In today’s sermon, I want to consider yet another famous passage in the Bible. It is none other than the 6th chapter of the Book of Daniel or better known as the chapter in which he was thrown into the Den of Lions. This passage has five important Christian principles for us tonight.
1. Daniel maintained his standards
Although Daniel has been serving in the Royal Courts for a very long time, still he maintained the blameless life he and his friends exhibited in Daniel 1:8. The power and the privileges Daniel enjoyed as an official in the king’s courtroom all these years could not corrupt him, (Daniel 6:1-2; 3). Here we read that the king intended to promote Daniel further (Daniel 6:4). A sign that God continued to reward Daniel for his faithfulness.
One morning when a woman opened the door to get her newspaper there was a little dog, which she had never seen before, with her paper in its mouth. Impressed by the dog’s behavior she fed it with some treats. The following morning she was horrified to see the same dog sitting in front of her door, wagging its tail surrounded by eight newspapers. She spent the rest of that morning returning the papers to their owners.
Some of us are like that dog. Sometimes we take God’s blessings for granted and soon become corrupted from within. Daniel was 15-16 years old when he was taken hostage and exiled to Babylon. He was 81-83 years old when he was thrown into the Den of Lions. He had lived in a community of unclean people and served under four pagan kings for approximately 67 years. Even after all those years the Bible still says he had an extraordinary spirit. In fact, Daniel’s adversaries themselves admitted that Daniel was blameless. Can the people in our communities tell the same about us today? Let us not permit time, blessings, or the world to drive us away from the author of our blessings.
2. Daniel’s security was in his God
The New International Version uses 10-13 sentences to describe the murderous plot against Daniel (Daniel 6:5-9). But the same translation uses only one sentence to describe Daniel’s response (Daniel 6:10). How could Daniel remain so calm when his life was under threat? As always God was the source of Daniel’s security (Daniel 1:8-16).
As a child, my brother was used to collecting coins issued in different countries. One day he received a nickel and it was the first time we both saw a US coin and were very happy to see the words “In God, we trust” engraved in it. But it’s very sad that America trusts her weapons more than she trusts God today.
Daniel’s life was in great danger. But he did not compromise, fought back, or ran away because God was the source of Daniel’s security. Not his position or wealth. Unfortunately, some people who openly profess that God is the source of their security actually have their security elsewhere. Their true colors are exposed only when they have to deal with an adversary. Let us not be like such people but learn to trust God for protection.
3. Daniel endured the divine test
Anyone reading the book of Daniel for the first time would be surprised to know that God actually pushed Daniel over the cliff, before answering Daniel’s prayer. Since Daniel prayed, anyone will expect God to rescue Daniel at once. Maybe Daniel also felt disappointed for a short while. We do not know. But we do know that the situation because Daniel’s adversaries caught him in the act and not even the king himself, who gave the order could rescue Daniel from the Lions, (Daniel 6:11; 12-18).
Ironically the decrees of a Persian king were unchangeable because he was thought to speak for the gods, who could never be wrong and thus never needed to change their minds!Rev. Palitha Jayasooriya
Finally, the enemy had their wildest dreams come true. Daniel was thrown into Lion’s den. At last, the wicked administrators and the satraps got rid of Daniel forever. It was like God had finally taken a break and couldn’t come to Daniel’s rescue on time. It was not so! (Daniel 6:19-23)
A boy told her mother he was kicked out of the exam hall for cheating. “What did you do?” Asked the mother. “Counting my ribs on the biology exam!” said the boy.
God is sovereign and he is not obliged to rescue anyone. He will choose which one of his children will live and which ones will perish for his glory. History will not speak about the thousands of Christians fed to wild beasts during the Roman persecution of Christians if it was not so.
Don’t attempt to figure out how God thinks. Just know whether good or bad, God has a higher purpose in everything that happens to us. Sadly He cannot use some of us for his glory because we are like the boy they caught counting his ribs on the biology exam. When God tests you don’t cheat. Remember, the teacher is always silent during the test. God our teacher will definitely reward us if we remain faithful to him even in times of test.
4. God didn’t spare Daniel’s enemy
The king was happy that Daniel was miraculously rescued. But he knew his ministers deceived him into condemning Daniel to death. His fury burned against all of them. In his fury, he ordered not only the conspirators but their wives and children also to be thrown into the Den of Lions. They perished in the same trap they set for Daniel. (Daniel 6:24)
Pastor Colton Wickramaratne in his biography, mentions an incident in which he was thrown into the river by a gang that wanted to kill him. They couldn’t and by a strange coincidence, the leader of that gang drowned at the same spot the following week.
This passage shows God will definitely avenge us. Very often it is tempting to try to take on the role of God and seek to punish those who we feel deserve it. But vengeance belongs to God, not us. As Christians, we are to follow the Lord Jesus’ command to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors and leave vengeance on God. After all, there’s only one God. Stop applying for his position!
5. God always has a higher purpose
Daniel 6:25-28 shows that God had a higher purpose even in Daniel’s loneliest hour. According to historians Babylon was a city with a population of 200,000 people. The population of the entire kingdom would have been ten times more. When king Darius issued the new decree, all of these people came to know the God of Daniel as the one true savior. They surely listened not only because they feared the king, but because the king could speak with gods!
According to Tertullian St. John was banished to Patmos after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering nothing from it. It is said that all in the audience of the Colosseum were converted to Christianity upon witnessing the miracle.
In the light of our passage today, I want to encourage you to remember, that God is capable of accomplishing greater things not only in our lifetime but also in death. Not many of us will be able to defy death like John. But whatever happens, let us not be afraid, but thank and praise God for his goodness.
In closing, remember that God is always with us and for us. As the apostle, Paul said neither death nor life or anything else for that matter can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). It is my prayer, that these five truths will help you to remain faithful to the Father, throughout your journey of faith, until the day you will call to be home with Christ Jesus. Amen.
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