Christians of Egypt in the Den of Lions
Fr Abraam Sleman
Words cannot express the feelings of grieving, lamentations and detesting for what is happening against the Christians in Egypt. Are they living among human people or in a den of lions? In Egypt now, lawlessness, murderers, liars and advocators of evil are fiercer than the lions.
In Daniel’s story, mouths of the lions were shut when they received Daniel in the den. Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty” (Dan 6:19-22, NLT).
With the king and everyone who has affections in his heart, I am calling out in anguish, “Christians of Egypt, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” O God of Daniel, are not you the same of the persecuted Christians of Egypt? Sure you are Lord as you said, “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob”(Malachi 3:6, NKJV).
The God of the persecuted Christians in Egypt is the same of Daniel. Lions are lions regardless of what form they are. The good news for the persecuted Christians in Egypt is that they are called to be Daniels of these days.
Three key words shaped the legacy of Daniel, “faith”, “worship “and “innocence.” Or if you will, you can say, “It was faith expressed in worship and innocent life.” “And what more shall I say?” St Paul said, “For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:32-34).
Persecuted Christians of Egypt are called to line up with such heroes of faith’s chain to shut up the mouths of lions and change them to peaceful lambs. The call of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church presided by HH Pope Shenouda III to fast and pray for 3 days is a call to live out our faith in such difficult time.
From His throne in heaven standing before the Heavenly Father for us, Christ is still calling His tired people, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NKJV).
Be comforted with the promises of God, “for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23, NKJV). Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us such wonderful promises, “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22, NKJV); “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:23, NKJV).
It would be more tragic if we do not believe what we know and preach about the effectiveness of the prayers of faith. Was not Elijah a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months?” (James 5:17). “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV).
Let us come and praise our God for He has done wonderful things and He will deliver His people in Egypt. The Lord God said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:7-8).