Readings: 1 Kings 13 or Daniel 6
Most Bible stories have literal and symbolic meanings. Many stories are even prophetic. That is why it is important to study the Old Testament; because if you don't you will never understand the New Testament or the meanings of events occurring in our day. The Apostle Paul writes in:
|1 Cor.10:1|| Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be
ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud,
and all passed through the sea;|
2: And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3: And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4: And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5: But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6: Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7: Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8: Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9: Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10: Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11: Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12: Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Here we are all admonished not to delude ourselves into thinking that we can continue in sin and that, because we have faith in the rock Jesus Christ and have been baptized, we will be saved ! The above passage proves that tens of thousands of ancient Israelites perished on their way to the Promised Land - all because they thought of little else but 'food, drink, entertainment, idolatry, lust, fornication' and 'constant murmuring against Moses and the law Yahweh gave through him.'
2. THE MAN OF GOD FROM JUDAH
This Sabbath we will consider two Old Testament stories concerning lions. They are both about men of God. These two men knew very well the importance of obedience to the commandments of the Most High. The first is about a man of God from Judah who allowed himself to be tricked by an older prophet who pretended to have a message from God. Points in this story to remember are:
He Prophesied Against False Worship
|1 Kings 13:1|| And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah
by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the
altar to burn incense.|
2. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee.
3: And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
4: And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
5: The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
6: And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
He Refused A Reward Because He Was Under Strict Orders From God.
|verse 7|| And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me,
and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.|
8: And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
9: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.
10: So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
Alas! He Was Tricked By An Older ( Lying ) Prophet.
|verse 11|| Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons
came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that
day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them
they told also to their father.|
12: And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
13: And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,
14: And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.
15: Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
16: And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
17: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.
|verse 18||He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.|
The Man of God Believed The Lie
|verse 19|| So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house,
and drank water.|
20: And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:
21: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,
22: But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.
|verse 23|| And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after
he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the
prophet whom he had brought back. |
24: And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.
25: And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
26: And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.
27: And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.
He Died But He Was Not Devoured By The Lion.
|verse 28|| And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and
the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had
not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass. |
29: And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.
30: And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!
31: And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:
32: For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.
Jeroboam Persisted In His Sin
|verse 33|| After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way,
but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high
places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one
of the priests of the high places.|
34: And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.
Years later this prophet's word came to pass when king Josiah reigned. Though slain by the lion his bones were not burned, but remain in that sepulchre awaiting the resurrection. He was tricked by a lying prophet, but he will be in the kingdom.
|2 Kings 23: 14|| And he ( Josiah ) brake in pieces the
images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with
the bones of men. |
15: Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.
16: And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
17: Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.
18: And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.
19: And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel.
20: And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.
The Message of This Story Is Clear:
3. DANIEL IN THE LIONS DEN
The second story is about Daniel in the lion's den. This is one of the best know stories in the Bible. Points to remember are:
God Caused King Darius To Promote Daniel
|Dan.6:1|| It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred
and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;|
2: And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.
3: Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
His Contemporaries Became Jealous
|verse 4||Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.|
God's Law Became The Test
|verse 5||Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God|
But Daniel Was Faithful
|verse 10||Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime|
If The Law of The Medes and Persians Never Changed; How Much
More Permanent Do You Suppose Is Yahweh's Law?
|verse 12|| The king answered and said, The thing is true, according
to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not
14: Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
15: Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
God Will Deliver Thee
|verse 16|| Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast
him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel,
Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
17: And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
18: Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
Is Thy God Able To Deliver Thee?
|verse 19|| Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went
in haste unto the den of lions.|
20: And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
Yes My God Is Able!
|verse 21|| Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
22: My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
Death To Daniel's Accusers
|verse 23|| Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded
that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was
taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon
him, because he believed in his God.|
24: And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
|verse 25|| Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages,
that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.|
26: I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
27: He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
28: So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
4. IS THY GOD ABLE TO DELIVER THEE FROM THE LIONS?
These are wonderful stories, with great moral lessons. But suppose Darius were to ask you that question: 'Is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? What would your answer be?
The Bible Tells Us:
|1 Peter 5:8|| Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary
the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may
Wildlife / Nature Films
I watch a lot of wildlife films on TV; and one thing that appals me is how practically every creature has one or more predators ready to devour it. All the way down the food chain there are predators lurking in the background, eager to pounce, kill and devour the young, the weak and the unwary! Believe it or not, man is not at the top of the food chain. Above us are evil angels, demons with devilish appetites, eagerly watching and waiting their chance to devour us purely for their entertainment and pleasure !
This is an ugly reality we ignore at our peril. I am happy to report that Jehovah promises protection from these invisible evil beasts; protection which depends to a very large extent on Faith and Obedience.
Notice the absolute confidence of the youth David when he got ready to face the Philistine giant Goliath of Gath. Carefully consider his words.
|1 Samuel 17: 33|| And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to
go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but
a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.|
34: And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36: Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37: David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
The Time of Trouble
A Terrible Time of Trouble is about to burst upon mankind. Indeed, in some countries it has already begun. Are you confident God will bring you through it with your faith intact? Or are you full of doubts? Psalm 91 is all about that time. Carefully notice what is required to bring you safely through it.
|Psa.91:9|| BECAUSE thou hast made the LORD, which is my
refuge, even the most High, thy habitation.|
10: There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11: For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12: They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13: Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14: BECAUSE he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, BECAUSE he hath known my name.
15: He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16: With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Oh yes, our God is able to deliver us from the mouth of the lion and the paw of the bear! ( Satan and his evil army ) But, we must first trust and obey Him. We must make Yahweh our habitation, our dwelling place. We must set our love upon Him and obey Him. Failure to apply these mandatory parameters is the sure road to faithlessness and ruin. May the Almighty help us to understand and live out these realities. AMEN !