Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”. Daniel 1:9-10 (NIV).
Thank God for the official of Babylon, and not just because he showed favor and compassion to Daniel. Instead, thank God for him because he’s real, because he is me and you. “I am afraid” sums up so much of our lives because each of us has endured times of fear in our lives.
Today’s verses are reminiscent of Genesis 39 and the story of Joseph, who was also a slave in a foreign land (Egypt). Joseph also found himself in prison under the supervision of a warden who God moved to show compassion. Like Daniel, Joseph had landed in prison for adhering to his beliefs (in his case, about adultery and lying) and, like Daniel, bigger things were yet to come for Joseph. Most of all, like Joseph, Daniel was bold.
Good for Daniel; good for Joseph. But most of the rest of us (yours truly included) too often succumb to our fears. The compassionate Babylonian warden was afraid for his neck if Joseph and his friends refused to eat the rich food from the king. He was afraid that the king would find out and punish him for it.
I’m ashamed to admit that’s me. I’m the jailer. I’m sometimes scared to admit that I don’t know something at work. Or that someone will punish me for things I did long ago. Sometimes, I’m afraid that I’ll be rejected for not measuring up to other people, or for so boldly failing to measure up to the high standards God sets. Sometimes, I’m afraid I’ve built my life-house on unsound foundations.
How laughable Jesus must find all this. Maybe a little sad, too. It seems so simplistic, so childlike even, to say that trusting more in Jesus makes all those fears fade away…but it’s true! The older I get, the more I find myself reminding myself that the cure for the common sin – or fear, or worry, or whatever – is Jesus. I don’t need to hold onto my old fears. He wants me to let them go, then follow, then let Him change me; He even pleads with us to let Him take them away. How about we do that today?.
Maybe the jailer listened to Daniel, who understood Jesus as God without even knowing Jesus by name. As we’ll soon find out, things turned out just fine.
For further reading: Genesis 39:21, 1Kings 8:50, Proverbs 16:7, Daniel 1:11
Lord Jesus, forgive my fears and my lack of trust. Stay with me and make me bold for You.
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