Today in Daniel and Acts we have lessons on how serving God and our Lord Jesus may bring dishonour. Yet any dishonour turns into good later in life, proving the truth of Paul’s words, “that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Even in a time of death, it is but a sleep with a glorious awakening. “Everyone whose name is found written in (God’s) book shall awake … to everlasting life” (Daniel 12:1,2).
The first example of ‘dishonour’ is Daniel, resulting from his commitment to pray three times a day despite an edict which King Darius had been tricked into making. God protects Daniel when he is famously put into the lion’s den. Take note of what Darius then wrote, “to all peoples and languages … I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel for he is a living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed …” (6:25,26).
This tells us that “Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian”. Now the first verse of the book of Ezra starts, “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia … he made a proclamation … the LORD, the God of heaven … has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem … to rebuild the house (Temple)” (verses 1-3), so there is a chain reaction to Daniel’s faithfulness to God in continuing to pray.
Our reading in Acts contains the account of how “the High Priest rose up, and all who were with him … they arrested the Apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors …” (Acts 5:17,18). The authorities again found them preaching in the Temple, so arrested them and “brought them before the council” and told them, “we strictly charged you not to teach in this name” (verses 27,28).
“Peter and the apostles answered, we must obey God rather than men” (verse 29). The end result was that they were beaten (verse 40) and “then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name” (verse 41). We wonder what challenges of “dishonour” might yet face committed believers today.