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Pastor’s Desk: More than lions, more than a miracle

Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 5:13 pm

By Pastor Marcus Blair, Grandview Baptist

Daniel 6:1-24

I could ask 100 people on the street to tell me something about Daniel from the Bible and what would they say? Something about the lions den. Daniel went in there, they didn’t eat him, God protected him. And rightly so – it’s one of the most memorable and amazing things in the Bible, and that’s saying a lot.

What people don’t realize about this story is that it’s not just about lions, or a miracle. I want you to push that aside for a few moments and let me show you some things about Daniel himself and what kind of Man of God he was, because that’s the key to understanding this passage.

Nebuchadnezzar is long dead. Darius is now king, but Daniel is still alive. It’s estimated he was 80 years old at this point. Remember, he was a youth when he came to Babylon, so he had spent his entire life in a foreign land with pagan customs. He’d probably seen it all. And by this point, his wisdom (V.3) and his “excellent spirit” had elevated him until he was a high-ranking man in the kingdom. That’s what happens when your life is full of God – it elevates you. I want us all to have that “excellent spirit” about us so that we prosper and are loved everywhere we are an influence.

So some guys got jealous and decided Daniel needed to be taken down off his pedestal, so they could take his place. They started to look for something, anything, to assassinate his character, to slander him. You know what they found? Nothing. Absolutely nothing could be said about him, because he lived an exemplary life. So they made an unjust rule, and got the king to sign off on it, in ignorance, that anyone who spends 30 days in prayer to God and not king Darius would be fed to the lions. They made the rule, waited, and knew that Daniel would not stop praying and spending time with God. And of course, because Daniel was going to pray no matter what, they got him, and they threw him into the den.

The lions were hungry. Sometimes pictures you see make it seem like the lions just didn’t care that he was there. V. 24 – BEFORE they reached the bottom the lions were on them and ripped them apart. Isn’t that the perfect metaphor for life? How many lions are out there waiting on you?

Daniel walked in power because of his devotional life. His spiritual practice was so strong, he was ready for anything life threw at him. He was faithful, and there was no error or fault found in him. His faithfulness is his number one calling card. We get all focused on the miracle God performed for him and what we don’t see is that this miracle was preceded by and accompanied by day-in and day-out consistency in spiritual practice.

Most of the time, we cry out to God when we are in trouble. We wait until we are in the lion’s den and then suddenly we get really religious and call on God to bail us out. Daniel wasn’t like that. He didn’t get spiritual when they threw him in the lion’s den. He was already spiritual.

What we don’t see here is 80 years of spiritual practice. Three prayer times per day. Fasting. Meditation on God. Study of God’s word. Fellowship and communion with the Lord every day and every night. And everyone around him knew it – that was how they trapped him – they didn’t get him with inconsistency. That’s sometimes how scandal happens – someone sees or hears about a person in a high position acting particularly crude, and doing immoral or illegal things, and then that leader is taken down. They knew they would NEVER catch Daniel in inconsistency, so they decided they would get this consistent man by outlawing what he consistently did.

How did Daniel respond: V. 10 – He knew of the decree. He knew they were after him. What was his response? He went into his house, got in front of his window, looked toward Jerusalem and PRAYED just as he had every day of his life up until that point. What the devil did wasn’t about to derail Daniel. He was committed to prayer – three times a day in fact – and no law, no threat, NOTHING was going to deter him from being with God because that was his sold-out, number one focus in life – pleasing and knowing God.

If they outlawed prayer tomorrow for the next 30 days, how many of us would be caught?

V. 20 – Daris came to the den and called out: Daniel! Servant of the living God! Has your God, whom you serve continually, saved you?

Notice the words: God, whom you serve CONTINUALLY. Can that be said about you? Can it be said about me? Am I a sometimes Christian? Am I a Sunday morning Christian? Or could it be said of me that I serve God continually? That’s why Daniel wasn’t destroyed. Everyone knows God delivered Daniel from those lions but here’s the real question: are we willing to pay the price to walk in spiritual victory as he did? Are we willing to spend time on our knees in prayer, even ONCE per day, let alone three? Do you serve God continually or are you just “sorta Christian?”

By now, I hope you are measuring yourself by this passage. I know I am. I wonder how many miracles I’ve missed out on, how many times I’ve been slapped around, chewed up and spit out by life, and it’s because I wasn’t ready to receive a miracle. I wasn’t ready, my heart wasn’t prepared, to receive the provision of God because I didn’t have the devotion life to go with it. How many days in my life have I gotten busy and forgotten God? How many times have I failed to pray, and brought calamity on myself?

I ask God for many things, but how much can God trust me with? Can he trust me with revelation knowledge, with more joy, more power in the Spirit, if I do not have any day to day spiritual practices? The more we know God and walk with God, the more he will bless us and provide for us.

We must live prepared. We can’t just call on God when we’re in trouble. We have to be Believers first, and everything else second. Are you hungry for God? Are you seeking him and his Kingdom? Or is your fire out?