Daniel and his friends were stranger, captives and slaves in a foreign land. But although they had a bad fate they prospered and became to be the most honoured and most influential men. So it did not take a long time and other men became jeleaous about them and they try to accuse them. They cheated against the king and created a trap for them. We might not be as honoured and influential as Daniel and we especially might not be as righteous as him as long as it is upon us alone. But there might also be some people who are jeleaous about us, about our successes and our influence and they try to attack us, to trap us and to … fire us. They bring us into situations where we are forced to resign. I believe that we should understand “to fire” in its literal meaning. I explained this with Ijob and the satan who has been jeleaous and who is just a substitute of people saying: He is not a special man. If I would be in his situation, I could do better, far better than him. Please understand that in most times it is people who are fighting against us but that they are not our enemies and that they are only used by spiritual forces. We are not fighting against flesh and blood.
So the story of Daniel and his friends it is one of God’s supernatural helping but it could also help us to understand how we can survive our fire ovens: people being jeleaous about us, fighting against us, creating traps so that we should be fired.
We will see that it is the first response of Daniel that saved him and his friends: If our God wants to, he will save us. But even if he don’t want to, we won’t bow down to the king.
But at first let’s take a look on God’s supernatural helping. In the apocryphal book “The prayer of Asarja” the story has got a few more details that helps us to understand how we can survive our fire oven. The angel who is with them is named here and it is described what he does: His name is Asarja and he is a cool wind that depart them from the fire. In Hebrew 1 and in Psalm 104 we can read that God made his angels to winds and his servants to flames. So we might be in the fire of circumstances but supernaturally we can experience a cool wind within us. Although we should be worried we might experience a peace within us we can’t explain. So let us trust this peace and let us not be rational and question this peace and drive it out. In other days I will explain the nature of winds but this is what we have to know today: There might be a peace beyond our mind and we could trust him.
And there is something about the name Asarja, which means: God helps and God saves. I don’t think that this is a coincidence that this angel is named like Jesus, which also means: God helps and God saves. So when Daniel and his friends has been to the fire oven, we could assume that Jesus himself has been with them. So we might experience especially in the days of storms and fires that Jesus is with us – as the helper and saviour of our souls and lifes. He is the helper and saviour as he died on the cross and he provided god’s armour for us.
Although all parts of God’s armour will help us in the fire oven and might be found at Daniel and his friends I will only describe the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation today. Daniel is described as a righteous man, like with Ijob you could hardly find any sin in his life. We are not righteous on our own and so we don’t have naturally the breastplate of righteousness. But as Jesus died on the cross, he saved us, he gave us righteousness. There is no reason for righteousness within us as Paul told it to the Roman, but because of his grace without our work we are made righteous. This is a breastplate. This is God’s armour for us in the fire oven. Whenever you are trapped, whenever you are about to be fired there are accusations against: You failed. You did too many mistakes. You sinned. You are not good enough. This could be an endless circle of accusations like the 30 chapters where the “friends” of Ijob tried to convinced him of his sin. The truth is: We are not like Ijob and Daniel. We sinned. We failed. We did too many mistakes. We are not good enough. But it is Jesus who provided us the righteousness we desperately need. We will survive our fire oven if we trust in our righteousness in Jesus. We will fail if we trust in our own.
Daniel also used the helmet of salvation: If our God wants, he will save us and if doesn’t want to, we won’t bow before the king. It is this attitude of faith that cools down the flames in our fire oven: Whatever will happen to me, I’ll be safe. In our mind is the place for worries and sorrows. It is the helmet of salvation who protects our minds. This is not a magical thing but this attitude of faith. Evil things could happen to me or good things, nothing in this world and beyond this world could depart me from the love of God: All things work together for good. And although Daniel and his friend had all parts of God’s armour I assume that it was specifically the helmet of salvation, this attitude of faith who brought a cool wind in the fire oven, so that they are not harmed by the flames. That the fire even could not be smelled upon than although their guards died only if they came near to the flames.
What is your fire oven? Maybe it is hotter than the people around you could bear. But you are the beloved one of God. You have been made righteous by the grace of the God and you have been equipped with the helmet of salvation. So you will survive. This is the truth and the truth will set you free.
How long does it take to write a sermon or a blog post? This one took me two hours. And it took me at least 6 years of my life. 6 years of reading thousands of page from René Girard and other thousands of pages from Viktor Frankl and other great minds. It took me years of thinking, searching for answers and a lot of suffering. So please understand that this blog post is only a small abbreviation of a long, long journey.
There are many parts of a puzzle and I will mention only one beside of René Girard and Viktor Frankl. I understood these things when I heard this year about resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope with crisis. There are people who could easily handle with crisis and fire ovens. They have the strength of resilience, what means bouncing back, jumping back. Like a tumbler they have the bouncebackability. You could push them down and they bounce back again. As I heard about this I understood that this is one of my core qualities – that is even described in my name: Springhut. Spring! = Jump! Hut = hat. Like these cylinders who jumps to their full size. So I no longer describe it as a tumbler-quality, but as a Springhut-quality: How you could learn to be a Springhut. In my german blog you will find a series about this and Ijob and a lot of more.