A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Feel Like You are In the Lions’ Den?

“A Prayer that Shut the Mouths of Lions” – Daniel 6 

Hebrews 11:32-34  And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets —  (33)  who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  (34)  quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Prayer works.  Prayer is effectual.  Prayer is powerful.  All this is evidenced many times in the prayers of God’s people as recorded in Scripture.  And the experiences of Christians down through the centuries confirms this as well.

James 5:16-18  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  (17)  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.  (18)  Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

This morning [This was a sermon preached at Christ Reformation Church by Jeff Crippen recently. You can listen to it in full at A prayer that Shut the Mouths of Lions]. I wanted to spend our time looking at a real man, in a real historical situation, who really prayed and experienced the power of God through prayer.  That man is Daniel, and it is the account of Daniel in the lions’ den.  Prayer is faith in action.  It is the language of faith, and we see it very plainly in Daniel’s life.

Listen then to God’s Word —

Daniel 6:1-28  It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom;  (2)  and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss.  (3)  Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.  (4)  Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.

Evil hates good.  Darkness despises light.  As Daniel fulfilled his office in righteousness and integrity, the enemy began to growl.  Daniel was on his way up in the kingdom, and justifiably so.  Like Joseph in Egypt, the King recognized an excellent spirit in Daniel that squelched corruption and bribery and intrigues.

And so the conspiracies to destroy Daniel began.

It is vitally important that every Christian learn this evil tactic well because it is still used against Christ’s people today.  Imagine, if you can, a godly person in Washington D.C. who is blessed by the Lord and who gains favor because of their diligence and integrity.  As they work to effect justice, they will make many, many enemies.   And those enemies will set out to destroy them.  We see the exact same methods used against the Lord Jesus – false accusations and, in the end, using truth to murder Him.

I want us to take very serious note of the following:

In a corrupt system or society, most often only the corrupt will advance to high position. Therefore, we must take great care in assessing true greatness.  In a structure devoid of truth and righteousness, real greatness will most commonly only be found in low places and position.

And this certainly applies to the visible, earthly church.  It applies today just as it has down through church history.  It is a great error on our part to hold “great” people in awe.  God’s true people are most often found outside the great cathedrals and pomp and ceremony.

Well, these enemies could find no ground of accusation, no matter how many of Daniel’s tax records, old school buddies, bank accounts, etc that they scrutinized.  They could find no dirt on him.  He was squeaky clean.  Quite an amazing fact.

And so they adjust their plot—

(5)  Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”  (6)  Then these presidents and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever!  (7)  All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.  (8)  Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”  (9)  Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

Evil of the most wicked and subtle kind frequently uses the righteousness of the righteous against them.  And that is exactly what happened here in Daniel’s case.  These enemies resolved to use Daniel’s godliness against him.

And what they did to pull this off is also a very frequent ploy of evil – they used the legal system.  They passed an unrighteous law and then used it to condemn Daniel.

God grants authority to civil rulers for the purpose of righteousness.  The king and the law are supposed to be instruments that cause the wicked to fear —

Romans 13:1-4  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  (2)  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  (3)  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,  (4)  for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

But wicked men are always trying to enact laws that oppress the righteous.  And we have many other unrighteous laws in effect already.  They punish the righteous and benefit the wicked.  If you want to see one of the biggest examples of those kinds of evil laws, just study the family court system and child custody laws and see what you find.  I know, for example, of a godly woman right now who is required to send her children to her ex-husband for unsupervised visitation even though it was proved at trial that he is guilty of all kinds of sordid, perverted evils against them.  And if she refuses to comply with these visitation sessions, she will be put in jail.

Notice also another principle that is true about our enemy’s tactics:

Evil always works to gain allies.  And it will strive to gain the most powerful as its allies whenever possible. Abuse victims know this all too well.  Sadly, the church doesn’t.

(10)  When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.  (11)  Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.

Here we see Daniel’s faith in action.  When Daniel knew….  Here we have civil disobedience in action.  Daniel was not naïve.  He knew he had enemies in high places.  He knew what they had done in getting the king to sign that law.  And he knew that he was publicly violating that law when he continued to pray.

But Daniel also knew something else – that His ultimate King was the Lord and that no matter what the consequences, he must obey God.  When the law of man comes into conflict with the law of God, the choice is clear for the Christian.

Daniel, you recall, had some experience in this matter of disobeying an unrighteous law and king in the matter of his three friends in the fiery furnace.  Nebuchadnezzar had learned that there is a King of kings.  Now it is time for King Darius to learn the same.  The Jews are only in Babylon because of God’s decree, and the Babylonians and Medes are under His rule as well.

Notice also this matter of the enemy spying on the righteous.  They came “by agreement” and found Daniel praying.  It was an evil conspiracy. As Christ’s people today, we need to beware of these very same tactics.  Listen to Jude —

Jude 1:3-4  Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  (4)  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

And Paul to the Galatians-

Galatians 2:4  Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in–who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery —

So always remember, we must never put out a sign in front of our church building that says “Everyone Welcome.”  Not everyone is welcome here!  Wicked people are not welcome.  Representatives of evil are not welcome – it is rather our duty to expose them and send them packing.

The thing continues —

(12)  Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.”  (13)  Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”  (14)  Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him.

Trapped by his own pride, the king realizes how foolish he has been.  But not even he can undo “the law of the Medes and Persians.”  He has been tricked into condemning his most valuable and faithful servant.  And now no man on earth can rescue Daniel.

(15)  Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”  (16)  Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”  (17)  And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.

Have you ever noticed how often Scripture paints a hopeless picture?  That is what we have here.  There is NO hope for Daniel.  Thrown into a pit full of hungry lions.  A heavy stone was put over the opening and sealed with the king’s own seal.  No man would dare try to move it.  We should not wait for such times to pray, but when those hopeless times come, we must not lose hope but must pray all the more. We know many, many people right at this moment through out blog ministry who are in the lion’s den, opening closed with a stone, sealed with an official seal, no way out.  But this is not the end of the story —

(18)  Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.  (19)  Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions.  (20)  As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”  (21)  Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!  (22)  My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”  (23)  Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

I would have very much liked to have been there when Daniel’s voice answered the king from the pit!  (Notice another parallel – there had been an angel sent to the “tomb”).  Daniel’s faith was rewarded.  God was able.  He was delivered.  God was glorified.

When we trust in the Lord even in the most hopeless circumstances, we will never be disappointed.  Never.   Our prayers are always heard and answered.  Always.  Always.  “What?  But I prayed….”.  The Lord always hears His people and He always acts. The timing is His to determine. The means and the method and form of the answer are His to determine. But we must never doubt that He hears and answers the prayers of His own.

As we are about to see, one of the answers to the prayers of the righteous is the judgment of the wicked:

(24)  And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions–they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.  (25)  Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you.  (26)  I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.  (27)  He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”  (28)  So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

The Lord is once again glorified and shown to be the King of kings, announced to all the world by a king.  This proclamation is really the theme of the book of Daniel-  “…for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.

Don’t you find it incredible that when the wicked were thrown into the lions’ den they were attacked and ripped apart before they even hit the bottom?  This underscores the miraculous and powerful intervention of the Lord.  The lions didn’t happen to be full or have indigestion when Daniel was thrown in. Are we not intended to see a picture here of another future event?  The judgment of the wicked.  Do you see that in Scripture this principle comes forward many times —

The wicked scheme against the righteous, but they end up perishing by those very same schemes.

God has this sense of irony in His justice.  Haman, for example, had scaffolds built to kill the Jews – but he himself was hung there.

Esther 7:9-10  Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, the gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.”  (10)  And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.

Psalms 140:9  As for the head of those who surround me, let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!

Psalms 141:8-10  But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!  (9)  Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!  (10)  Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.

This is meant to be great encouragement to the oppressed, and we have every right to pray these prayers, asking that the Lord cause His and our enemies to perish by means of their own devices.  Because we must all be quite clear on this:  Those Lions who did not harm Daniel, and who savagely and immediately devoured the wicked, are a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah, who is mighty to save His people and fierce to destroy His enemies.

When we pray as in the Lord’s prayer – Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven – we are actually praying that the Lord’s enemies would be defeated, that all opposition to the Lord’s will would be destroyed.  When we pray that the Lord Jesus would come again soon, we are praying for that great Day of Judgment to come at which He will vindicate His people and cast all the wicked into the Lake of Fire.  And it is a good and right thing to pray for this.  It is not inconsistent with the love of God. This IS His love in action – to bring the wicked to a certain and permanent end for the purpose of His glory in setting His people free.

There are many other examples of mighty prayers of faith recorded for us in Scripture.  Like this one, they provide us with great encouragement to trust in the Lord, to never give up praying, and to know with certainty that Christ will render us justice and destroy all His enemies.  Prayer is one of the chief ways in which we evidence our faith in these things, and it is one of the great weapons that the Lord has given us to use in this battle against the kingdom of evil.

We too can pray prayers that shut the mouths of lions.  Are you in the lions’ den today? Pray then as Daniel did and you can be sure that in His way at His time, for His glory, Christ will send YOU His angel to shut those savage mouths. (I wonder if the angel who came to Daniel came in the form of a Lion? “Hey, weren’t there only 9 lions in there?  I see 10, and the tenth is like the form of the Lion of Judah!)

Heb 1:13-14  And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?  (14)  Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

24 Comments

  1. Brenda R

    What a powerful message. It gives strength to my heart knowing that the Lord is fierce for me, his child. I am going to keep this to read when I am feeling weak. I am in need of increased faith as Daniel had. I need to be more dependant on the Lion.

  2. Absolutely inspiring! Thank you, Jeff!

    Faith in Jesus’ name CAN move mountains or shut lion’s mouths! As you said, there are many examples in Scripture of God hearing and acting upon the faith of His saints. Acts 3:16 speaks of the power found in Jesus’ name which made a lame man of 40 years walk: “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this [lame] man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

    You said Daniel’s testimony was “squeaky clean” and you pointed out how the enemy did all they could to find dirt on Daniel, but to no avail. Daniel continued to put his hand to the plow and do good which in the end brought shame and death to his enemies. In spite of the truck load of lies and wicked schemes dumped on Daniel, king Darius saw the truth and testified of Daniel’s good character: “Oh Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, WHOM YOU SERVE CONTINUALLY, been able to deliver you from the lions?” (Daniel 6:20).

    May God embolden the Daniels of today to serve Him continually by believing in this same One who delivers and saves!

  3. Thank you, Jeff, for this encouraging reminder of Daniel and how God continues to close the mouth of the lions! We serve an awesome God! There may be times when we can still hear them roar all around us and we will need to remind ourselves that they have no teeth and no power to destroy us. Your emphasis on prayer is crucial because the lions in our lives will not be defeated by our own might or power…but ONLY by God’s Spirit, thus says the Lord. (Zech. 4:6)

  4. I was privileged to hear this sermon live last Sunday (I’m in Oregon at the moment, though sadly will have to leave and head back to Oz.)
    I encourage readers to click on the link Jeff gave above and listen to it on SermonAudio as well, if they really want to soak it in.

    Some insights I had while listening to the sermon:

    (1) The lions are a type of Christ: sparing Daniel the believer’s life, but tearing the wicked counselors of the king to pieces. The lions display both sides of Christ’s character and purpose: the Saviour and protector, and the one to whom all judgement has been committed (John 5:22).

    “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
    And let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.’…
    Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord,
    For He is coming to judge the earth.
    Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! ” 1 Chronicles 16:31-34

    (2) After Daniel was miraculously delivered, King Darius issued a decree ordering all his subjects to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. The Roman Emperor Constantine did a very similar thing when he decreed that Christianity was to be the religion of the empire in the fourth century AD.

  5. Barnabasintraining

    Very timely post, Jeff. Funny how God keeps doing that! 🙂

    Thanks.

  6. Barnabasintraining

    Prayer is faith in action.

    Why in the world didn’t I ever think of it like this?

  7. Barnabasintraining

    I was reminded of this song by Michael Card

    • John P.

      I write this having flashbacks to the agony of suffering through bouts of depression as an adult, being the sounding board (as a young kid) for mom’s complaints against my dad, to lacking courage to witness for Christ, etc. All were addressed to God in prayer but none answered! Therefore, I conclude that I must not be righteous, otherwise God would answer. This sermon, although biblical, is the reason why I left the church; another pile of guilt for failure to live as a “faithful” Christian and an inability to right my double-mindedness.

      • Oh John! I am so sorry you have suffered that way. I could make all sorts of simplistic comments about why God does not always answer the prayers we beseech Him for, but it would be silly and insensitive to you. I don’t have the inside story on why God answers one plea from a suffering soul but not another, so it would be stupid of me to venture there. But regarding your idea that you conclude you are not righteous because God did not answer your prayers, I would like to gently suggest to you a more biblical way of thinking about this stuff:

        God is sovereign and, yes, He seems to answer some requests but not others for His own mysterious reasons.
        All people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; we know this because the Bible tells us so (Romans 3:23).
        None of us can tell whether we are unrighteous by looking at whether or not our prayers are answered. The outcome of my prayers does not tell me whether or not I am righteous.
        The way I know I am able to stand before God without condemnation (despite the fact that I have fallen short of His glory), is that I have repented of my sin and been born again in Christ, receiving Jesus as my Saviour, knowing that He bore the wrath of God for me and reconciled my account with God, and that He died on the Cross and was buried and was resurrected on the third day and sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for me. And for all who believe in Him, the Word and the Spirit give witness in our spirits that He will comes again to judge the living and the dead.

        For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)

        I pray you will know the truth of these verses.
        blessings to you, and thank you for sharing at our blog.

      • Brenda R

        Amen. Barbara that put me singing mode. What an Awesome Heavenly Father we have. What a Great way to start the day. Being reminded of all He has done for me/us and His Love and sacrifice. He lives today.

      • John,
        I am sorry for your agony. I understand what it feels like to have prayed go seemingly unanswered. There are certainly examples in scripture were Godly men and women prayed and what they desired or thought they needed did not come to pass. Almost all of the Apostles ended up martyred for the faith, in fact, and we can assume they prayed for deliverance. In fact, even Jesus asked for the cup to be passed from him and was denied this. But Jesus rose from the grave in the greatest act of deliverance ever seen.

        I will let Jeff speak for himself, but I do not think he meant to say that we can judge our faithfulness by how well it seems God answers our prayers. Sometimes we are not immediately delivered from the chains of bondage, and sometimes not in this life. Some people do suffer agonizing lives, yet the promise of scripture is that he works all to good for the faithful.

        I think of Stephen when he was stoned to death. How was God working all to good for him in that situation? I don’t know that we have all the answers, but we do know that he had a vision where he saw Jesus, the eternal judge, stand in support of him while his earthy and evil judges condemned him. In this life he did not receive deliverance, but eternally his reward was beyond measure.

        In my divorce when God was not fixing my ex or making me able to endure the marriage, I felt like a failure and unlovable to God. What I learned, though, was that I was letting evil define the rules of the game. No, God did not deliver me the way I wanted (to heal my marriage), but he did deliver me by giving me a whole new set of friends that would support me and help me grow. It did not make the pain go away, but it did give me hope in an ultimate rest I will attain in the future.

        I don’t know where you are on your faith journey, but I pray that you can see a few things: evil happens in this world because evil people do them. Sin and brokenness are allowed by God and used by God, but he is not the author of these things. Deliverance from that evil is a certainty for those in faith, but what it looks like or when it occurs is known only to God, and sometimes is accomplished only in eternity. But when it does come, however it comes, it is better, sweeter, and stronger than anything the Enemy has to offer.

        I will be praying for you.

      • John,
        I have lived out feeling abandoned, unloved, uncared for by The Lord. I came to those conclusions because of seemingly UNanswered prayers for about 8 years on which I would rise up early in the morning and flood the Lord’s altar with weeping and sometimes violent tears as I would open His word and read and cry out to Him. My bible has ink stained areas which cannot be read because of my prayers in tears. No answers. I decided I must not be worthy of His love and deliverance from pain. Unanswered prayers made me feel as an abandoned orphan and that I must not be godly enough. It lead me into a works mentality, or I had a works mentality in which God was not doing His part in return for my “good works of faithful prayer”. Disappointment severe, disillusioned, despair set in. Apathy and a falling away, but the hidden kind of the heart. Disappointment With God by Phil Yancey is a really good book.

        8 years later, I now can see that HE was at work, under the radar, undetected by me. I am not yet free from abuse, but I am getting close. My children still bear the symptoms of their father’s abuse – ongoing headaches from concussion, antidepressants for depression, suicidal ideation, struggles to stay free from weed use which takes the heart pain away (very temporary and such a demonic trap!), low self esteem, inability to make friends and to create close relationships, inability to trust people, inability to trust God, fear of abandonment, etc. ALL these things are manifest in my three kids to some degree or have been verbalized.

        My 14 year old son wants nothing to do with God “because God didn’t answer his prayer”. Though he won’t verbalize, I am quite confident that the prayers he is speaking of where when he had locked himself in his room and his father was beating the door in to get to him, or were after he had been beaten in rage and anger and was told it was done “in love” and that “God wanted him spanked (which was really assault) for his good”.

        I allowed these things to happen. I now see that GOD wanted ME to get up, stop praying, and take some action to PROTECT my children and myself!! I have been participating in “deeds of darkness”. “Evil prevails when good men/women do nothing”.

        John, I have to wonder if you were emotionally, psychologically, verbally, or physically abused by one or both of your parents. Were you left unprotected? Were you supported emotionally or rather were you the caregiver? These things that happen to children are an abomination to God. It was not His will for evil to prevail in your childhood. I believe as you are reaching out now to us, your soul and heart deliverance is approaching. You are dearly loved. You are a precious soul made in the image of God. We care about you. Keep reaching out. Keep connecting. We are praying for you.

  8. John P.

    I know the words of the gospel and the truths entailed, yet they are of little effect. My “sin-sick” soul lacks comfort from them and I am at a loss on how to recovery. I am getting into some deep stuff which might be better offline. Please contact via my email if you so wish.

  9. I listened to the whole sermon. Excellent.

  10. JeffC – thanks so much for this. I am amazed at how God shows his power and defense of His sheep. I want that in my own life.
    Regarding the above discussion about unanswered prayers… I remember toward the end of my marriage praying that God would rescue it. Praying that He would change me (and my ex) and save the relationship, for our children’s sake. You know what is interesting…my mom had been praying with me and said she had a distinct feeling that God had heard me and would answer me. She felt this was from the Holy Spirit. I took this to mean God was going to do what I’d asked….so when everything got worse and we were ultimately delivered…I was angry and confused.
    Until now, in hindsight when I look back at the hell I was living in. And I see that instead of God transforming my wicked husband into a righteous man, He moved in power and delivered me!
    And I’ve often had the thought that God’s priorities seem to be out of sync with ours so much of the time! “your ways are not my ways – your thoughts are not my thoughts” – it’s a mystery.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Katy- And thus your prayers were heard and answered, translated by the Holy Spirit who knows the mind of the Father.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Katy, I’m curious. Was what you were really after to have the wickedness removed from your life and you assumed the way that would happen would be for God to heal the marriage? Or were you really after Him to heal your marriage, per se?

      • Katy

        sorry I just saw this BIT –
        I am not sure. I know that I desperately wanted the misery to end… and I believed at the time that it is “never God’s will” for a divorce… so I felt the only option was for God to miraculously change his heart. His heart was hard as a stone – and logically, I assumed that if it was God’s will for the marriage to never end, then that means it must be God’s will for him to be redeemed. So I couldn’t understand why God would never “fix ” it when i prayed constantly. I couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t “redeem” this monster. I felt strongly that my kids were meant to be – I felt they were from God, they were not an accident. I know I was trying not to get pregnant, I felt like it was a miracle I got pregnant with 3 so quickly – I had them so fast and then BOOM – it was over. Like somebody threw a switch. I’ll never understand God’s plans. :/

      • Barnabasintraining

        Katy,
        That’s really interesting. I saw some comments on a thread at Julie Anne’s where they were discussing how some of them weren’t sure they should leave their abusive churches because they had been saved there and found that confusing. Someone said God works with individuals not systems (or organizations, or something like that), meaning they figured even though the system was bad, the gospel was still good and the individual who needed salvation was going to get it even in an environment God knew was toxic. His ways are definitely beyond tracing. It’s really interesting how even in bad situations He still does good things without ever implying thereby that the bad situation is good, and then delivers the person out of the situation too, in His time.

  11. Not Too Late

    Jeff, the part about the wicked falling into their own trap was such a lightbulb moment. It’s right there in the Bible! Time and again, the wicked fall into the snare they set for the righteous. The bigger the trap, the bigger the punishment for them! So go for it, you wicked ones, I will look to the Lord, He will deliver me, and you better be careful about your evil schemes, because the only ones to be destroyed by them are you!

  12. mce

    Jeff, I have been married for 20 years this year and just a few months ago realized, with counseling, that my husband has been abusing me and the kids for a very long time. Problem is he is one of the pastors at our church. And seems that the church supports/believes him more than me.Do you have resources for support for victims of abuse in the leaders of the church? THanks so much

    • Hi mce, Jeff will probably be asleep right now and will answer you later I’m sure, but I’ll have a go in the meantime.

      Jeff’s book A Cry For Justice would probably be the best resource for you. While it does not deal solely with cases like yours, it certainly recognises them, and it talks about how abusers can fool everyone in the church including those who hold leadership positions in churches and denominations.

      If people tell you “God hates divorce” then I would like to say to you that that is not true. ( I explain this in my book, which is in the sidebar of our blog.) God hates treacherous divorce, but He does not hate disciplinary divorce.

      I am not aware of any resources that are tailored solely to domestic abuse by church leaders, other than:

      Violence in the parsonage? — a brief article, and quite old.

      The following two books will have a lot you can relate to even though they are not focused entirely on abuse in the parsonage:
      Will The Real Church PLEASE Stand Up by Susan Greenfield. She was married to a pastor who was highly abusive to her in the privacy of their home and while driving the family to church — where he would then preach a ‘good’ sermon. I am guessing you’ve had experiences like that. 😦

      Broken and Battered, by Muriel Canfield, gives the stories of two survivors of domestic abuse, one of whom was married to a pastor.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Mce – I echo what Barbara says here. Thanks Barbara. In many or most cases you simply cannot rely upon your church or any other church leaders to stand with you. In a few cases you might find godly people of integrity who will stand for justice and with the victim, but sadly that seems to be a rare find in most churches. Abusers, especially those in positions like your husband’s, are very, very skilled at gaining allies and turning the tables so that the victim is seen as the guilty party. After doing some reading and educating yourself about what you are facing, you will be in a better position to make wise choices regarding how to proceed.

      If it would be of help, you can email us directly. We are always ready to listen to victim’s stories and validate them. My email is swordtrowel@gmail.com

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