“And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!”
Daniel 6:20-21 NKJV
“And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
Daniel 6:24-28 NKJV
In the thick of persecution, it is easy to be unaware, or even not care about what the Lord is doing in the the lives of those who rail against us. I have learned that those who are most hostile to the Gospel are in a state of movement, either being drawn to salvation, or being pushed away, confirmed on their destination toward hell.
When I look back at my own life, I was one unexpected, for many in my life never thought I would ever come to Jesus. I had open hostility to Christians, for I had come from a toxic church experience, and had a dim view of those who professed to be followers of Jesus.
I also had a multitude of sinful strongholds that made me more than wretched.
Even in my hostility, I still saw the grace in those who the Lord had sent into my life. I remember having a very foul mouth in those days, using many a conjugation of all the popular curse words.
Though I sought to get a rise from those Christians I attacked, I was astounded at the grace that I got back. Their devotion to their Lord was amazing, even in the face of the persecution coming from me.
Reading Daniel chapter six this morning, I was struck for the first time, by the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit, as Daniel stood for his faith in the face of opposition, and the unexpected effect it had upon Darius the king.
As I read, I thought of Paul and Silas, beaten and bloodied, singing hymns to the Lord in the depths of prison, and of the guard and other prisoners listening, being moved by the Holy Spirit.
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?””
Acts 16:25-30 NKJV
In heaven, on that glorious day when all the saints, of old and new, gather at the wedding feast in the Bride, the New Jerusalem, on the New Heaven and New Earth, there will be Darius, Nebuchadnezzar, a Philippian jailer, and his family worshipping.
Brothers and sisters, it can, and will, be difficult to see what the Lord is doing through your suffering. But know this, the Lord uses everything, and nothing is wasted. Even as we are being reviled, the Holy Spirit is working, drawing those who will be saved unto Himself. I speak as one who was a reviler and now made a saint.
Let us remember Saul, later named Paul, the persecutor of the saints, on mission to Damascus. Even as he watched the clothes of those who persecuted Stephen to death, the words spoken by him, surely pierced the heart of Paul.
“But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!””
Acts 7:55-56 NKJV
“Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Acts 7:57-60 NKJV
The words, an echoing of those of Jesus from the cross, hammered into Saul. Later on that road, Paul knew Who he was encountering.
“As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.””
Acts 9:3-5 NKJV
There are hearts waiting my people, unexpected people to be saved, and some of them are kicking against the goads of conviction, as they too are seeking to persecute those bringing the Good News. Right now, you have the smell of death about you, filling their nostrils with great foreboding, for hell is near.
“To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?”
II Corinthians 2:16 NKJV
Let us pray for our opposition, that our smell become the sweet perfume of everlasting life.
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One thought on “Unexpected salvation”
May the Lord give us gentleness and respect as we remain prepared to give an answer.
Thank you so much for praying over my meeting on Tuesday. It went extremely well and I think it will be a blessing to all concerned. I am so thankful for you, your prayers, and your work in this blog, my friend.
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