Today I sat with the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den found in Daniel 6. Daniel was very successful in the culture of his world. Verse two tells us that he was in line to be in charge of the entire empire. His contemporaries, the rulers of the other provinces, plotted to set him up. They couldn’t find fault with his work product, his decisions or his trustworthiness. But, they knew he loved his God. They decided they would only be able to “get him” if they somehow used his faith against him.
What a testament to Daniel! First of all, look at how gifted he is in the spirit. He is very talented, honorable and wise. As I would say, he is “blessed and highly favored.” Everyone knew that he gave this glory to God. He was not prideful or boastful. He was good at his work and gave all the credit to God. I wonder if my contemporaries know that I love God that much. We hide God too much. We may say in private that God is the source of all good things in our lives. We may go to church and live in quiet obedience. We may bring Godly ways into work but do we give the glory to God like Daniel did? Notice he did not have a religious job. He worked in the government and did so with integrity. He didn’t worry about alienating anyone or offending anyone.
How in the world did we get to a culture that encouraged us to dim our light? How did we get to the point that we feel uncomfortable in the secular world expressing love for Jesus? Have we committed so much to “COEXIST” or the religion of” love everyone” that we can’t love our Jesus out loud? Is my faith strong enough to live the life God calls me to live? Am I too afraid that someone will call me a hypocrite because I’m not perfect or intolerant because I believe what Jesus said? Do I care too much what people think? Or, worse, am I too afraid of the test that comes from the enemy when we announce our Christianity? I really don’t want to be one of those examples we all point to of the person who has fallen far from the God they once loved so much but, do I have the faith of Daniel?
Next in Daniel’s story, his contemporaries convinced the King to pass a law which said that if anyone prayed to anyone other than the King, they would be thrown in the lions’ den. Daniel did not flinch. He went home and, in front of open windows, he prayed, giving thanks to God.
Woa! Daniel didn’t try to hide. I might have continued to pray ….. in my head. I would have at least closed the blinds. Good gracious! I mean, when the government says “I’ll kill you if you pray”, it seems ludicrous to then pray out where everybody can see. Here I am, praying in silent just because other people may disapprove. My life isn’t on the line. My child’s life isn’t on the line. How ridiculous am I? Even if I did pray out in the open, you can bet I’d be praying for protection. It may go something like this, “God, I don’t’ know why in the world you did this to me but I’m gonna need your help. I really don’t want to die just because I prayed and this doesn’t seem fair at all.” Not Daniel, he said thank you. And not a sarcastic “Gee thanks God. I’ve done everything you’ve asked of me and now you’re going to get me thrown to the lions” ( P.S. I might’ve done this, just saying.) He truly trusted God with his life. He lived with a peace that surpassed all understanding. He didn’t pray for protection because he knew it was already done. He sat with God in authority over injustice. He was powerful, strong and unafraid. He knew God had this and his miracle was just around the corner. Man, I really want to have that kind of faith. But, how do you know the size of your faith until you’ve been thrown to the lions?
The king puts Daniel in with the lions and says “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” NIV 6:16 Guess what? The next day the king finds Daniel without a scratch on him. Daniel says “My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me .. “ NIV 6:20
The only thing I can see in the verse is the angel. We know that God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and always. Daniel didn’t say that God closed the mouths of the lions. He said God sent his angel to do it. God could’ve easily done this himself. God can do anything. I wonder why He uses angels. One of the greatest tools of darkness is the fear or doubt we have about angels. We don’t unlock the goodness of God until we begin to work with Him and His angels.
After Daniel’s ordeal, the king now believed in God. He said, “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.
For he is the living God,
and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
He rescues and saves his people;
He performs miraculous signs and wonders
In the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
From the power of the lions. NIV 6:26-27
The next two administrations of government were affected by Daniel who was very successful. Notice it says God’s rule will NEVER end. This means he can rule today in just the same way. Maybe the problem with our government today isn’t that God has been taken out of government. Maybe the problem is that God’s people don’t truly live with Him. It’s not a problem with the government, it’s a problem with the people. See, it didn’t matter that Daniel’s government was persecuting prayer. No matter what, Daniel lived in God’s will. He didn’t allow anyone to take away God’s gift to him – the ability to pray. We like to blame our country’s problems on our government but the current state of our government is our fault. Our government can’t take our God away from us, only we can do that. We take God away from us by shying away from faith, by dimming our message, by doubting God’s ability to do miracles. Don’t we know that God could turn this country around in a minute if His people had the faith of Daniel. We can freely access God’s power through faith like Daniel. Then, we are powerful beyond measure. All the years and history of injustice can be made right, we can heal the multitudes and justice can prevail.
It would take a miracle, but God is into that. He delights in blowing our minds.