When he first heard these words Daniel was an old man, well over 70. He had served his Lord faithfully for nearly sixty years, which in itself was a rare testimony.
Add to this the humiliating details of his circumstances and some of the reasons he is a hero of the faith surface quickly. Yanked out of his home and country as a teenager, made a eunuch and forced to serve pagan kings, he still gave his life to God's service. Somehow he embraced this graciously as the will of Jehovah for him.
Perhaps as a reward for his special faith, the elderly prophet received some of the most important end time prophecies in all of the Bible. The last one, spanning more than two chapters, ends with this interesting promise:
God's wise children will shine as the stars forever.
By itself that would be a very odd statement. How in the world are faithful believers going to shine as stars?
Fortunately, the Holy Spirit gives a number of complementary passages that can shed a little light on the meaning. One of these is in the grand resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15. As the apostle is explaining the glories of resurrected bodies, he makes a interesting observation, that at first glance hardly seems to fit the context.
Celestial bodies, he says, are very different one from another. Their individual glory varies immensely, a fact that modern equipment has only helped to confirm. Apparently, no two planets, stars, or galaxies are the same! This, of course, testifies to the infinite wisdom and power of our Creator.
But it does more than that. It also illustrates something about our heavenly future.
Just as the expanse above us displays a vast army with different purposes and levels of shining glory, so will the future, eternal universe, teeming with redeemed souls. The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord will determine our eternal ability to shine according to our faith and works in this, our brief stay on earth.
We will all shine! Believers, no matter to what degree they influenced others for righteousness, will glow as stars . . . eternally!
I do not know exactly how this will happen, but God does. He will define it perfectly and make it happen.
But it is also significant that not all will shine with the same radiance. Our proper and never ending reward will be linked to our faithfulness to God right here, right now.
Most of us are familiar with "The just shall live by faith", and each of us has been given a measure of faith. But do we live by it? Or do we give in to doubts that distract us, waste away our time, and neutralize our spiritual usefulness?
How much of my daily life is really lived by faith in the God I cannot see?
Daniel obviously did a pretty good job with his, and he is an inspiration to me.
Dear Father, You have given me so much. You have blessed me in every direction I look. Please help me shine for Your glory here, so I can also be a bright testimony to Your grace for all eternity. Amen.