Prophets live life dangerously. The prophet Jonah was thrown into a storm-tossed ocean, got swallowed by a huge whale and preached in the city of Nineveh held by the ruthless Assyrians. Prophets, like Jonah, risk their lives at every turn. Why they do so can be summed up in the word “faith”. They would rather face death a million times over than betray God’s confidence.
One of those who showed courage in the face of death was the prophet, Daniel. When the kingdom of Judah fell, he was woefully carried away as a captive and slave of King Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. He became a man of influence in the royal court when God gave him the ability to interpret the king’s dream. It set him apart from the wise men around the king but earned him their hatred. Hounded by intrigues woven by the jealous administrators, he was thrown into a lions’ den for worshipping God. Daniel survived his ordeal with the ferocious lions. He glorified God when he said to the king:
My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouth of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. – Daniel 6:22
Daniel became a living proof of God’s power and an instrument of God’s divine purpose.
The prophet Jeremiah also discovered how easily circumstances can turn out for the worse when one is proclaiming God’s message. A priest named Pashhur arranged for Jeremiah to be beaten black and blue and held in chains in one of the gates of the Lord’s temple when he was overheard prophesying about the fall of Judah to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Thereafter, Jeremiah was threatened to be put to death:
Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!” – Jeremiah 26:11
Adding insult to injury, Jeremiah was also imprisoned by King Zedekiah of Judah.