the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Thou shalt tread upon the lion.”
Darius made Daniel the prime minister of his empire, and this excited the envy of those beneath him.
Daniel 6:6 , Daniel 6:7
This would be highly flattering to the king, and it was cunningly framed to entrap him. It would sound so grandly that no prayer was made on earth by the space of one month, save that which was addressed to the great Darius. How often are men snared by their own pride!
Daniel 6:8 , Daniel 6:9
Little dreaming what he had thereby done. It is wise to consider a long time before we set our hands to any writing, otherwise we may soon sign away the inheritance of our children.
He made no alteration, not even in the mode of his worship, lest there should be thought to be any wavering in him. To him life or death was not the question, but loyalty to his Lord was all in all. He would not bate one jot in his adherence to his God, and he took care that his enemies should know this at the very outset.
This rule was an affectation of grandeur, and a very foolish one. Immutability is for God, and not for men.
He was far more wretched in his palace than Daniel in the den. What a grand night the prophet must have spent: no wonder that he afterwards saw visions of terrible beasts, and yet felt no fear.
Daniel 6:21 , Daniel 6:22
Well, kindly and courteously spoken. He did not blame the king, but saluted him right loyally.
God can still shut lions’ mouths. Let us do the right at all hazards, and the Lord will deliver us. Daniel’s God still lives: are we prepared to be Daniels?
The Christian, like his Lord of old,
Must look for foes and trials here;
Yet may the weakest saint be bold,
With such a friend as Jesus near.
The lion’s roar need not alarm,
O Lord, the feeblest of thy sheep;
Nor can the fiercest monster harm,
While thou art nigh to watch and keep.
Therefore I will thy foes defy,
And own thee as my God, my friend;
No fear shall make me e’er deny
The God on whom my hopes depend.
Thus saith God of his Anointed;
He shall let my people go;
‘Tis the work for him appointed,
‘Tis the work that he shall do;
And my city
He shall found, and build it too.
He shall humble all the scorners,
He shall fill his foes with shame;
He shall raise and comfort mourners
By the sweetness of his name;
To the captives
He shall liberty proclaim.
He shall gather those that wander’d;
When they hear the trumpet’s sound,
They shall join his sacred standard,
They shall come and flock around:
He shall save them;
They shall be with glory crown’d.
Praise ye the Lord; ‘tis good to raise
Our hearts and voices in his praise:
His nature and his works invite
To make this duty our delight.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem,
And gathers nations to his name:
His mercy melts the stubborn soul,
And makes the broken spirit whole.
His church is precious in his sight;
He makes her glory his delight,
His treasures on her head are pour’d;
O Zion’s children, praise the Lord.
There is a fountain fill’d with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins:
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransom’d church of God
Be saved to sin no more.
E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Many times since days of youth,
May Israel truly say,
Foes devoid of love and truth
Afflict me day by day;
Yet they never can prevail,
God defends his people still;
Jesus’ power can never fail
To save from all that’s ill.
God hath Zion set apart
For his abiding place;
Sons of wrath and guileful art
He’ll banish from his face:
God for Israel doth fight;
Israel, on thy God depend;
Christ shall keep thee day and night,
Till all thy troubles end.
“He shall let go my captives.”
Babylon had overthrown Judah, and now in its turn it was vanquished by Cyrus: this was greatly for the good of the Jews, for the Persian king became their friend and patron, according to ancient prophecies. Thus the Lord’s purposes were fulfilled. When his time is come, all things work together to accomplish his designs.
Ezra 1:1 , Ezra 1:2
It is delightful to hear such an acknowledgment from so great a king, and to see him so cheerfully take up his allotted work. We also have received all that we have from God, and should be prompt to do his bidding.
The king’s word and example excited a good feeling towards the Jews, so that they went out of Babylon as aforetime they had gone out of Egypt, laden with silver and gold.
Ezra 1:7 , Ezra 1:8
These vessels were the lawful spoil of Cyrus when he captured the city of Babylon and its temples: a generous spirit prompted him to restore them to their ancient use. God knows how to provide for his own temple; Cyrus restored the vessels, but the Lord’s hand was in the matter.
Ezra 2:64 , Ezra 2:65 , Ezra 2:68 , Ezra 2:69
Encouraged by the Persian king, a considerable number returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, though not such a company as might have been expected when affairs were so favourable.
Ezra 2:64 , Ezra 2:65 , Ezra 2:68 , Ezra 2:69
They had brought generous hearts with them, and at the sight of the sacred site they laid down their voluntary offerings that the Lord’s house might be restored. God’s house should be considered before our own house.