The Ultimate Daniel

September 12, 2020 

Daniel 6:8-9, 16-17

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. 19 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, “O 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, O king.” 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.

The king says, “Oh my goodness, how did this happen?” What does he say to the king? He says, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel …” Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Into the furnace, now into the lions’ den, who is this guy?

Nebuchadnezzar saw him, and he said he looked like a son of the gods. The weird thing about this angel is he does not deliver outside of the furnace. He doesn’t deliver outside of the den. He could. Why doesn’t he? If he’s going to deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, if he’s going to deliver Daniel, why not just strike the guards dead? Why not just create an avalanche and cover up the den?

Why does he always go in? Who is this guy? We already referred to him. There is somebody else, who was also thrown into a tomb and sealed over with a rock and also came out, but why?

The Bible tells us in Psalm 22 what the Messiah is going to say from the cross. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? All who see me mock me. They hurl insults, saying, ‘He trusts in the Lord, but the Lord will not rescue him.’ Roaring lions open their mouths wide against me. You lay me in the dust of death.”

This is what it means. The real Daniel, who went into the real lions’ den and who went before the real lions, the justice of God, who got the punishment that we all needed, was broken and was torn by the justice of God.

The real Daniel, who went into the real lions’ den, was Jesus Christ. Because he was the ultimate Daniel, who went before the ultimate lions, we now can go into the lion dens of our lives with confidence.

Because he was thrown away, because he was cut off, because he was thrown into that ultimate lions’ den, I’m never going to experience anything like that. Therefore, I can truly be Daniel. Do you know what Daniel means? The word Daniye’l means my judge is God. God is my judge. I don’t care what you think. I don’t care what anybody thinks.

In other words, do you believe the ultimate Daniel went into the ultimate lions’ den for you? Do you believe Jesus Christ went and took your punishment so that now you really are innocent in God’s sight?

If you’re in awe about what he has done for you, then you’ll walk into every other lions’ den, and you’ll say, “Daniye’l. God is my judge. This is a small thing because of what Jesus Christ has done for me.” Fear God, and fear nothing else.



Salt

September 11, 2020 

Daniel 6:8-9, 16-17

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. 19 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, “O 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, O king.” 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. 

There is something very conflicting about the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. The moral of the story, if that is how we are to see it, is if we trust God then nothing bad will happen to you. But we know from reading the gospels and from understanding the writings of the Apostle Paul that bad things still happen to people who believe in God, to people with real faith. 

Jesus said in John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. 

So how do we interpret the story of Daniel? Is the story about Daniel or is the story about someone else? I have concluded that this is a story about 2 people. Darius the king represents the unbelieving world, they are hostile towards us, but watching everything we do.  Daniel represents Jesus who was also placed into a den, he also had a stone rolled across the entrance, he also has a seal placed on the entrance, he also was left for dead. 

So, what do we learn about Darius? First of all, he has been affected by the faith of Daniel. Jesus said we have been called to be salt to the world. We can make a difference.

When Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth,” that is very suggestive. You see Jesus as salt. You see him touching, embracing, engaging the marginal, outsider, the foreigner, the leper. Jesus is salt. 

The purpose of salt in the ancient times was preservative. Today we use salt, of course, to flavor, but that’s not mainly the way they used salt. It was almost too valuable for that. You put salt in things that go bad. You put salt in things that fall apart so they don’t fall apart. 

What that means is Christians are to be salt. It means we go places that would fall apart or places that would decay or go to disorder without us. Daniel was salt in the Kingdom of Babylon and now he is salt in the Medo-Persian empire. 

Daniel is making a difference. Darius is beside himself all night. He is caught up in a political turmoil, but he is hoping that what Daniel believes about God is indeed true. He is hoping God is all powerful, he is hoping God saves. 

God has brought the King to need the salvation of God. Darius wants it to be true, he doesn’t yet believe, but he wants to believe. This is the hope of the gospel. That when we come to the end of our own personal power, when we realize we are helpless and in need of a savior, we fall into anguish and cry out… not for Daniel… but for Jesus.



Thrown to the Lions

September 10, 2020 

Daniel 6:8-9, 16-17

Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

So King Darius put the decree in writing. 10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

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.

Daniel has done nothing wrong, yet he is being persecuted. He has always had the right under the current law to worship his God, but the new law says no, for a temporary period of time, (30 days) that right has been taken away.

As I read these passages my mind was spinning with the similarities of Daniel’s story to the issues we are facing today. We have always been free as Christians to assemble in our own church and worship together. But with the current covid19 restrictions we cannot meet indoors. It was supposed to be temporary, but it feels like they want this to go on forever. So, are we like Daniel? Should we defy the decree of the Governor and meet indoors anyway?

When peter and John were arrested on the temple steps for healing a lame man, they were causing such a stir the ruling elders told them not to preach in the name of Jesus any longer. Their response was quick, “are we to obey men or obey God?”

Daniel was very quick to obey God. He continued to pray, he continued to open his window, facing Jerusalem and he continued his routine of worship. And, as could be predicted, he was arrested and thrown into a den of lions.

But before we jump on the Daniel bandwagon, we really need to examine the circumstances we face today. First, the state decree does not prohibit praying, it does not prohibit worship, it only keeps us from meeting indoors but not outdoors. Our daily routine of praying, reading God’s word has not changed, but has become even more important to us.

The state decree does not keep us from having small gatherings for Bible Study as long as social distancing standards are met. The state decree does not keep us from sharing the gospel with the people we meet, with friends and with co-workers. They need the gospel more than ever before. The state decree does not keep us from teaching our children the stories and lessons of the Bible, we were never to have surrendered that responsibility to the teachers at your church, that is still your duty as a parent.

The state decree has caused us to be much more creative in the way we meet, in the way we broadcast our services, and in the way we minister to each other, in the way outsiders view our commitment to keep them safe.

Dare to be a Daniel? Maybe we are looking at this all wrong? Maybe we are already in the lion’s den and God is there with us?




Daily Devotions 2020