was wrong, and that was enough for them, to defy God by bowing to another was not a compromise they were willing to offer. This infuriated the King so he tossed them in the fiery furnace. We see no protest from the young men as they were sent towards the furnace. Even when the guards who escorted them burnt up they did not resist. Why? They had a hope and faith that the God of their fathers was their God and would either rescue them or take them to where He was. If they had of perished they may have been the first recorded martyrs. Yet they did not and their faith was defended by God, showing the who Babylon city that God was more powerful than the King and any statue he created.
The second story of God defending that Daniel offers is one where Daniel’s defiance of the Kings order that all should worship him alone sentences him to the lion’s den. Not this practice was not for just any criminal but for the scoundrels that needed to be made examples of. These lions would have been hungry as they feed them just enough that when they tossed someone in they would ravage that man or woman. So one would have expected that once Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den he was a goner and there would be nothing left but bones come morning. The King would have known this yet Daniel was his favourite and it was trickery that forced his hand. He hoped that the God Daniel served would protect him, that is why we see him rush to the den the next morning. Of course, Daniel like the three boys is alive and well, not a scratch on him. The King is dumbfounded and rescues him from the den.
What it is in your life that you need to battle today? Is something you can do in your faith, or something you need to ask God to defend you for? God gives you the strength to take on daily battles, He reminded us that to do this we need to put on the full armour of God. It is hard to defend yourself if you’re not the least bit prepared. If the young men had not been praying and preparing their hearts, trusting God in all things, when they had seen the guards and were threatened to be burned alive they may have changed their choices. But they trusted God and gave the choice back to Him to defend them in that matter because they knew they were doing what was right. If you’re in a battle prepare yourself and give it to God, He will help you through it. He will show you what you can do and He will do what needs to be done. You can get through it. You are not alone.
Father, today we are all fighting some sort of battle. We pray from strength and wisdom to defend ourselves. Remind us daily that we need to put on the full armour. If we leave just one part out, that area will become a target of the enemy looking to weaken us. We ask Holy Spirit that you join us in our battles, protect us from the enemy’s attacks. Help us to be ready willing and able to tell others about your love for them. Let our lives be an example of a God who loves and defends His people. Amen