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Into the Lion's Den - Daniel - Part 6

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
July 27, 2020 7:00 am

Into the Lion's Den - Daniel - Part 6

So What? / Lon Solomon

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July 27, 2020 7:00 am

A study of the book of Daniel. 

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But suddenly, in his old age, God calls Daniel back to the front lines here in Daniel 6.

And in the process, God is going to ask Daniel to face what probably was the greatest trial of his life. My father-in-law raised four children, put them through school, paid their way through college, got them married, even paid for the weddings in the case of three out of four because they were girls. He got them living for the Lord. He became a grandpa. And his attitude was, you know, gee, you know, I've pulled my duty. I can relax now.

Some of you older folks are going, amen, God bless him. We know exactly how he's feeling. You know what happened then? His youngest daughter, my wife's sister, got cancer and died from cancer. And I'll never forget the day he and I were sitting around just kind of talking. We weren't really talking about a whole lot of anything, but we were just kind of talking. And I asked him how he was feeling about all of this.

And he's not a man who expresses his feelings too readily or wears them on his sleeve. But I just caught him at the right moment where he was ready to talk for just a minute about how he was feeling. And I'll never forget what he said to me. He said, you know what I've learned, Lon? He said, I've learned that God never lets us get so old that we don't have something that we need to trust him for.

And I thought, man, that's significant. I need to write that down and remember that God never lets us get so old that we don't have to trust him for something. And maybe old Daniel figured he'd faced all his big trials. I mean, he'd been through his vegetable and water thing in Chapter one. He'd been through his tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and interpreted thing in Chapter two. He'd been through his help Nebuchadnezzar through his animal thing in Chapter four. He'd been through his face down Belshazzar and rebuke him thing in Chapter five. And I think, frankly, old Daniel probably felt ready to retire.

He figured he'd done his job. But, you know, God never lets us get so old that we don't have to trust him for something. And the greatest challenge of Daniel's life lay dead ahead right here in Chapter six. And tonight we want to look at it. So let's begin Chapter six, verse one.

It pleased Darius. Let's stop. You say stop. We only have three words. I know. But we got a problem. You say already. We only have three words.

Yep. I mean, what would Daniel be without a historical problem? What would the Book of Daniel be without some kind of interpretative problem where critics picked on it and attacked the integrity of the book?

And we've got one right here. You say, really? What's the problem? The problem is Darius. You say, what's the problem with him? Well, it says in the end of Chapter five, verse thirty one, the Darius, the mead took over the kingdom at the age of sixty two. And then if you look down a little farther in Chapter six, verse seven, it says that he was the king. You say, OK, so what's the problem? The problem is we have no record of anybody ever being the king of the Persian Empire at this time named Darius.

That's the problem. Later on, there is a whole line of kings over the Persian Empire named Darius, begun by Darius the first, who ruled beginning in five twenty two B.C. But this is seventeen years later and certainly will not fit the statements that are made about this guy, Darius the mead.

H.H. Rowley, who is a very well known, not a Christian, but a well known archaeologist and Old Testament scholar, wrote and said this. And I quote, The references to Darius the mead in the Book of Daniel have long been recognized as providing the most serious historical problem in the book. The claim of the Book of Daniel to be a work of history is shattered beyond repair by this fiction of Darius the mead. You understand what he's saying? What he's saying is that the fact that the Book of Daniel refers to Darius the mead proves once and for all that the Book of Daniel cannot be a historical work because there is no such guy. And it's true.

As we look through the historical records, we do not find anywhere any reference to Darius the mead. You say, OK, Lon, well, what's the solution? Well, there's only three solutions possible.

Number one, the Bible is wrong, inaccurate and untrustworthy. Well, I don't accept that one, do you? So that's not the right answer for us.

You say, well, what other options do we have? Well, a second theory is that Darius and Cyrus the Great, who we know was the first emperor of the Persian Empire. We know Cyrus the Great was the man who in 539 B.C. conquered the city of Babylon. The Darius and Cyrus the Great are one and the same person, that they're just alternate names for the same person.

Now, this is not unheard of. For example, some of the kings of Israel had alternate names. They are the alternate name for Solomon. Some of you may know it was Jedediah, an alternate name for King Uzziah was Azariah.

The Bible records that the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser was also known as Pul, P-U-L or Pulu. And that appears in the Bible in Second Kings Chapter 20. Both names appear in the Bible.

They were alternate names. So maybe Darius the Mede is just another name for Cyrus the Great. In fact, the last verse of Daniel, Chapter six, many people who hold this theory say that it ought to be translated like this. So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian, not and, but even, meaning that they're the same person.

Now, will that will that work? Not really. It is possible that you can translate the word and in Hebrew to mean even. That is possible. However, Cyrus was not a Mede. He was a Persian. And if you read his historical references to himself, he never refers to himself as a Mede, but always as a Persian. Second of all, it's doubtful that Daniel would use two different terms to refer to the same man throughout the book. That's confusing.

Why would he do that? It doesn't make much sense. And finally, and I think most damaging in Daniel Chapter nine, verse one, we're given the name of Darius's father. His name is Achashuras.

And yet we know for certain that Cyrus is the great father's name was not Achashuras, but was Cambyses. And so this won't work. We got two men with different daddies.

This won't work. She said, Well, Lon, what then? What have we got? Well, there is a third theory that I personally believe is correct. And that's this, that Cyrus indeed was the first emperor of the Persian Empire, but that Babylon and the Babylonian Empire, the old Babylonian Empire, was like a little kernel within the larger Persian Empire. And that this Darius the Mede was the governor, was the head of this little kernel within the Persian Empire that Cyrus placed over Babylon and the ancient kingdom of Babylon. In Persian and Babylonian documents, we know that this man's name is Gubaru, that there was a governor placed over Babylon and the Babylonian Empire as a section of the Persian Empire.

And we know his name was Gubaru. We know from the Nevada cylinder that I talked to you about last week that after he captured Babylon, Cyrus the Great installed this regional governor named Gubaru and placed him over what used to be the Babylonian Empire. And his title in Persian was he was a pihatu, which in Persian means a governor. Persian records tell us that these pihatus, and there were several of them over sections of the Persian Empire, had all of the prerogatives of kings.

Aramaic, in which the Book of Daniel chapter six is written, has no word for pihatu. So it's entirely reasonable that Daniel would have picked a word like king to speak of this guy, because in essence he was the king of this huge section of the Persian Empire. And all of this records well with what the Book of Daniel says about Darius. That is that Darius was placed over Babylon, not that he conquered it. Look, chapter five verse 31, it says that after the fall of Babylon, chapter five verse 31, that Darius the Mede, the Bible says, received the kingdom of Babylon as though it was given to him by someone else. Even more significant is Daniel chapter nine verse one, where it says, in the first year of Darius, a Mede by descent, who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom. Well, who made him a ruler? The implication here is somebody else appointed him, which would make all the sense in the world if Cyrus the Great appointed him the governor over this province.

It's interesting that this cylinder, the Nabonidus cylinder, also goes on to tell us that Guevara went ahead and then appointed lower level officials over all that used to be the Babylonian empire. And that's exactly what Daniel chapter six verse one says, that it pleased Darius to appoint 120 governors, regional governors, to rule throughout the kingdom. And so my understanding of this is that the best way to explain this is that Darius the Mede was another name, a throne name perhaps, for this fellow Guevara that Cyrus the Great placed over the Babylonian section, the old Babylonian empire of the Persian empire, and that he gave him the authority to serve almost as a little king over this section of the Persian empire. It's interesting that in the book of Daniel, Daniel never calls him the king of Persia. He only refers to Darius as the king of Babylon, which was a smaller section within Persia, which would make sense if indeed Cyrus was the king of Persia, Guevara or Darius was just the controller of Babylon. So where does that leave us?

Well, let me summarize. Dr. John Whitcomb, it is our conviction that Guevara, the governor of Babylon and the region beyond the river province, that was that section within the empire, that he appears in the book of Daniel as Darius the Mede, the monarch who took charge of the Babylonian kingdom immediately after the death of Belshazzar. We believe that this identification is the only one that satisfactorily harmonizes the various lines of evidence that are found in the book of Daniel and with those that are found in contemporary Babylonian records.

You say, but Lon, I got a problem. What about the fact that no document has ever been found that identifies this fellow Guevara and calls him Darius the Mede? Well, could I remind you that until a few years ago, no document had ever been found that contained the name of Belshazzar in chapter five, you remember? And so critics picked on the Bible and said, we never found this name.

It doesn't exist. The Bible is wrong. But now we have found his name and we know that indeed the Bible is not wrong.

It's right. And I believe that one day we will probably find Darius's name somewhere in one of these clay tablets that they dig up, identified with this fellow Guevara. You give archaeology enough time and I believe it will corroborate the Bible every single time. So where are we? How are we going to approach Daniel chapter six like this understanding that Darius the Mede is the governor of the entire ancient Babylonian Empire, a section of the Persian Empire, and that he calls Daniel out of retirement to serve him.

You say, Lon, I think I followed you. OK, well, for those of you who like to crunch on archaeology and all that stuff, we did that. Now, let's get on and do the chapter, shall we?

Chapter six. It pleased Darius to appoint one hundred and twenty little county executives throughout the kingdom with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. And these county executives were made accountable to these three administrators so that the king might not suffer loss.

Now, Daniel so distinguished himself among these administrators by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. OK, what happens? You get a new president, you get a new cabinet. We know that we live in Washington. This is D.C. reality. New president comes in. He shifts all the top executive posts in the government. And Darius decided to do that, to reorganize the entire empire into one hundred and twenty counties, states.

Call them what you want. And then he appointed county executives over each one of them. And all these county executives reported to three administrators. Daniel was one of them. And Daniel distinguished himself as being such an above reproach leader that Darius decided he was going to put him over the whole ball of wax, going to make him prime minister, grand vizier or whatever you want to call him.

Now, verse four. At this, the administrators and the county executives tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of governmental affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Now, as soon as they heard that Daniel was going to be made prime minister, all of these other folks, all of his fellow officials decided that they had to do something to get rid of this guy. And so they first looked at his organizational conduct, but they said, we can't find anything there to impeach this man.

He's impeccable. So, verse five, they said, we will never find any basis for charges against this man, Daniel, unless it has something to do with the law of his God. That's the only way we're ever going to get him. They concluded the only chance they had to get him was if they could do something in relationship to his God somehow to set him up in such a way that they could use his devotion to God in order to implicate him. Now, I thought as I was studying this, isn't it great that Daniel's fidelity to God was so well known and so predictable that these men were sure that if they could create a situation where loyalty to God was on one hand and loyalty to anything else, including the king, was on the other hand, that they felt absolutely certain what Daniel would do. He'd pick loyalty for God. Wouldn't it be great to have a reputation like that? That was the man's reputation.

They knew they could get him like that. Well, verse six, so they went to the king and they said, oh, Darius, live forever. The royal administrators and prefects and say, traps and advisers and governors, we've all gotten together.

We've all agreed. Now, they didn't mention the fact Daniel wasn't in this, but they said, we've all agreed that you should issue an edict and you should enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any God or man during the next 30 days except to you. Oh, King, should be thrown into the lion's den. Now, King, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered in accordance with the laws of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be changed.

So King Darius put the decree into writing. They went in and said, now, King, here's what we think you ought to do. We think you ought to come up with one of these edicts, you know, that kings like to do. We think you ought to put it out all over the kingdom and say anybody who prays to any God or any man except for you, King, in the next 30 days is going to be put to death. We think that's a great idea. We all agree on it, King.

So do it. The King decided to do it. And so verse 10, when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day, he used to get down on his knees and pray, giving thanks to God.

And he did it just as he had done it before. Then these men went as a group and they found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and they spoke to him about his decree. And they said, King, didn't you publish a decree that during the next 30 days, anyone who prays to any God or any man except you would be thrown in the lion's den? And the king said, Yep, I did it.

And it stands in accordance with the law, the Medes and the Persians that cannot be changed. And they said, Well, King Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, pays no attention to you or to the decree that you put in writing. He still prays three times a day. And when the king heard this, he was greatly distressed and was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. Now, when Daniel found out that the king had made this decree, he didn't let that interfere with his commitment to God. He went home at lunchtime like he always went home at lunchtime.

He opened his windows towards Jerusalem. He got down on his knees and he prayed. In fact, the Bible says he used to do this three times a day. You say, Well, where did he get that from?

Well, I'm not sure. But, you know, in Psalm 55, David says evening and morning and noon. I cry out in distress and the Lord hears my voice. And maybe Daniel had read that and thought, Gee, that sounds good. Evening and morning and noon, three times a day.

Sounds great. But his enemies were waiting for him. They knew he was going to do it. And as soon as they caught it, as soon as he got on his knees and started praying, they burst in the room. They caught him red handed in the act. They picked him up. They dragged him off to Darius.

They said, Here he is. We caught him right in the act on his knees, praying to his God, disregarding being flippant towards everything you commanded. King, throw him in the lion's den, just like you said. Darius began to try to figure a way out. The problem is he couldn't.

Verse 15. After he'd been trying all day to figure a way out, the men came to him and said, Remember, King, that the law of the Medes and the Persians says this. No decree or edict that the king issues can be changed. How'd you like to be running a government when anything you said or did, once you said or did it, you could never change it? I mean, that would be kind of unwieldy, wouldn't it? But this is the way the Medes and the Persians ran things. And you say, Oh, come on, Lon.

No, I'm absolutely serious. In fact, not only does the book of Esther confirm this, because in the book of Esther, you remember the king of Persia wants to change the edict that he gave out by Haman's coercion. And he couldn't. But we have secular historians that confirm that this is the way it was in the Persian Empire. Deodorus Siculus, who is a secular historian, writes in one of his works that a Persian king, once he had issued a decree, it was irrevocable for any and every reason.

This is the way it was. We know that from outside of the Bible. And so there was nothing the king could do. So the king gave the order, verse 16, and they brought Daniel and they threw him in the lion's den. And the king said to Daniel, he said, Well, your God, he's got to save you now, because I've tried everything I can think of, Daniel, and I can't save you. And so Daniel was cast in the lion's den and cast upon God. You might say, Well, why did they throw him in the lion's den? You know, old Nebuchadnezzar built that great furnace out there. Why didn't you just take him out and put him in the furnace?

I mean, it was there waiting. Well, interestingly enough, there's a reason why they used the lion's den, because you see, the official religion of the Persian Empire was Zoroastrianism. And they worshiped a god called Atar, who was a god of fire. And to take Daniel out and kill him by using fire would have been sacrilegious and blasphemy to their god, so they did not kill by fire. They threw people in the lion's den.

Isn't it great when you learn more how the Bible is so incredibly accurate? Now, what happened? Well, the king was genuinely upset about all this. Verse 17, And a stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring, so that Daniel's situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace, and he spent the night without eating and without entertainment being brought to him, and he couldn't even sleep.

You know, in contrast to Nebuchadnezzar, who in the three youths said, We will not bow down, the Bible said he was furious. Old Darius was really upset that he got tricked, got hoodwinked, he got bamboozled into setting up his own number one man. He was so upset that he went back to his house, and there was no wine. It ruined his whole night.

There was no party, and there was no dancing girls, no court jesters, no sleep. He was up all night worrying about Daniel. The Bible says early the next morning, verse 19, The king got up and ran to the lion's den. And when he came near, lion's den in these days were built down into the ground so that there was an opening above where you could look down and in. And he came early in the morning, and he looked down into the den, and when he came, he yelled out to Daniel. And he said, Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve continually been able to rescue you from the lions? He came and yelled out, Hey, Daniel, you alive down there?

I'm not sure he really expected to hear much. But Daniel answered and said, King, my God sent his angel and shut the mouths of these lions. And they haven't hurt me because I was innocent, and I've never done any wrong before you, O king. Daniel said, Hey, God sent an angel, and he spent the whole night in here protecting me, and I was even able to lay down and get some sleep.

By the way, had you sleep, King? Well, Darius got excited. He said, Get him out of there, hoist him up out of there.

And they did. And then, if you'll notice, it says, verse 23, the king was overjoyed and gave orders to get Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted out of the den, no wound was found on him because he had trusted in his God. And at the king's command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown in the lion's den along with their wives and their children.

This teaches you to marry smart. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed their bones. Some people have said, Well, you know, the only reason Daniel survives is because the lions weren't really hungry. No, they were hungry. I don't know what kind of supernatural diet pill that angel gave them, but it had worn off by morning. And the Bible says they crushed the bones of these people before they even hit the ground.

They caught them in midair coming down and killed them. And the chapter ends, much as chapter three ends, after God had delivered the boys in the fiery furnace, with Darius sending out a great proclamation all through the empire, lifting up and exalting the God of Daniel. Look, verse twenty five. Then King Darius wrote to all the people and the nations and the men of every language throughout the land and said, I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom, people should fear and reverence the God of Daniel, for he is the living God and he endures forever. His kingdom will not be destroyed. His dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves.

He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. And he has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions. So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus, the Persian.

You say, how much longer did this guy live? Well, we know from Chapter 10 that he had a prophecy in the third year of Cyrus, which is two years from now. And that's the last record we have of Daniel being alive. And so I'm assuming Daniel may have lived three, four or five years and probably died in his 90s. But what a great what a great passage.

You know, the Bible doesn't specifically say this, but I got to thinking this week. I wonder if Daniel wasn't called up to see Cyrus. You know, Cyrus wasn't here. Cyrus the Great was in Susa, the capital of Persia. But don't you think if this edict went out all through the kingdom that the head of the Persian Empire might have wanted to see who this guy was and that he might even have been called in to stand in front of Cyrus?

I think that's possible. And maybe when that happened, Daniel talked to Cyrus about more than just the miracle that had happened to him. Perhaps he talked to Cyrus about the fact that Cyrus's name appeared in the book of Isaiah, Chapter 45, 150 years before Cyrus was born. And maybe Daniel talked to Cyrus about the fact that God had promised Jeremiah 29 10 to return the Jews to their land after 70 years in Babylon.

And this year, year one of Cyrus was the 70th year. And maybe he talked to Cyrus about Cyrus being God's man to return the Jews to their land. And I wonder if when we read in Ezra, Chapter one, the words of Cyrus, Cyrus said, The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and God has appointed me to build him a temple in Jerusalem. Did you ever wonder how Cyrus came to that conviction? He said, Well, God appeared to him in the middle of the night and told him.

Yeah, that's possible. It's also possible that God, as a result of what happened with Daniel, gave Daniel an audience with old King Cyrus and knowing Daniel the way I know him. I don't think that he took that lightly, but I think he took that Persian emperor and sat him right down and opened up the Bible and said to him, Now, brother, I got some things I want to show you and there's some things God wants you to do. And I can't prove it. It's just a hunch. But it won't surprise me when I get to heaven to find out that old Cyrus figured out it was time to let the Jews go back and rebuild the temple because Daniel had an interview with him after this.

And Daniel told him he was the man God had chosen to make it happen. Just a thought. Well, you say, Lon, that's great. So what? So what?

What difference that make for me? Let me answer that in the last three minutes I've got and I got kind of a shotgun approach. What I like to do usually is pick out one thing and just give you that. So you take one thing home.

But there's so many neat things in here. I couldn't decide which one thing to pick out. So I'm gonna give them all to you.

Get ready for shotgun. You pick whichever one you like and it'll be yours for the night. I got four or five of them I want to give you. Number one, some great things here that I see. Number one, the first thing I see is Daniel's tremendous reputation with outsiders.

You pick that up here. First Timothy Chapter three says that any man or woman in spiritual leadership should have a good reputation with those who are outside of the family of God. And Daniel's reputation for honesty and integrity was so clear that they even say here in Chapter six, back in verse four, we will never find any basis to discredit this man. There is no way we will ever discredit him. He is too incredibly honest. There's no amount of money we can offer him. There's no bribe we can give him. There's no graft that we can interest him in. There's no pork barrel that we can offer him. The man is impeccably honest.

We're never going to find a way to discredit this guy unless we can figure out some way to do it with regard to his God. What a reputation, an incredible reputation. I wonder how many of us really worry about what our neighbors really think. What our co-workers really think. What our fellow students really think. I mean, all of us have a reputation as a Christian, whether we like it or not.

The question is, what kind of reputation is it? And I believe that God expects us to be very careful about making sure that we've got a good reputation just like Daniel did. I don't know about you, but when I try to share Christ with people, maybe you run into this. You know the most common objection I run across?

What do you think it might be? They can't accept the virgin birth. No. They can't accept the resurrection. No.

They can't accept the fact God made the world and didn't use evolution. No. You know the most common objection I run across?

Here it comes. Well, I knew a Christian once. You ever get that one? Well, I lived and went to church when I was growing up, and I saw how they acted.

You ever get that one? You know what? Christians with bad reputations defeat more evangelism than any amount of theology or theological disagreement that I've ever heard of. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to bring people back to neutral from negative because of what some Christian had done or said?

And dear friends, I want to challenge you. What a reputation this man had. He had a reputation for being impeccable. Do you think your co-workers would say, man, we will never find any way to discredit Joe?

There's no way to do it. He's too honest. How about your neighbors?

We will never find any way to discredit Susie. She's too good a neighbor. We need to think about our reputations and a lot of things we would do we wouldn't do if we were really sensitive to how it was going to make people feel about us on the ball field, in the office, at lunch. We need to be sensitive to the fact people are judging Christ by what they see us do. I got a second thought that I see here, and that is the role of angels in the world.

I wish I had more time to develop this. But, you know, the angel came down and shut the lion's mouth. And every time those lines even burp that night, that angel said, shut up.

And that line just purred like a pussycat. That's what Daniel said. He didn't say God shut that out of that line, did he? He said an angel did it. And that angel came down and sat right in the lion's den.

And every time those lines even look cross-eyed at Daniel, he just said, back off, buddy. I think that's pretty neat. And you know what? The Bible says every one of us as Christians has an angel that does that for us. You say, no. Yeah, we do. Hebrews chapter 1 verse 14 says that angels are sent to be ministering spirits to those of us who know Christ. And you know the idea of a guardian angel is not an old wives tale. It's true. You say, really? Yeah. To have an angel goes everywhere I go?

Yeah, some of you work him overtime trying to keep you out of trouble. But it's true. You say, hey, that's really neat. Yeah, it is. And you got one.

Well, I wish I had more time to develop that. But isn't it great to know God has not left us unprotected in this world? That it's not just you and the Spirit, although you and the Spirit would be enough. But isn't it great God sent an angel along just to go with you everywhere you go? And you know that time you stepped out and almost got hit? Who do you think it was pushed that car back six or eight inches? You know, that time you almost got yourself killed doing something stupid. Who do you think it was got you out of that without getting killed? You say, I was lucky.

Right. Don't believe that somebody was there watching over you because God gives you one of them, just like he gave Daniel. A third thought I've got is how I see here that God loves to turn the schemes of the wicked back on their own head. Isn't that interesting how God worked it out so that the very people who wanted Daniel thrown in the lion's den ended up getting thrown in there themselves? God loves to do that.

He does it all the time. You know, he hanged Haman on the very gallows that Haman built for Mordecai. God loves to do that.

Psalm 7 says the wicked will fall into the ditch that he made and his mischief will return on his own head, which says to me, we don't have to protect ourselves. God will do it for us. He did it for Daniel.

He did it for Mordecai. He'll do it for you. Got somebody picking on you? Don't worry about it. God will take the very things that they're using to try to get you and you give them enough rope and the Bible will convince you they'll hang themselves.

Just get out of the way and let God work on it. Gee, I wish I had time to develop these. These are fun. All right. Two more.

Number four. Another thing I see here is that God loves to deliver us through our trials many times, not from them. Think now. So many times when we're faced with a difficult trial, we want out. We get on our knees and we say, God, get us out. God, get us out. I have the feeling old Daniel was on his knees, praying that very same thing when they burst in on him, saying, Lord, get me out of this.

How am I going to get out of this? Paul did that three times. The Bible says Second Corinthians 12, he prayed for his thorn in the flesh, whatever it was, to be taken away. He said, well, Paul was an apostle. Yeah, but he was still human and he didn't want to deal with it.

He wanted to take it away. He wanted out of the trial. But God often replies to us that no, he will not deliver us out of the trial. He will deliver us through the trial. That's what he did for Daniel. That's what he did for Paul. He said, Paul, no, I'm sorry, I'm not taking the thorn away, but my grace will be sufficient for you to go through it.

Friends, the reason God does that is because so often, if we're faithful when we go through a trial, it brings God far more glory than when we go around a trial. Just think if Daniel had gone around the lion's den, just think of all the things that would be different. I mean, the Book of Daniel would be a chapter shorter to start with. There would be no great story to tell your kids about Daniel in the lion's den. And far more importantly, think how much glory God would have missed if he took Daniel around the lion's den. No, God got a whole lot more glory taking him through. That's why God many times doesn't take you out of your trials. He takes you through them.

Why? Because he gets more glory that way. And if you've got a trial that you've been asking God to take you around and he's been telling you, I'm not going to do it. That's all right. God has the grace to take you through just as successfully as he has the grace to take you around. If he chooses to take you through that, you'll be better off and he'll get more glory.

Last of all, you say, good grief, Lon. Well, I told you it was a neat chapter. Last of all, would you notice the source of Daniel's power to stand firm for God?

You see, we look at Daniel as a great giant for God. Any of you remember the old song Dare to be a Daniel? Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm. Dare to make it known. Now, they used to sing those in young people's meetings about six or eight generations ago, but we don't sing them in young people's meetings anymore.

But Philip Bliss actually wrote that as a children's song. Dare to be a Daniel. And sometimes we think that these guys like Daniel's are giants and they're just born that way, that they're made a different kind of protoplasm than the rest of us.

But that's not true. Elijah, the Bible says, was a man just like us. Daniel was a guy just like us. If you want to really know what makes the difference between Daniel and the rest of mankind, I'll show you what makes the difference. Look at Chapter six, verse 10, where it says that Daniel, three times every day, would get down on his knees and pray, giving thanks to God. You want to know Daniel's inner secret?

It wasn't that he was made of different stuff than you are or I am. It was communion with God. In spite of all of the pressures he had as a busy executive, in spite of all the demands on his time, Daniel went to his house three times a day, opened the windows and sought the face of God. And that's where Daniel's great consistency of life came from. That's where Daniel's great wisdom and discernment came from. That's where Daniel's great personal integrity came from. And that's where he got the courage to go in the lion's den.

He didn't get it by being different than you and me. He got it on his knees in a consistent relationship with the living God. You want to be a giant in your Christian life? My advice is, be a giant in your prayer life.

And you can be a giant in your Christian life. William Runyon wrote and said, Lord, I have shut the door, speak now the word, which in the din and throng could not be heard. Rebuke thou what is vain, counsel my soul, thy holy will reveal, my will control. Lord, I have shut the door, strengthened my heart. Yonder awaits the task. I share a part only through grace bestowed. May I be true here while alone with thee, my strength renewed. I like the way the kids choir said it. They said it a little more in a little more contemporary way. They said you get tall when you fall on your knees.

Same message. Where did Daniel get the power to be what he was? He wasn't made out of different genes than you are. But he might have had a different prayer life than you and I have. Three times a day every day. You say, well, Lon, I don't know if I can pray three times a day every day like that. My boss won't let me go open my windows in the noon and go pray to Jerusalem.

Well, I'm not saying it has to be three times a day, but I'm saying it needs to be consistent and regular. Dear friends, no Christians bigger than his prayer life. No Christians bigger than her prayer life. Daniel was a man of prayer, and that made him a man of integrity.

It made him a man of consistency, and it made him a man of courage. You be a man or woman of prayer. God will do the same things for you. Well, I gave you five.

I can't imagine somebody couldn't find something in all of that. If you couldn't, I got a few more in my head. You can come up and talk to me afterwards and I'll spit a couple more on you.

But anyway, that's all I have time for. I'll come over, but I trust that from a very familiar chapter, God will take his word and challenge our hearts in some areas. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for a chance to study your word this evening, a chance to worship you, a chance to be challenged by your word. And I pray, Lord, that whether it's on our own personal integrity and reputation that we got a challenge this evening, whether it's on the issue of trusting you, Father, to take us through trials instead of around them, whether we got a challenge this evening regarding our prayer life or whatever it might have been, Lord, you use this great chapter to minister to us and to motivate us to move on and address some areas in our lives that we need to address for the sake of Christ.

Lord Jesus, thank you for putting this neat story in the Bible to remind us that you do have the power to protect us whenever we put you first. And so, dear Father, help us to keep putting you first in every area of our lives. And then we can rely upon you to turn back the schemes of our enemies on their own heads, Lord, and to protect us safely all the way to the shores of heaven. Give us a great week. Help us go out this week determined to look for somebody to share Christ with as you give us opportunity. And, Father, hopefully because of our prayer life, we'll have the courage and the boldness that we'll need at that moment to step out by faith and do it. Give us a great week of living for you. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-10 10:44:54 / 2023-06-10 11:03:30 / 19

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