Facing life's lions! What comes first to your mind?
--Those in the Zoo? Detroit Lions football team?
--Or the fine Lion's Club world-wide service group?
--Did anyone think of Daniel, "in the lion's den?"
--Daniel was so godly, real lions harmed him not!
--But he faced other "lions" - trials and trouble.
We may face such "lions" too. One indeed is Satan.
--All kinds of foes - temptations, multiple trials.
--God says, "The devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).
--It happened to Peter at Jesus' betrayal, denial.
--St. Paul in a Roman prison said, "I was delivered, (for a time), out of the mouth of the lion" he was referring to Caesar, at Paul's trial (II Timothy 4:17).
--Praying saints "have stopped the mouths of lions."
--How? By the Spirit, Word and prayer! (Hebrews 11:33).
Some lions today such as terrorists can destroy us.
--They serve neither a God or man. Cowards, enemies.
--Some practice or peddle pornography, drugs, evils!
--Some promote immorality. Profanity. And greed.
--Some advocate homosexuality or same-sex marriage!
--Marriage, God says, is one man and one woman.
--For God united Adam and Eve - not Adam and Steve!
-Like it or not we all face many "lions" today.
What can all of us learn from Daniel, and Jesus?
I. WE LEARN FROM DANIEL'S REPUTATION - OR TESTIMONY
--Daniel had a godly testimony and reputation.
--Taken captive in his teens to Babylon, from Israel, Daniel took along his faith and God's Word.
--Among idols and evils, Daniel walked with God.
--"He would not defile himself" (Daniel 1:8). Wow!
--"He prayed." "An excellent spirit in him" (6:3).
--To idols he did not bow; to sin he did not bend.
--He became a national leader - in a pagan land!
--He's a man to know! To emulate! Godly Daniel.
He had a testimony of humility, faithful and holy.
--Daniel ate right, lived right. God rewarded him.
--He governed 120 Governors, who were not godly.
--They were jealous - seek to destroy him. Why?
--Daniel worships the "One, True, Living God."
--Living for God takes courage, consecration and commitment, to be faithful - in every situation.
--In a pagan land, Daniel was a person of prayer.
--At least "three times a day," he'd stop and pray.
--By diligence and work, he was a man of position.
--He kept getting promotions - in a pagan land.
--He had a reputation for faithfulness, the king even said, "Your God, whom you serve continually."
What a testimony or reputation for God Daniel had.
--He was not sinless; but was without fault.
--People tried, but "they found no charge or fault in him, unless we find it.. concerning his God" (v 4f).
They even found fault with the Sinless Savior, Jesus.
--Who worked many miracles of healing, raising dead.
--Preaching "as no other" and "died for our sins."
--Willing to be crucified, buried; but "rise again!"
--Jesus is our kind of God, to make us more like Him.
--He makes reputations good. What God do you have?
II. WE LEARN FROM DANIEL'S OPPOSITION - OR TESTING.
--Our testimony will be tested, as any person - office of government, church or business, who endeavors to live for God - can tell you. Opposition.
--Let's face it. People of God need to be uplifted!
--Need our prayers, and encouragement, as Daniel.
--Daniel faced opponents, enemies..even lions!
--He faced all this, but God made it work for good.
--David said, "I live among lions who gobble down people" (Psalm 57:4 CEV). Be ready to face them.
People of high principles face jealousies, critics.
--Are you ready for some opposition? To show love?
--Daniel had lots of opposition, among unbelievers.
--Of those jealous, critical; wanted to destroy him.
--Went to the king, command a law that "..cannot be changed" for no praying for 30 days (Dan. 6:7f)
--This was to condemn Daniel! But didn't stop him!
--Like our "no public praying in schools," or such.
--Like some are trying to take God from our money or Pledge of Allegiance. Do we have any Daniels?
They have take prayer and Bible from schools, God's Ten Commandments from public buildings - except over Washington's buildings where carved in stone.
--Before we know some could forbid prayer anywhere!
--Precisely what Daniel's "lions" were doing then!
--Whoever "petitions any god or man..shall be cast into the den of lions" (Daniel 6:7). That's prayer!
--What would you do? Or I? Daniel "prayed as before."
--By his window. In plain sight. What courage!
--Some would rationalize. And go with the crowd.
--Let's stand with God! Else we fall for anything!
Many were against Daniel, it says. God is with him!
--One with God is a majority. The Bible shows this.
--Satan was against Daniel. God was for him.
--Not everyone is for God - but He is for "us all."
As Daniel, we may be tested by forms of ridicule.
--"That Daniel keeps praying three times a day!"
--They jeered, mocked, sneered. Jealous, hateful.
--He was tested by persecution, "Cast to the lions."
--But "God stopped the lion's mouths."
--Friend, a Spirit-filled person has God's help.
The Apostle Paul had great opposition, and warns us, "that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights, in the world" (Philippians 2:15). One "born again".
--Paul's motto in Acts 24:16, "I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense, toward God and men." After his conversion, Paul did.
Or think of the opposition that Jesus our Messiah did face - despite His deity, virgin birth, prophecies He fulfilled, His sinless life, and countless miracles.
--Not to mention His messages of prophecy, His cross.
--And, in particular, the bodily, visible resurrection of Jesus, being seen by multitudes, and ascension back to heaven! No other can compare to Jesus.
We see Daniel's reputation and opposition, what else?
III. LET'S LOOK AT DANIEL'S COMMENDATION - TRIUMPH.
--His faithfulness, obedience and faith was not overlooked by God - Who sees all, with grace for all.
--Daniel believed the God of the Bible that he had.
--Among many gods, he shows which God is really God!
--True, Daniel was cast "to the lions," real ones.
--A rather brave, old man, isn't he? God commends!
--God..shut the lions mouths, so..they have not hurt me," he said (Daniel 6:22). Gave God glory.
Notice, God didn't rid all opposition or trouble!
--Daniel had it all - endured it all - but the difference is, God is with Him. God can be with us.!
--He was glorifying the One Eternal Living God!
--Look at verse 22 again, Daniel said, "My God sent His angel and shut the lions mouths." "My God."
--How come, Daniel? "Because I was found innocent before Him, and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you." I am pleading for more like Daniel!
--Not only God, but the king commended him also.
--"The king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den.
--He says of Daniel, he is a "servant of the living God" (v 20). That's what I want to be, don't you?
Consider the man, Daniel. He was a man of purpose.
--Indeed, a man of prayer, fervent and faithful.
--A man God truly prospered - did his work well.
--A man of great prophecies - God revealed by him.
--In fact Jesus calls Daniel "the prophet" and to me that means a special prophet with many prophecies!
--We find Jesus' words in Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14.
Let me close with a word about his book, of Daniel.
--It is filled with miracles and prophecies.
--Prophecies that help us understand Scripture, God's plan, along with the end times - for Jews and Gentile converts to Christ - and understanding the Book of Revelation. Jesus' final Sermon quotes Daniel.
--And only Daniel. It point us to Jesus, Messiah.
Today we have the whole Bible, and we have Jesus.
--Let's live for Him, so God may commend us all.
--I cannot promise "no lions";" I can, of eternal life.
--Come to Christ. - Wilbert D. Gough, Thd. DD. 665