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DANIEL and the lions

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DANIEL

Daniel 6:1-28 (NIV)

Daniel in the Den of Lions

6     It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men 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.”

6 So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: “O King Darius, live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, “Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land:

“May you prosper greatly!

26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must 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.

27     He rescues and he saves;

he performs signs and wonders

in the heavens and on the earth.

He has rescued Daniel

from the power of the lions.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrusa the Persian.


 

 

 

Daniel's Three Important Decisions

INTRO;

SOMEONE ONCE SAID,
ONLY MEDIOCRE PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS AT THEIR BEST.

IT IS NOT ANACCIDENT THAT SOME PEOPLE EXCEL AT WHAT THEY DO WHILE OTHERS JUST BARELY GET BY.

THERE ARE REASONS WHY WE ACHIEVE AND THERE ARE REASONS WHY WE FAIL.

DANIEL, OF ALL PEOPLE, WAS DEFINITELY NOT A FAILURE.

DANIEL BROKE THE MOLD OF MEDIOCRE LIVING.

HE EXCELLED IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE MOST OF HIS COUNTRYMEN WERE HAPPY TO STAY WITH THE STATUS QUO.

WHEN WE LOOK AT DANIEL'S LIFE,

WE FIND THAT HIS FAME DIDN’T HAPPEN BY CHANCE.

INSTEAD, WE FIND THAT HIS RISE TO POWER CAN BE TRACED TO THREE IMPORTANT DECISIONS

THAT HE MADE EARLY IN HIS LIFE.

 

DECISION ONE;

DANIEL CHOSE CHARACTER OVER COMFORT.

IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, DANIEL DEVELOPED A REPUTATION.

HE WAS KNOWN TO BE HONORABLE AND ETHICAL

HIS CLOSET WAS CLEAN ...

THERE WERE NO SKELETONS WAITING TO HAUNT HIM.

EVEN DANIEL'S ENEMIES FOUND HIM TRUSTWORTHY.

SADLY, TODAY WE’RE LIVING IN A TIME WHEN IT IS EXTREMELY EASY TO COMPROMISE OUR INTEGRITY.

SO WHAT IF I TAKE SOME SUPPLIES HOME FROM THE FACTORY OR HAVE SOMEONE ELSE PUNCH MY TIME CARD?

WHO IS GOING TO SAY ANYTHING IF I STRETCH THE TRUTH OR SNEAK AN ANSWER ON AN EXAM

OR CHEAT ON MY INCOME TAX.


ONE DAY THE IRS RECEIVED A LETTER THAT SAID:

"DEAR SIRS,

LAST YEAR WHEN I FILED MY INCOME TAX RETURN, I DELIBERATELY MISREPRESENTED MY INCOME AND NOW I CAN’T SLEEP.

ENCLOSED YOU’LL FIND A CHECK FOR $150.00.  

IF I STILL CAN'T SLEEP, I’LL SEND YOU THE REST."

IT IS EASY TO COMPROMISE OUR VIRTUE ESPECIALLY WHEN THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR IS CONSIDERED NORMAL.

BUT LET ME TELL YOU

MORAL COMPROMISE WILL COST YOU.

IT’LL COST  YOU SLEEP

BUT MORE THAN SLEEP IT’LL COST YOU

THE JOY OF FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.

SOMETHING DRYS UP INSIDE US, WHEN WE ALLOW MORAL COMPROMISE INTO OUR LIVES.

BE LIKE DANIEL, BE WILLING TO BE DIFFERENT.

STRIVE FOR ETHICAL AND MORAL PURITY IN YOUR LIFE.

THE APOSTLE PETER SAID:

. . . MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ADD TO YOUR FAITH GOODNESS; AND TO GOODNESS, KNOWLEDGE;

AND TO KNOWLEDGE, SELF-CONTROL;

AND TO SELF-CONTROL, PERSEVERANCE;

AND TO PERSEVERANCE, GODLINESS;

AND TO GODLINESS, BROTHERLY KINDNESS;

AND TO BROTHERLY KINDNESS, LOVE.

FOR IF YOU POSSESS THESE QUALITIES IN INCREASING MEASURE,

THEY WILL KEEP YOU FROM BEING INEFFECTIVE AND UNPRODUCTIVE IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

BUT IF ANYONE DOES NOT HAVE THEM, HE IS NEARSIGHTED AND BLIND,

AND HAS FORGOTTEN THAT HE HAS BEEN CLEANSED
FROM HIS PAST SINS. -2 PETER 1:5-9

OFTEN, THE CHURCH OF TODAY TENDS TO COMPLIMENT THE BEHAVIOR OF THE WORLD

RATHER THAN CONTRAST IT.

UNLIKE MANY OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES,

DANIEL CHOSE CHARACTER OVER COMFORT.

HE HAD THE COURAGE TO BE DIFFERENT.


 

DECISION TWO;

DANIEL EXCELLED BECAUSE HE CHOSE DISCIPLINE OVER DISORDER.

AMONG OTHER THINGS, DANIEL HAD A DISCIPLINED PRAYER LIFE.

IN VERSE 10 WE READ:


THREE TIMES A DAY HE GOT DOWN ON HIS KNEES AND PRAYED, GIVING THANKS TO HIS GOD.

RESEARCHERS HAVE FOUND THAT THE REASON WHY SOME PEOPLE SUCCEED WHILE OTHERS FAIL

HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH THEIR ABILITIES.

MOST OF OUR FAILURES CAN BE TRACED TO AN ABSENCE OF DISCIPLINE.

I DON'T BELIEVE THE PITTSBURG STEELERS WOULD HAVE WON THE SUPER BOWL IF THE INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS WERE NOT DISCIPLINED IN THEIR PRACTICE SESSIONS.

IT TAKES DISCIPLINE IN ORDER TO EXCEL.

YOU CAN'T SOW WILD OATS AND THEN PRAY FOR A CROP FAILURE.  IT USUALLY DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY.

HERE ARE SOME AREAS WHERE MOST OF US NEED GREATER DISCIPLINE.

FIRST, WE NEED TO CONTROL OUR TONGUE.

MORE PEOPLE ARE RUN DOWN BY GOSSIP THAN AUTOMOBILES.

ALTHOUGH MANY WOULD CONSIDER GOSSIP A SMALLER SIN THAN MURDER, GOSSIP CAN KILL TOO.

GOSSIP CAN KILL A FRIENDSHIP,

IT CAN DISRUPT A FAMILY, DIVIDE A CHURCH, AND ASSASSINATE A PERSON'S CHARACTER.

SOMEONE ONCE SAID:
GREAT MINDS DISCUSS IDEAS,

AVERAGE MINDS DISCUSS EVENTS,

SMALL MINDS DISCUSS PEOPLE.

WE MUST ALL LEARN TO DISCIPLINE OUR TONGUE.

SECOND, WE NEED MORE DISCIPLINE IN OUR DEVOTIONAL LIFE.

DO WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE ABSENCE OF PRAYER IN OUR SCHOOL

WHEN THERE IS AN ABSENCE OF PRAYER IN OUR HOME?

SHOULD WE DEFEND THE BIBLE IN PUBLIC YET DENY IT IN THE PRIVACY OF OUR OWN LIVES?

DO WE HAVE A RIGHT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE MORAL DECAY OF AMERICA IF WE FAIL TO PRAY FOR OUR NATION?

DANIEL GOT DOWN ON HIS KNEES AND INTERCEDED BEFORE GOD THREE TIMES EVERY DAY.

DANIEL WASN’T A PREACHER.

DANIEL WASN’T ON THE CHURCHS PAID STAFF.

DANIEL WAS PART OF THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF BABYLON.

AND YET HE PRAYED THREE TIMES EVERY  DAY.

I WISH MORE OF OUR POLITICIANS IN AMERICA WOULD PRAY THREE TIMES A DAY.



THIRD, WE NEED A MORE DISCIPLINED CHURCH LIFE.

IN OVER SIXTY YEARS OF SERVING THE LORD, I HAVE LEARNED HOW IMPORTANT THE CHURCH  IS TO MY SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND STABILITY.

IN FACT, I HAVE LEARNED THAT I NEED THE CHURCH

MORE THAN THE CHURCH NEEDS ME.

I NEED TO BE IN AN ATMOSPHERE WHERE MY PERCEPTIONS OF LIFE CAN BE CHALLENGED.

I NEED TO BE IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT OFFERS ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN AND UTILIZE MY SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

I NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN A CHURCH WHERE I AM HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY ACTIONS ... A PLACE WHERE I CAN RECEIVE GODLY WISDOM.

I ALSO NEED TO BE IN FELLOWSHIP WITH PEOPLE WHO HOLD TO THE SAME VALUES THAT I EMBRACE.

I NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN A CHURCH WHERE I CAN BE ENCOURAGED WHEN I FEEL LIKE GIVING UP ... A PLACE WHERE OTHERS WILL PRAY FOR ME WHEN I'M TOO DISCOURAGED TO PRAY FOR MYSELF.

I KNOW THAT CHURCHS AREN'T PERFECT.

BUT CHURCH CONTINUES TO PLAY A POSITIVE ROLE IN MY LIFE

AND IN YOURS. 

ALL THE CRITICISM ABOUT THE CHURCH WILL NOT UNDO ITS POSITIVE INFLUENCE IN BUILDING THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

SO LET’S WORK ON DEVELOPING A DISCIPLINED PATTERN OF CHURCH ATTENDANCE.

DANIEL EXCELLED BECAUSE HE CHOSE DISCIPLINE OVER DISORDER


DECISION THREE;

DANIEL EXCELLED BECAUSE

HE CHOSE GOD OVER CIRCUMSTANCES.

A NEW LAW HAD BEEN ISSUED. NO ONE WAS PERMITTED TO PRAY FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS AND ANYONE CAUGHT DOING SO WOULD BE FED TO THE LIONS.

THIS LAW WAS REALLY NOTHING MORE THAN A SMOKE SCREEN THAT SOME PEOPLE WERE USING TO GET DANIEL INTO TROUBLE BECAUSE

THEY KNEW DANIEL WOULD NEVER STOP PRAYING.

WELL, IT WASN'T VERY LONG BEFORE DANIEL HEARD ABOUT THE NEW LAW.

VERSE 10 STATES: … WHEN DANIEL LEARNED THAT THE DECREE HAD BEEN PUBLISHED,

 

HE WENT HOME TO HIS UPSTAIRS ROOM WHERE THE WINDOWS OPENED TOWARD JERUSALEM.

 

HE GOT DOWN ON HIS KNEES AND PRAYED, THREE TIMES A DAY.
HE GIVE THANKS TO GOD, JUST LIKE HE'D BEEN DOING ALL ALONG
-DANIEL 6:10


I DON’T THINK DANIEL REALLY WANTED TO BECOME MAIN COURSE, AT THE LION'S CLUB.

BUT DANIEL HAD A DECISION TO MAKE

HE CHOSE GOD OVER CIRCUMSTANCES.

DANIEL'S FIRST ALLEGIANCE WAS TO GOD.

IS YOUR LOVE FOR CHRIST MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR AMBITIONS?

IS GOD MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU THAN THE ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR PEERS?

IS CHRIST MORE WORTHY THAN THE PURSUIT OF POWER OR POSSESSIONS?

THERE’S A CHORUS THAT SAYS:

LORD, YOU-ARE MORE PRECIOUS THAN SILVER.
LORD, YOU-ARE MORE COSTLY THAN GOLD.
LORD, YOU-ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN DIAMONDS.
AND NOTHING I DESIRE COMPARES WITH YOU.

IS THAT WHERE YOUR HEART IS THIS MORNING?

WHEN FACED WITH AN OPTION,

DANIEL CHOSE GOD OVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF LIFE.

WHAT IS IT COSTING YOU TO BE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST?

COULD IT BE THAT OUR CHRISTIANITY HAS BECOME

A RELIGION OF CONVENIENCE.

HAVE WE REPLACED SELF-DENIAL WITH SELF-SERVICE?

DANIEL WAS DETERMINED TO SERVE GOD REGARDLESS OF THE COST.

WHEN THE TIME CAME TO THROW  DANIEL INTO THE LIONS DEN…HE WAS READY TO DIE.

 

DANIEL WAS READY TO DIE RATHER THAN

TURN HIS BACK ON GOD.

AND YOU KNOW WHAT  //  JESUS WAS READY TO DIE

RATHER THAN TURN HIS BACK ON US.

IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THE KING WAS BOUND BY THE LAW OF THE MEDES AND THE PRESIANS.

BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT HE REALLY WAS.

HE HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO PUT DANIEL INTO THE LIONS DEN ALONG WITH THE LIONS. 

AND THEN THE KING SPENT AN AGONIZING NIGHT HOPING BEYOND HOPE THAT DANIEL'S GOD COULD SAVE HIM.

SOMETIMES WE SPEND LONG NIGHTS AGONIZING OVER THE SITUATION.

IF WE'RE GOING TO AGONIZE WE MIGHT AS WELL AGONIZE IN PRAYER, ASKING GOD TO TAKE CONTROL.

THEN CAME THE MORNING.

Daniel 6:19-23

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.




 

WE’RE NOT ALWAYS ISOLATED FROM PAINFUL EXPERIENCES.

THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN YOU AND I WILL NOT ESCAPE THE TRIBULATIONS OF LIFE.

BUT IF WE CONTINUE TO TRUST IN THE LORD,

HE’LL BRING US THROUGH THESE EXPERIENCES UNHARMED

I LIKE THE WAY DAVID SAID IT:

PSALM 32:7
YOU ARE MY HIDING PLACE;

YOU WILL PROTECT ME FROM TROUBLE AND SURROUND ME WITH SONGS OF DELIVERANCE. -

HOW CAN WE BREAK THE MOLD OF MEDIOCRE LIVING?

THE SAME WAY DANIEL BROKE THE MOLD:
· CHOOSE CHARACTER OVER COMFORT
· CHOOSE DISCIPLINE OVER DISORDER
· CHOOSE GOD OVER LIFE’S CIRCUMSTANCES

I.                  Some people won’t like you because you’re in their way.

II.               Some people won’t like you because good job you're doing makes them look bad.

III.           Some people will never like you.

IV.           When the odds are stacked against us by evil men, we still have God on our side.  And my God is able to meet all my needs.

V.              It wasn’t a good idea for Daniel’s enemies to upset the king.

VI.           Even if we die, we win.


----

a  Or Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus

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