Crisis at Your Doorstep

Crisis at Your Doorstep

By Ken Alvis

When a crisis suddenly appears at your doorstep, how do you respond? Do you:
a)Ignore it.
c)Make a quick and often rash response.
d)Pray about it and wait on God.

All too often our response is anything except pray first and wait on God. We can learn about seeking God during a crisis from the prophet Daniel. In the book of Daniel, Daniel and his young buddies have been taken captive from their home and transported to Babylon. At Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar enrolls these youths into a three-year indoctrination program at Babylon State University, also known as the BSU Pagans! At the end of the three years, the young lads have a successful face-to-face chat with the king.

Years pass, and one day the king is troubled. He repeatedly has a dream, but he cannot remember it. He calls in all his professional wizards and demands they tell him the dream and its interpretation. If they do, he will reward them greatly. If they do not, he will kill them all, and burn down their homes. Sounds like a crisis, doesn’t it?

The wizards can’t tell him the dream and so the king decrees death to all “wise men” of Babylon. Enter Daniel and his buddies, since this death sentence includes them. How does Daniel respond? Ignore it? Panic? Quickly respond? No, no, and no. Let’s read it from Daniel 2:14-16:

“Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. 15 He declared to Arioch, the king's captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. 16 And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.”

Daniel asks permission to speak to Nebuchadnezzar. Then he is so self-assured that he asks for time. He’s not stalling. Why was Daniel so confident about this? Well, earlier in chapter 1, verse 17, it says that “…Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Maybe he didn’t understand what God had given him at that time; but he sure does now, doesn’t he? Also, he obviously believed he could reveal the dream if he had time to pray, and he seeks others’ prayers.

Don’t miss this! This is so important for each of us today. Prayer occurs first before action is taken. Not only personal prayer, but making your need known to others so that they also might pray before proceeding. So, take time to talk with God, and ask Him for help in any situation. And don’t forget to include others to pray for you. This is one of the great helps of being in a small group because people in your group can pray for you as well as you can pray for them. Our story continues:

17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

What do we learn from this? When you get to the end of your own ability, when you don’t know the answer and the clock is ticking, it doesn’t mean that God is not involved. He often puts us in situations in which only He is able and sufficient. Daniel knew that, even at his young age. So, he prayed with his friends and waited on the Lord. The four of them pray and then go to bed. I don’t know how they slept, but the dream is revealed to Daniel during the night.

19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

If I had received this answer from God during the night, I would have awakened and jumped out of bed, put on my go-to-town robe and my stylish sandals, got in my vintage hot rod chariot, made a beeline to the king’s palace, bang on his door ,and yelled, “I got it! I got it!” Daniel wisely doesn’t do this. He pauses and gives thanks and praise to God. These are four wonderful verses of praise. It has been called “Daniel’s psalm.”

20 Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king's matter.”

When God answers your prayer, how often do you respond like Daniel with praise and thanks to Him? Sadly, we often just take God for granted and forget to thank Him because we have already moved on to something else. Daniel doesn’t, and this is a timely reminder for each of us. Our God is a wonderful God who loves us and blesses us tremendously, so praise Him and thank Him.
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