20 May 2014
Daniel arrived right on time for his appointment to meet with the lions. His guilt: praying to the Hebrew God Jehovah. In our day we have laws that do not promote justice, but none that are perhaps any more unjust than the law passed in that day to effectively prohibit the worship of the God Who created heaven and earth. Have we in our day diminished the critical importance of the worship of God in spirit and in truth?
Today we see unjust laws in our land. Most are being carefully clad in lamb’s clothing with the attempt to conceal the wolf beneath. But, as in the case of Daniel, God is not in heaven wringing His hands, but rather His careful moves on the chess board of life have only begun. The game is over only when God declares that it is finished.
From our modern day vantage point we see that God apparently had two purposes in mind in connection with Daniels’ appointment with the lions. The first and most important purpose was to use the sinful spitefulness of some in the king’s court along with the faith and obedience of Daniel to bring about a great and miraculous salvation.
This lion den life saving miracle resulted in a kingdom wide proclamation by Darius king of the Median-Persian Empire. King Darius’ proclamation that all his subjects should fear and tremble before Jehovah the God of Daniel went out in many languages to the one-hundred and twenty proveniences of his vast empire. God was thus greatly glorified throughout nearly the entire civilized world.
God’s apparent second and lesser objective was to bring to justice those enemies of Daniel and Himself who found themselves, like Haman, being destroyed along with their families by the very means that they planned to use to destroy the man of God.
Daniel 6:24 (NLT)
24 Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.
Why did those in the king’s court despise Daniel? Perhaps it was because Daniel consistently excelled. Daniel was called to a high position but he did not rely exclusively upon his own skills and giftedness.
Daniel 6:10-11 (NLT)
10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.
11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. (emphasis added)
There is something special about the man or woman who in humble submission relies upon their God for every detail of their lives. These are men and women who are able to do more with excellence, skipping all fan-fare while focusing their energies upon the task that the Lord has put in front of them. While we have traditionally admired Daniel for his many exploits, we must not lose sight of the reality that the story of Daniel’s life is primarily a revelation of the nature and power of our God. It was God who gave him both the dream and the interpretation. It was God who shut the mouths of the lions. It was God who allowed Daniel to read the handwriting on the wall. Daniel simply consistently put himself in a position to be used of God.
Perhaps there are two lessons for us today. First when we see unjust laws or acts or attitudes in our midst, we may want to consider praying for God to make His name known. We may want to pray that God will soon make another of His check-mate culture transforming moves.
We sometimes seem to suppose that we know what God should do. In this case we most probably would have prayed for God to keep Daniel out of the lion’s den. Yet how much less glory would have gone to God if the King had simply refused to enforce the law and had kept Daniel from going into the lions? [ this king displayed significant law abiding character ] Perchance the greater the presence of peril, avails the greater potential for glory? Maybe we need to like Daniel go to God in prayer and ask for His help and direction? Maybe we need to give thanks to God anticipating His transformational work? Maybe we actually need to ask God how we should pray.
Second, if we want to be used by God in these dark and worldly times, we may want to stay more focused on God and less focused on the problems around us. We see Daniel tremendously unaffected by the unjust law of Darius his king. He did not organize a protest, or start a petition, or attempt to pass a rival law. He simply kept consistently seeking his God. God delights in using faith filled men and women in highly combustible crisis conditions.
Speaking with a respected Pastor recently, he shared the reminder that protracted time spent in submitted believing prayer brings God’s perspective into nearly every issue. God’s desire is to bring revival to His church and renewal to our communities. Let’s keep on asking Him to open the heavens and come down. Let’s keep our eyes on Him, expecting at just His sovereignly selected time He will start a stirring that will result in every earthly eye acknowledging there is a God in heaven and He is the only One in charge.