Monday, March 28, 2011

He still prays to his God three times a day

Dan. 6:11-28 NLT
   11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 12 So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?” “Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” 
   13 Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.” 
 14  Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament. 
  15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.” 
   16  So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” 
   17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night. 
   19  Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” 
   21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” 
   23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. 
   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. 
   25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:    “Peace and prosperity to you! 26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.  For he is the living God,  and he will endure forever.  His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end.  27 He rescues and saves his people;  he performs miraculous signs and wonders  in the heavens and on earth.  He has rescued Daniel  from the power of the lions.” 
   28  So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

We last saw our faithful friend, Daniel, knowing he was being watched, deliberately praying to God before open windows. He knew the trap was set for him in the law his enemies had tricked the king into signing, but he also knew the power of God and trusted that power and the will that God held out for him. The enemies run to tell the king and note the King's response. He suddenly realized they had manipulated him into this situation but he felt trapped by his law. He realized he should have been wiser but it was too late. He delayed responding to their demands hoping to think of a way to deliver Daniel from this fate, but none was coming. It was, in fact, God's will for Daniel to endure this fate and glorify God's name. 

We see Daniel dropped into the lion's den and we see King Darius praying to God "May your God, whom. . . rescue you." We even see the king fasting and praying all night instead of sleeping. Daniel's life had already convinced the king that God was real and powerful. In the morning we see the king rushing to the lion's den expectantly, calling out to Daniel. He hears Daniel's response and glorifies God. Oh, and those enemies? They were fed to the lions. It is a dangerous thing to try to manipulate circumstances against the will of God. It will always bring worse harm to the perpetrators than the harm they intended. Check out verse 24 to see their fate.

Darius was a faster learner than the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. It only took him this one time to learn who God was and who he was in relationship to God. The King's decree was that everyone should tremble with fear before God.  Darius had discovered that God is a living God enduring forever, and re realized that the Kingdom of God could never be destroyed by anyone. Doubtless this was why the people of Israel were permitted to return to their homeland with help and rebuild their kingdom 70 years to the day after Daniel and his people had been taken into captivity.

How faithful to God are you ready to be in the face of public pressure? How ready are you to face death? How willing are you to trust the unseen hand of God to deliver you according to His will and plan even when you don't know what those plans include before they happen? How often did you pray to God today-- at least three?

Your servant in Christ's love

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