As Daniel was moving up the ranks of the kingdom, other leaders became jealous and tried to find the dirt in his past. As you read through the first part of chapter 6 of Daniel, it sounds a lot like an attempted smear campaign in today’s time. I guess things don’t change that much in 2000 years. When the administrators realized they couldn’t find any dirt on Daniel they decided to change the law to make it illegal for Daniel to pray to anyone except King Darius. King Darius declared that anyone who prayed to someone other than him for 30 days would be thrown into the Lion’s Den and left for dead. Even though it was banned, Daniel continued to pray to God in the privacy of his own home. As you probably already know, he was ratted out and sentenced to the mercy of the Lions.
Lions… have you ever been face to face with a lion? Me neither. Its a little hard to imagine being locked in a lion’s den with real lions. Our lions can be a little different than Daniel’s.
Lions=Fear Lions=Obstacles Lions=Addiction Lions=Oppression
Daniel 6: 16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
Daniel was squeaky clean. He had lived his entire life following God’s plan for him and yet he ended up here. He was face to face with one of the most intimidating creatures in the world. If you were in his shoes, how would you feel? I think most of us would question God.
“God, I don’t deserve this!” “Why am I here.” “All the other ‘bad’ people out there and I’m the one in this pit.”
Sound familiar? When we get faced with lions in our lives we often feel that its because of something we have done wrong or its unfair because we have done nothing wrong. Daniel didn’t feel this way. He kept his faith. He trusted that this was all part of God’s plan and God would deliver… and He did!
Daniel 6:19-22 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
Are you facing any lions? Are you overcome with fear and anxiety? Are you battling an addiction that seems to be killing you? Are you stuck in a pit full of obstacles with seemingly no way out? Have you ever been in Daniel’s shoes?
23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Trust in God. He will save you from your lions.
When you are faced with your own lions, how will you react? Will you let it kill you or will you be like Daniel and emerge with no wounds because you trusted in God?
This weekend I started going through a lesson plan with the 5th graders at Radiant Life. Billy Graham Ministries based a study around Daniel and geared it towards students. Its to better equip them to share the Gospel and stand firm in their beliefs just as Daniel did in the Bible. I don’t think students are the only people who can learn from this study.
I learn most effectively through teaching. As I prepare myself to teach I always learn more and grow deeper. So as I walk through this with the 5th graders I am going to walk through it on here for myself.
When Daniel is introduced in the Bible he is a pre-teen. He has been chosen by the Babylonians as one of the best and brightest youth. They take him and the other chosen youth and begin brainwashing them and forming them into the perfect Babylonian.
Daniel 1:3-5 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
The King even changed their names, which in those times was a common practice when someone was “born again”.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
Daniel chose to stand strong in his beliefs. The Babylonians worshiped their king and many gods, but Daniel had been raised to believe in the God of the Bible, the Hebrew God, Yahweh. He also was raised to respect himself and his body.
Daniel was able to stand firm in his beliefs even when the king and the Babylonian world were trying to tell him otherwise. He was able to do this because of his strong foundation in God and the scriptures. This is why we study the Bible and why we memorize scripture. So that we can stand up against the false teachings of the world and defend ourselves with the Word of God.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is the first verse in equipping anyone to share the Gospel. It is our first memory verse in D2BD. This is our first step in being able to stand up against the false teachings of the world and spread the love of God. This is where it begins…