Posts Tagged ‘Daniel’

The Lions’ Den, Part VIII

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.  Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.  And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

Daniel 6:18-20

When I came across the question from Darius in this verse, it struck me as the question that all of humanity is asking: “is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee…”  That is the question of the ages.  Is the God that you serve able to deliver you?  Many people around the world serve many different gods.  But there is only one God Who is truly able to “deliver thee.”

Darius was genuinely afraid for Daniel, who he hadn’t wanted to throw into the lions’ den in the first place.  He was concerned about Daniel’s safety.  And, his question was a legitimate question.  Is God able to deliver.  That is an eternally important question.  If the God that we serve is  not able to deliver us from anything, there is no point in serving Him.  If we serve a God that can not deliver Daniel from the den of lions, how do we thing that He will deliver us from our chains of sin?

Fortunately, the answer to Darius’ question is the same as the answer to our question: YES HE CAN DELIVER!  He delivered Daniel from the lions’ den.  He delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego from the fiery furnace.  He delivered Lazarus from the hand of death and He can deliver us from the very power of sin itself.

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”  (Hebrews 7:25)

Let us be thankful today that we serve a God who can deliver!

The Lions’ Den, Part VII

And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.  Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before his: and his sleep went from him.  Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

Daniel 6:17-19

In these verses, the pagan king Darius gives us the proper attitude to have when we are facing troubles in our lives.  He had been tricked into signing a decree that would eventually cause Daniel to be thrown into the den of lions.  He liked Daniel and had no desire to see this happen to him, and was “sore displeased” at the fact that he had no choice but to go through with it.  He then displayed an unusual amount of faith when he matter-of-factly told Daniel that “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” 

He showed faith and, as we see in these verses, he showed an attitude of humility and prayer while waiting for the answer to his (and Daniel’s) faith.  The Bible tells us that he “passed the night fasting.”  He didn’t eat.  There was something more important than eating, and that was Daniel’s wellbeing.  Not being a “Christian” king, I don’t know if he actually prayed during that night or not,  but in the New Testament, fasting is connected with prayer.  The idea being that there is something so urgent that getting ahold of God is more important than even our food.  That is a good way to face trouble in our lives: prayer and fasting. 

Also, he refused “the instruments of musick.”  He understood that he should not be relaxing and being entertained while Daniel was in the lions’ den and the only thing between Daniel and the lions was God Himself.  Again, that should be our attitude during these situations.  How often have we tried to entertain away our problems and troubles? 

I find it interesting that a Persian king would be able to give us a lesson on faith and humility, but Darius does both.  If Darius can do right, we can too.

The Lions’ Den, Part VI

This week, I will be gone taking a group of junior high and high school kids to a Christian camp. I will have no internet access, though I have scheduled posts for each day. I will respond to any comments that you leave when I get back home. Thanks for reading and God bless!

Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.  Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king established may be changed.  Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions.  Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

Daniel 6: 14-16

I started out to do a six day series of posts on this story.  As you can see, we are now on day six and Daniel isn’t even in the lions’ den yet!  Apparently, there is a lot more to this story than I realized.  There are so many great verses and great truths that can be found in any passage if you are willing to look.  Proverbs 2:4 is still true: “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures…”  But, I digress.

Verse 16 amazed me.  Pagan king Darius has more faith than many Bible-believing Christians do today.  After looking for a way to get Daniel out of going to the den of lions and not finding one, he simply said “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.”  Darius realized that Daniel’s God would save him.  The faith of this king reminds me of a time when Jesus found faith in a place you wouldn’t expect it:

“When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”  (Matthew 8:10)  Jesus had come to the Jews, where He found very little faith.  But this gentile Roman centurion had so much faith that he realized Jesus didn’t even need to be present to heal his servant, He just needed to speak the word. 

The question for today is simply this: Jesus can find faith in a pagan king and in a Roman centurion – can He find faith when He looks at us?

The Lions’ Den, Part V

This week, I will be gone taking a group of junior high and high school kids to a Christian camp. I will have no internet access, though I have scheduled posts for each day. I will respond to any comments that you leave when I get back home. Thanks for reading and God bless.

Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.  Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree;  Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?  The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.  Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.  Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

Daniel 6: 11-14

Have you ever done something that, at the time, seemed like a good idea, only to figure out later that it was a terrible idea?  That is the position that king Darius found himself in in these verses.  Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace in a fit of rage, Darius had no desire to throw Daniel into the lions’ den.  Nebuchadnezzar was furious that someone would not bow and worship him.  Darius apparently didn’t think about the problems that his decree would cause.  The Bible tells us that he “was sore displeased with himself” and that he “set his heart on Daniel to deliver him…” 

Sometimes we aren’t like Nebuchadnezzar and we don’t necessarily flat out reject God, but we get careless like Darius.  Darius didn’t intend for his decision to put Daniel in the lions’ den.  Had he thought about it, maybe he would have realized that this would be the end result and would not have made the decree in the first place.  In our lives, we can often avoid problems and heartaches by simply thinking about the consequences of our actions.  We can avoid problems by not rushing into things without praying about them first.  Darius wanted to save Daniel from having to go to the den of lions, but he couldn’t. 

His whole problem could have been avoided by a little more thought and prayer.  The same could be said of most of our problems.

The Lions’ Den, Part IV

This week, I will be gone taking a group of junior high and high school kids to a Christian camp. I will have no internet access, though I have scheduled posts for each day. I will respond to any comments that you leave when I get back home. Thanks for reading and God bless.

All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.

Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.  Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Daniel 6:7, 9-10

The men who hated Daniel found their way to bring him down.  They knew that they would have to try to get him to disobey his God.  And they convinced king Darius to make a decree that no one could ask any god or man for anything in the next thirty days.  Of course, this would make praying to God illegal.  And, since God has commanded us to pray, Daniel would have to choose to obey the king or to obey God.  These men knew what Daniel would do.  Daniel went right about his business of obeying God.

I like the fact that the Bible tells us that “when Daniel knew that the writing was signed…”  he prayed.  There was going to be no mistake.  Daniel was not going to plead ignorance of the law.  He knew that the decree had been signed by the king.  And he prayed anyway.

I also like the fact that “his windows being open…” is how he prayed.  Could Daniel have shut himself up in a closet and prayed to God?  Of course he could have.  Given a similar situation, that is probably exactly what most of us would have done.  We would have continued to pray, just not in public where everyone could see us.  But not Daniel.  He continued obeying God just as he had done before, just as if there were no law. 

Here is what I take from these verses: just keep doing what you are supposed to be doing, no matter what.  Things may change, times may change, opinions may change and even laws may change.  But our obedience to the Lord should never change.  It should never waiver and it should never hesitate.  We should all follow Daniel’s example!

The Lions’ Den, Part III

This week, I will be gone taking a group of junior high and high school kids to a Christian camp. I will have no internet access, though I have scheduled posts for each day. I will respond to any comments that you leave when I get back home. Thanks for reading and God bless.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.  Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

Daniel 6:4-5

We looked yesterday at the example that Daniel set for us in the simple fact that men who were looking for fault and error in his life could find none.  What an amazing testimony that would be if those things could be said of us.  But the presidents and princes who were trying to find something they could use against Daniel did find one “fault.” 

The only thing that they could find as a “fault” in Daniel’s life was in relation to “the law of his God.”  The only “flaw” he had was the fact that he absolutely would not go against God’s law.  His only “error” was his absolute, faithful, and unwaivering obedience to God.  If only we could have that same “flaw!”

These men knew Daniel and they knew that, no matter what, he would obey his Lord.  They knew that the only way to trap him was to try to get him to go against the law of God.  Imagine being so completely obedient to the Lord that only way our enemies could get us to stumble would be to try to get us to disobey God.  Imagine having that kind of devotion and that kind of testimony.  I know a few people who I might think have something close to that, and they have a powerful testimony. 

Let us obey God to the exent that others can see it in our lives.

The Lions’ Den, Part II

This week, I will be gone taking a group of junior high and high school kids to a Christian camp. I will have no internet access, though I have scheduled posts for each day. I will respond to any comments that you leave when I get back home. Thanks for reading and God bless.

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.  Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Daniel 6:3-4

This verse has to contain one of the greatest compliments given to any man, ever.  Think about this testimony: “…the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”  Imagine having that not only said about you, but written down by God is His Book for people to read for thousands of years!

These stories of the Old Testament are given to us for our learning and as examples.  The example that Daniel sets for us is a tough one to follow.  We do serve the same God that Daniel served.  Can the same be said of us?  If someone had something against us, could they say that “they could find none occasion nor fault?”  Could they say that we are “faithful?”  Could they say that there is no error or fault in us?

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure that if someone wanted to find something negative about me, they wouldn’t have to look very far.  I have plenty of faults and errors.  I have not always been faithful.  I will freely admit that I fall far, far short of Daniel’s example.  Even worse, I know that I fall far, far short of the perfect example set by Jesus Christ.

While we may not be there yet, we can aspire to the wonderful example that Daniel set for us so many years ago!

The Lions’ Den, Part I

This week, I will be gone taking a group of junior high and high school kids to a Christian camp. I will have no internet access, though I have scheduled posts for each day. I will respond to any comments that you leave when I get back home. Thanks for reading and God bless.

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;  And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.  Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king throught to set him over the whole realm.

Daniel 6:1-3

The story of Daniel and the lion’s den is one of my favorite stories in the entire Bible.  I remember it from when I was a child, and I had a Bible story book with this great picture of Daniel standing with his back turned to the lions and head lifted toward Heaven.  The lions were all standing and looking at him curiously.  I remember the picture and I remember the story.  I thought it would be interesting to spend the week taking a closer look at this miracle.

The first few verses in the chapter give us the background.  Just to mention something, Daniel is an older man by this time.  I sometimes have a tendency to think of him and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as young people.  They were young at the beginning of the book, but by this time, Daniel is an older man.

These verses show us that Daniel was not thrown into the lion’s den because the king hated him.  On the contrary, he was very well respected and honoured.  From verse two, we get the idea that Daniel was second in charge to the king.  He was “preferred above the presidents and princes…”  The king loved and trusted him.  He was “set over the whole realm.”  What was the reason for this promotion and trust? 

“…because an excellent spirit was in him…” 

Daniel had an excellent spirit in him.  We should have that same excellent spirit in us.  If we are saved, the Holy Spirit indwells us.  Daniel was honest, upright, trusted and hard working.  We should be the same.  Daniel was successful because of his dedication to the Lord.  That is the same thing that will make us successful! 

 

God’s Writing

In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.  Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of the loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.  The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers.  And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.  Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

Daniel 5:5-8

This passage shows us just how mixed up and desperate people can become when they are confronted by the Lord.  Belshazzar had defied the Lord and had lifted himself up in pride.  God showed up at his “party” and wrote on the wall.  Of course, this put great fear in Belshazzar and desperately needed to know what the writing said and what it meant.  Who does he turn to?

He turns to the “astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers.”  He turns to the world to try to get an interpretation of what God has written!  How often do we see this today?  How often do we see God trying to get people’s attention, but instead of turning to the Bible or to a Christian for help, they turn to the world?  You will never get an interpretation of what God has said from someone who doesn’t believe in God! 

Verse 8 gives us the obvious conclusion to this fiasco: “Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.”  That reminds of I Corinthians 2:14, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  It was true in Belshazzar’s time and it is still true today!

When God Shows Up

They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.  In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.  Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

Daniel 5:4-6

We looked yesterday at how sacrilegious king Belshazzar was being when he took the golden vessels from God’s temple and used them at his party to drink wine with.  In these verses, we see the beginning of God’s response.  The Bible says that “in the same hour” that they were praising the “gods” of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone, God responded.  His response changed things. 

Any time God shows up, things are going to change.  If you are on the Lord’s side and doing what you are supposed to be doing, His appearing is a joyous occasion.  In fact, we are told in the New Testament to “love his appearing.”  (II Timothy 4:8)  Revival comes when God shows up.  But, on the other hand, if we are not on the Lord’s side and/or not doing what we are supposed to be doing, His appearing is a fearful thing.  Look at the response of king Belshazzar:

His countenance changed.  He wasn’t enjoying his party/banquet/feast any more.  The fun and merrymaking were over.  “His thoughts troubled him.”  I would say so.  If I were reveling and blaspheming God and a hand suddenly appeared and started writing on the wall, my thoughts would trouble me too!  And “the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.”  His legs literally started shaking.  He was “shaking in his boots.”  That is serious fear!

When we see the Lord, it changes things.  As Christians, if we start messing around with sin, we will, at some point, begin to see “handwriting on the wall.”  And that sin, which at the time seemed enjoyable, will quickly become a source of fear and regret.  Just as with Belshazzar, the Lord has ways of getting our attention and causing us to fear Him.

Wouldn’t it be easier if we just followed Him to begin with?  Then we could truly “love His appearing” instead of fearing it.