"Be careful for nothing"

Careful about nothing, and prayerful and thankful in everything, is the true attitude of those who know God, towards circumstances in this world; and what a life of blessed contentment and peace would this condition of things yield. But it is not natural to any one of us to be thus superior to circumstances, and it may be asked: Is it possible?

The Scriptures not only give us the most blessed precepts and exhortations, hut these precepts are also presented to us, livingly, in men like ourselves. These are witnesses to the fact that a life of obedience to these precepts is not Utopian in character but within the reach of every one who, coming to God, believes that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

The three Hebrew youths (Dan. 3) stand amongst the chiefest of the witnesses to the fact that it is possible to be without care. They were confronted by the cruel power of a pagan autocrat, and threatened with destruction in the furnace of fire, but they stood forth without a tremor in the presence of the power of evil, and refused to be turned from the path of rectitude, saying, "O Nebuchadnezzar, WE ARE NOT CAREFUL" (v. 16).

"Our God is able"

Was it reckless bravado on the part of these three young men, or mere indifference to consequences, or the unyielding of indomitable wills that made them defy the Babylonian monarch? Nay, it was their faith in God; they could speak of Him as "our God," and they knew that He was behind the circumstances and greater than them all; they knew that He was greater than the proud and wrathful king before whom they stood, and their faith rang out clear and true, when they said: "We are not careful . . . OUR GOD IS ABLE" (v. 17). The case was in God's hand, He was the Arbiter of their destiny, He could deliver them from the fire or carry them through it; but whatever the consequences, they would trust in Him and serve Him. Noble youths! impregnable in their faith in a God well known, they were greater and more glorious than all the greatness and the glory that had gathered in the plain of Dura that day.

"His servants . . . that trusted in Him" (v. 28)

And what was the result of this conflict between simple and unquestioning faith in God and the power of this devil-inspired monarch? The fury of the king knew no limit or mercy, and, bound hand and foot, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were cast into the fire. God did not quench or remove the furnace: He did a greater thing, He carried them through it; its hot breath was as the zephyr breeze of summer day upon their cheeks, and in the midst of it, free from every fetter, yoke, and care, they walked in happy concord with the Son of God. Thus by their faith and faithfulness was God glorified, and to the world that knew Him not, it was proved that He can and does deliver His servants who trust in Him.

"His servants . . . yielded their bodies" (v. 28)

Yes, their bodies, not their spirits. Their bodies might be bound and burned, but their spirits were free, for they feared not them that kill the body, because the God of body and soul, the God of all circumstances, the God of time and eternity was a great and present reality to them.

"Because he believed in his God" (Dan. 6:23)

Daniel, also, is a witness to the blessed fact that God's servants may be careful for nothing, as he is an example, also, of one who was prayerful and thankful in everything. The plotting of his foes, the unalterable decree of Darius the Median, and the den of lions, changed not the prayerful habit of his life, he was garrisoned by the peace of God, in whom he trusted, and as aforetime "he kneeled down his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks to God."

His enemies clamoured for his destruction, his king laboured for his deliverance: there was peace for neither; but he whose fate seemed to hang in the balance was perfectly and profoundly quiet.

And he was cast to the fierce beasts, but their jaws were locked and barred by angel hands, and Daniel rested in that rough-hewn den as peacefully and well as though in the curtain-hung bed-chamber at the palace.

"So Daniel was taken out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him because he believed in his God."

"God is not ashamed to be called their God" (Heb. 11:16)

With what dignity does true faith clothe men! God Himself is not ashamed to be linked with them as their God; and this link is a very personal one.

Nebuchadnezzar could speak of Him as "the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego," and Darius could call Him "the God of Daniel," but these men knew Him through intercourse with Him, and they could call Him "our God" and "my God." Blessed privilege!

God is the same today: His power is undiminished, and every circumstance in the lives of His people is in His hands. He may not intervene to quench the violence of fire or stop the mouths of lions. He may even permit them to be tried by "cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, by bonds and imprisonments;" they may be "destitute, afflicted, tormented" but He knows the way He takes, and their reward is with Him. He will say the last word about everything. He has already said it, and no power of men or demons can alter it. "I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another" (Isa. 42:8). "I am the Lord; and there is none else" (45:18). And "them that honour Me I will honour" (1 Sam. 2:30).