Suffering And Trusting
from "Girdle of Truth" (available from Present Truth Publishers)

Daniel 3

In the narrative of this chapter, we have a picture of the spirit and character in which the godly remnant will pass through their trials. It is not to the character of their trials, however, the outward difficulties and deliverances here referred to, so much as to the spirit of the thing that I desire briefly to call attention. In Israel, God was showing forth His mighty power in temporal deliverances, as in the case of Pharaoh; but with us, it is a different thing. Being spiritually delivered, we are waiting for God's Son from heaven. All through, those who are faithful to God have been a suffering people. Obedience and reliance on God characterize the seed all through.

We find here that, besides the love of power, they use religion to unite and band together, to oblige conformity to the king's word. No matter whether king or pope, if it is his religion (for religion being the strongest motive in the human heart), men use it to sway and influence others to gain their own selfish ends. This we find here in full perfection. He who wielded God's power, and in whose hand God put it, never used it on God's part. For God having tried man under the law, and man having failed, He then put absolute power into the hands of one man; but instead of using it in serving God, he sets up an image, and commands all men to worship it. What do we find as the result? God's people abstain from it in the character of the remnant. They will not submit, nor do they. Of course this is a great crime, upsetting the whole thing. Then comes persecution, and to that they do submit.

However God might allow His people to suffer, nothing ought to alter their reliance on Himself. Faith was as simple a thing in Babylon as in Jerusalem. God is the God of heaven and earth at all times, and none can hinder His power, or the exercise of it in grace towards His people. He may suffer them to be in trial--He may not always give outward deliverance; but patience is always the same, and the ground of confidence is the same here in Babylon as in Jerusalem. If the circumstances of trial are different, the Lord's power of interfering is always the same. Circumstances never hinder that a bit. The outward trial may conceal God's power from our eyes, but He is always the same. I doubt not in this day, many a heart is feeling discouraged, and ready to say,

"Who will show us any good?" The answer follows: "Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon

us!" And what could you get more? What is better or mightier than the light of God's countenance? However sorrowful we may be about things, that is not to weaken our confidence in God. It was when all seemed hopeless in Israel that "Immanuel" was found among them; and however hopeless the condition of God's people may seem, when a false god is set up, God remains the same.

Mark, now, the perfect power of the king, and the perfect patience of these faithful sufferers. If they had resisted the power, it would have been over with them in a moment, as they would then have taken it out of God's hand. But now they change the king's word by their patience. If they had opposed Nebuchadnezzar, it would have been all over, for God gave the king his power; but they submitted, therefore God could deliver them.

What is the effect of these faithful ones being in the trial? The identification of their names with God (as He was called the God of Abraham)! "Whoever shall speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego." What a blessed thing to be thus associated with God, having His Name associated with theirs; and how blessed the identification of the saints with the God who is not ashamed to be called their God! It was by nonresistance that they reached this glory, by bowing to the power and will of God, although evil as regards the exercise of it in the king's hand. If we get into the humble low place of suffering under the power, we shall find God's power put forth to deliver. We see here what quietness and peace of heart they have, whether it be in refusing to worship, or suffering the furnace, or coming out with honor; and it is sure to bring the blessed reward of ever having God's Name identified with ours; and the God whom we have known as our God, and whom we have cleaved to in trial down here, and He to us, is the same whose Name attaches itself to us in the glory.