Sleeping with the Lions
In Goiania, Brazil, following an epileptic seizure, a homeless man’s dog chased the ambulance that carried him away to the hospital. The dog was not slowing down and followed the vehicle through busy streets. Finally, the compassionate crew, realizing the dog would give up his life before being separated from his owner, pulled over and offered a ride. Once at the hospital, the dog would not leave the owners side.
In Siberia, Russia a dog has been coming to a hospital every day for over 2 years, unaware her master died a year ago. Her owner was admitted 2 years ago and a patient for about a year. Masha has come every day in search of her owner, unaware the man has passed. She still comes, hoping to find him. A family tried adopting Masha but she escaped and made her way back to the hospital. Now the hospital staff makes sure she is cared for.
Dogs are known for their relentless faithfulness to their owners, through thick and thin, good or bad they want to be by their owners side ready to do whatever they say. I think God gave us dogs for many reasons, no less as an illustration of what it means to be faithful.
We are called to be faithful to our God, always wanting to be by his side, no matter the cost, ready and willing to obey.
As we open up Daniel for our final time I think you will be struck with the call to BE FAITHFUL TO THE LIVING GOD
Matt 10:33 ““But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
Matt 24:13 ““But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
John 14:21 ““He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.””
Faithfulness to God is evidence of salvation, faithfulness is at the heart of the Christian life. Many students struggle with roller coaster Christianity, going up at camp and then downhill at home. Highs and lows BUT God calls us to steady faithfulness. AND as we remain faithful, as we love him and keep his commandments we begin to KNOW him even more, we see his face clearer, we grow and we become even more satisfied.
In a age where people will backstab friends for the next best thing, where people abandon God at the sight of a momentary pleasure, where people ditch Christianity because of a tough circumstance. A FAITHFUL GENERATION is needed more than ever. I pray you would be the differnence, you’d be holy through faithfulness.
Prop: Be FAITHFUL to The LIVING GOD
Are you faithful in CHARACTER? v. 1-5
Darius appointed Satrap (governors) over the satrap were 3 commissioners (governors report to them) and Daniel was 1 of the 3 and the text could be translated of the 3 HE was NUMBER 1 (SPONGE-BOB)
Daniel was was distinguishing himself ABOVE the rest, so the Satraps out of JEALOUSY began to plot against him but they had no legitimate grounds of an accusation. 0 Corruption, 0 negligence
“extraordinary spirit” = excellent attitude
What an awesome testimony it is to be known for a good attitude. And here is the best part YOU ARE IN CONTROL of your attitude.
You can decide to be joyful, attentive, happy, nice, communicative, kind OR you can choose to be dismissive, rude, edgy, mean, sassy, salty
Bad attitudes are sinful. We must not ignore emotion but not let it control us either.
Don’t be the person no one WANTS to invite because your difficult, always kill the party, always sad.
If you know Jesus you know the source of Joy, you have every reason to be thankful. Your guilt has been destroyed - your sins paid for at the Cross, your sins power destroyed at the resurrection and your waiting for sins presence to be gone because Jesus Ascended and he will take you to where he is.
Now you’d think even with a good attitude people will still find faults in us, still find maybe valid reasons to question our charcter.
Pause here, are you kidding me?! He is 90 years old and has been in government since his teenage years and they can’t find A thing?
Think about ALL of the attempts in politics to destroy someones reputation and character.
QUICK ILLUS: Brett Kavanaugh when appointed as supreme court justice WAS torn to shreds and even his seemingly clean record was STILL somehow tarnished by finding notes in his college yearbook that were inappropriate, he was forced to become a meme by saying “I like beer” and now MANY Americans still believe he is a CRIMINAL
Daniel has been in government longer the Kavanaugh has been alive - you better believe the 119 Satraps and 2 other commissioners were digging deep and combing through every work he has ever done, finding and interrogating people from his past and FOUND NOTHING
How many of us have that level of integrity? to the point that our character will hold up under the most intense scrutiny?
How far would we have to dig to find flaws in your character? Out of these things which ones FALL SHORT?
100% effort at practice and in games
Never missing a due date
Showing up on time to school or work
Completing all of your chores THOROUGHLY
100% honesty - not leaving out truth or bending it
Refraining from Gossip
Purity in relationships
Purity in content
God cares about your character. He has called ALL of us to LIVE HOLY. Holiness does not allow for any area to be sub par or miss the mark. You may not see these as a big deal BUT GOD DOES. Ask Him tonight to give you HIS perspective because ours is flawed and confess the areas of your character that have not been in submission to Him. HAVE integrity.
Be faithful to the Lord, DAY in and DAY out in your Charcter.
Hows this area of your life? Are you faithful to God in your CHARACTER?
Are you faithful in PRAYER? v. 6-13
So they couldn’t fault his Character, so what do they do?
Summarize: they collude against Daniel to make his obedience to God illegal
These SLIMY Satraps head over to the King and appeal to his ego by pretty much saying “King your so great we want to dedicate a month to you, you know there is Black History Month, LGBTQ month, Native American Month, they want a Darius month - where nobody can pray to any other God except you.
Darius you know, gives himself a pat on the back and signs away
The satraps take the law run back to Daniels house and post up outside w/ the binos to catch his 12 oclock prayer time v.10 says that Daniel KNEW the law was decreed but prayed 3 times a day AS HE PREVIOUSLY WAS DOING.
And this gets him in trouble with the law
Now I think the main point here is that Daniel didn’t compromise when he was 19 and he won’t compromise when he is 90 no matter the circumstance
But we have to pause and examine the faithful prayer life of Daniel.
3 Times a day everyday same time same place - so consistent that they knew exactly where and when to find him
Daniel wouldn’t and couldn’t stop PRAYING
ILLUS: George Mueller
Cared for 10,000 orphans in his lifetime
One mourning he recorded that the orphanage had ran out of food. 300 hungry children sat down for breakfast but the kitchen was empty, George prayed and thanked God for the breakfast they were about to eat and no more than a minute later, an unexpected baker knocked on the door and brought in food
A wind storm came through and caused lots of damage to one of the orphanages, leaving holes in the roof and broken windows. With the winds continuing and heavy rain coming the orphanage would no longer be inhabitable. George prayed for the weather to calm and it did, it held just long enough for the repairmen to come in
Maybe the most amazing story is when he went around the world to share with others about the way God had worked in his life and on his voyage by sea to Quebec the captain had to bring the ship almost to a halt because of the thick fog they found themselves in, it was impossible to navigate through. George, needing to be in Quebec the following afternoon, asked if he could use the chart room to pray, the captain agreed but stated “Pray won’t help us” after a time of prayer they returned to the deck to find the fog had lifted, the captain a short time later came to Christ
George Mueller believed that God heard his prayers and answered them, so he never made any appeal, request or fundraiser for money. He would just pray and wait for God to answer
He would go on to see God provide 120 million dollars for the orphanages through his ministry.
In his journals there are recorded over 50,000 ANSWERED prayer requests.
He was known as a man of prayer
What He and Daniel had in common was a life that NEEDED and DEPENDED on PRAYER
Why is it that when we here a sermon on prayer were always convicted yet don’t see lasting change? BECAUSE we live lifes that don’t see a need for prayer
God desires you to pray, he commands you to pray and ALWAYS answers prayer
Live in a way that REQUIRES God to work, meaning live a life that LITERALLY depends on God -
Set a prayer plan, time, place, duration, accountability
Look for answers and record them and thank Him for the answer
Are you faithful to WITNESS? v.14-16
So Daniel is caught praying and therefore breaking the law and when Darius hears about this he doesn’t say “into the lions den!” Instead he was distressed, sad and exhausted his resources looking for a way to not through Dan in the Den and when his hand is forced he states “The God whom you constantly serve WILL DELIVER YOU”
Later when he checks on Daniel he says “Daniel, servant of the LIVING GOD” and at the end of the chapter he makes an amazing decree proclaiming the character of God
You tell me, how does a pagan king make statements like that?
If you were to ask your friends at school, who may call themselves Christians and have grown up in predominantly a Christian society, they would say God is a guy in the sky with a big beard, white robe and will pretty much let anyone into heaven
Yet this Pagan King who doesn’t read the bible, doesn’t go to the temple makes these statements about God. How does he do that?
I believe it is because of the FAITHFUL WITNESS OF DANIEL.
Obviously Darius had questions right? Daniel was CONSTANTLY serving God and clearly took every chance he could to tell and teach Darius about the one true LIVING God.
I won’t spend too such time here because we heavily focused on evangelism last week, but i will say ARE YOU A WITNESS?
When you call a witness to the stand in a court room their duty is to tell the jury the truth about what they saw and what they know. People walk away from hearing a witness LEARNING something
Tell me, do your friends know about the God you claim to follow?
Do they know about the sovereignty, the goodness, the grace, the love, the righteousness, the justice, the power, the wisdom, the holiness of God?
Listen God isn’t a hard sell, we don’t need to trick people into following Jesus - sometimes we avoid telling people what we actually believe about God in fear it will turn them away.
God is better than anyone or anything and when you are faithfully told about the Character of God and the gift of salvation recieved by grace through faith in the gospel - and God regenerates, they will come to Christ
UNBELIEVER - how can you refuse this God? You can have your momentary happiness, your popularity, your followers, your boyfriend and DIE with it. As for me, I will take the LIVING all sufficient merciful God
You’ve been duped, you got the short end of the stick to say the least - Repent from your sins believe in the Gospel, LIVE FOR CHRIST! He is so much better
Lets continue in the text, we are reaching the climatic point of the narrative, the tension is building, its as if the suspensful music has reached its high point, were on the edge of our seats, what happnes to Daniel in the Den?
Well v.17 hes thrown in and sealed up
v.18 the camera follows Darius - its like your sibling changes the channel when its the last play in the super bowl
But this is purposeful because we see even further the affect of Daniels faithful witness to Darius
Darius doesn’t just go “oh bummer” no he can’t eat, he can’t sleep, he sat in his room in angst waiting for the very moment he could go back to that Den to see if God did indeed save daniel and so at the crack of dawn, the KING who hurries for no one, hurries to daniel.
I mean these guys are friends. This isn’t just a superficial relationship - it wasn’t like Daniel just used him, only would show interest when Darius showed interest, clearly Daniel actually cared for Darius and didn’t just tell him about God BUT showed him the character of God
Your witness is not very helpful if it is in word alone. But a powerful witness is one in word and action, not just talking the talk but walking the walk. Its one thing to tell someone God loves them, its another thing to tell them and show them. Why would someone believe you if you’re not there for them
We must go to the furthest extent to win people to Christ.
Are you a faithful witness of the living God?
Are you faithful in DANGER? v.21-25
We end our time in Daniel where we started, seeing the uncompromising faith of Daniel
The King returns to Daniel and cries out in a worried voice Dan 6:20 “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
I love this, I mean the guys surrounded by upwards of 20 hungry lions and the first thin he says is “O King live forever” you’d think he would ditch the formality but stays calm cool collected and unwavering