Daniel: a story of promotion and persecution

Part 5

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Silent Lions

(For Daniel)

The king did not sleep at all that night.  Meanwhile in the lion’s den…

I could well imagine that there were a lot of snores that were coming from a corner of the den.  Of course, you do know that this would have been the corner where Daniel was.  Continue to imagine with me.  If we were to take a walk around the den, there was probably a poster that said, “HERE BE LIONS”.  In the other corner, a group of lions would be resting together. After all, they couldn’t do anything else at the moment because they are forbidden to eat him.

Back here in the real world, we can acknowledge that there was a reason that Daniel was able to rest comfortably.  There was Daniel’s trust in God but what could prevent a pride of lions not to eat a man when they had been starved for a while?

The next morning, filled with anxiety and hope the King called down into the den, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?” (Dan 6:20, MSG)  What a question! What a night!  Imagine his relief and joy I’m sure when he heard the echo of an answer back from the den. “O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you” (Dan 6:21-22, MSG)

Daniel did not need to worry about how many lions were in the den or if they were going to eat him.  His confidence was in the Lord Jesus Christ and what he could do. 

Key Thoughts

Today, be confident in the fact that you and I have a God who is invested in the battles that we face in this life.  He is always ready to fight on our behalf. “Strap Your sword on Your thigh, O mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty! And in Your majesty ride on triumphantly for the cause of truth and humility and righteousness; let Your right hand guide You to awesome things.(Psalm 45:3-4, AMP) 

God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths.  The book of Revelation records the fact that Jesus Christ is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Rev 5, KJV)  Those lions had to submit to a Lion who had the ultimate authority than they did because he was their Creator.

The enemy is not in charge of your life.  Once you asked Jesus Christ to come into your life and be Lord, then God is, by virtue of the Blood of Jesus.  Jeremiah tells us that God knows the plans that he has for us.  They are not just any old plans.  They are good plans for you.  God wants to assure you that you have a bright future. (Jer 29:11, NIV)  Declare over your life today that God has good plans for you.  Declare also, that no matter what report the enemy has tried to declare over your life that you shall not die but you will live to declare the works of the Lord. (Psalm 118:17, KJV)  Remember that God has a plan and a purpose for your life and you have been commissioned to be alive in this time to carry out that plan.

Daniel: a story of promotion and persecution

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Part 4

The Longest Night Ever

(For the King)

It was a mystery that could not be solved. “How could I have allowed myself to be duped like this?” the king muttered to himself.  He threw another scroll aside and one of the servants sighed as it fell on the floor where the hundred or so legal scrolls were scattered.

This scenario is one that I imagined may have happened to Darius, King of Babylon as he pondered what to do about the situation that he had found himself in.  After he spent a whole day trying to figure out how to get Daniel out of the predicament that he had put him in, he gave up because there was nothing humanly possible that could be done about it.

After a while, he could no longer delay the judgement and of course, the ones who wanted Daniel out of the way were quite happy to remind him that he was the king, the law was signed and nothing can be done about. But then the conspirators were back: “Remember, O king, it’s the law of the Medes and Persians that the king’s decree can never be changed.” (Dan 6:15 MSG) Unfortunately, they did not know that there was a God who did not have to try and remove messages in stone but sends angels instead to remove stones and sit on them.

Daniel knew that the decision had been made and nothing could be done about it.  He also knew that the King had his best interests at heart.  The king said to him, just before he was thrown in the lion’s den, “Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this.” (Dan 6:16) At least one can say that Daniel’s commitment to God was such that the King had a sliver of hope that he would be delivered.

However, for the king, it was the longest night that he had ever experienced. He refused to eat and fasted for the whole night. I’m sure that he could not wait for the morning to come.

Key Thoughts

Daniel expressed certainty of faith and trust in God that could only come from a deep experiential relationship with God.  Today we may not be thrown into a den of lions for our faith but when life gets difficult how do we respond?

Do we act like Daniel, with complete faith and trust or do we react like the King?  He paced the floor all night and worried himself about the fate of Daniel.  In these uncertain times, the immediate human, visceral reaction is fear.  Today however this is just a reminder that God has not given us a spirit of fear but power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7 KJV) The situation always seems worse than it is in the night hours. However, worrying about a situation never solved it, so cast your cares on the Lord today because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7, KJV)

Be encouraged by this song from the Band Jars of Clay.

Daniel: a story of promotion and persecution

Part 3

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Daniel 6:4-14

The Plan and the Decree

The conspirators needed to get rid of Daniel in short order.  They decided that there must be something in his life that they could blackmail him with.  However, there was nothing to find because he could not be bribed, and he could not be bought.  He always insisted on doing things God’s way.  (vs 4-5)

This frustrated them to no end because they could not believe that there were no dark secrets that were present in his life that they could use. They then decided that they would use his Christian life and beliefs to trap him.

The plotters conceived a plan that would ultimately trap Daniel, however, the King did not seem to realise this.  The idea that was conceived appealed to the King’s pride.  After all who wouldn’t want the whole world to worship him? (vs 6-9)

It was only when the conspirators came to complain about Daniel that he realised just what he had signed to.  It seems as if he had not even realised the significance of the document that he had signed. (vs 14)  However the law was written specifically to target Daniel’s relationship with God and the obvious open practice of his Christian life.

The good news was that Daniel kept on praying even when he discovered that the decree had been signed into law and posted.  He trusted that God would either deliver or take him home.  I would like to believe that he wanted to go out as he had lived, committed to his God, regardless of the outcome.

Key thoughts:

Our lives are the only bible that unbelievers read, so let’s ask the Lord to help us to walk it out reflecting Jesus every day.  The enemy will always try to find a way to attack your Christian walk. We can however, be comforted by the fact that as we dwell in the secret place, we are covered under the protective wings of our wonderful Abba.  We can be secure in the knowledge that he will always defend his children.

There are times when the enemy – Satan or the Accuser of the Brethren – cannot find anything to accuse the believer of and instead they try to find ways to place stumbling blocks in his/her way. In this time Governments will try to put laws in place to hinder the work of the Church, but they will not work. God’s law will always rule in the Kingdom of men.

These are the days that our core beliefs as children of God.  We must decide where we will stand.  Will we be like the three Hebrew boys or will we cave in, to the pressure of society?  Today, we have a difficulty question to answer, how do we react when faced with pressure or persecution? 

I  pray that we will be able to search ourselves and give a truthful answer to the question.

Daniel: a story of promotion and persecution

Part 2

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Daniel 6

New Government and a Promotion

A new King, Darius of the Medes was in power. This is after Daniel had prophesied the downfall of Babylon.  He thought some re-organization of the Kingdom was in order and decided that He wanted one hundred and twenty Governors to rule over his provinces and then placed three Governors for them to report to.  These three Governors then reported to the King.

Daniel did his job so well, that the King decided to place him over the whole kingdom of Babylon.  The King realised that he did not lose anything when Daniel was in charge.  So, he was able to leave the running of the Kingdom up to him.  He was now the Prime Minister in the kingdom, and everyone had to report to him.  However, not everyone was pleased with this and some persons decided that they had to get rid of him come hell or high water. 

However, they needed a plan.

Key thoughts:

Daniel was made Prime Minister because he put God first, operated in wisdom and had an excellent work ethic.  No matter where we are placed, we must ask God for his Grace and wisdom to function and cultivate an excellent spirit.  However, it is important to note that his spiritual gifts made room for him.

These are the days when God is re-establishing the spiritual gifts and taking them not just outside the Church, in the marketplace, but in the realm of Governments so that the Church will be positioned to shift nations and cultures.  The whole of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the children of God to be revealed. (Rom 8:19)  This is not a time to fear, but a time to move forward with courage into the regions and places where God would have us to go, because His light is needed there.

We are not always looking for a promotion, but he does it anyway because we are operating in a manner that pleases him. In the Psalms it says clearly that promotion does not come from the east, west or south, but it comes from God who puts up men and takes them down.  (Psalms 75:6-7) Daniel recognised this earlier in his career with King Nebuchadnezzar.  (Daniel 2:21-22) He was a Jew in the Kingdom of Babylon who had been promoted over all the other men who were there.  Perhaps they thought he did not deserve it.  But unfortunately, not everyone will be happy when you are promoted.  When we are being outwardly blessed, expect persecution. (Mark 10:30) Sometimes it comes from those areas or even persons that you would not expect.  We are required to rejoice when we are persecuted.


Daniel: a story of promotion and persecution

Part 1

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Trials often precede Promotion (Daniel 1-5)

Daniel had survived being taken from his homeland Israel and moving to Babylon. The Head of the Eunuchs was in charge of all of the captives that had come from Israel. However, these were no ordinary captives.  They were from the Royal Family and others of the Nobility in Israel. Nebuchadnezzar was looking for the cream of the crop to fill the posts in Babylon. I am sure that Daniel experienced some culture and even religious shock, but he had purposed his heart not to eat the food from the King’s table.  (Dan 1:8)

He decided to eat the way that His God commanded, vegetables and water. Not my kind of food mind you, but, very healthy nonetheless. At the end of three years, Daniel and his friends surpassed the other Israelites that had been brought to Babylon and they were promoted to some of the highest posts in the Kingdom. (Dan 1:18-20)

As his story continues he was threatened with death because no one knew the answer to Nebuchanezzar’s dream of the statue but with God’s help, he survived by interpreting the dream and was promoted. (Dan 2:13-48)

The new King Beltshazzar was doing things his own way, when God interrupted the party and started writing on the wall and the Queen remembered that Daniel was a dream interpreter and he interprets the dream and was promoted. (Dan 5)

You would have thought by now that surely Daniel had suffered enough.  Surely it was time to sit at ease and relax, he had had enough, but he was to go through his greatest trial yet.

Key thought: Believers often go through seasons of trials.  The trials come to test our faith and develop character.  Some of those times are not our best moments because we get frustrated, vexed, troubled, worried and impatient while wondering how long this will take.  However, we must always remember that during those times we are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who constantly gives us the wisdom to make the right decisions during those times. 

The Journey Begins

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Life is indeed a journey. 

A journey of faith, love, hope and Grace. 

We have a comfort in knowing that Jesus holds our hands and never lets go.  When we feel that we are pressed out and all alone, sometimes, I feel that this is when we let go of His hand or we try and rely on our own strength.

I pray that you will be inspired as we journey on this Walk of Faith together.  No one starting out with the Lord ever expects to face the many trials, sufferings and dark places that you do.  However the comfort that we have, is that he is there with us, every step of the way. Just as He shares in our troubles, He also shares in our triumphs.

Recently I have been stirred again in my spirit to look at Psalm 23.  Here the earthly shepherd (David) looks around while camping out with his own sheep and begins to muse on the goodness of our heavenly Shepherd.  He was probably just thinking that day of his duties and what he had to do in order to lead and protect his own flock.  Suddenly, the boundless revelation of the Holy Spirit begins to flow through him, and out pours this Psalm. The scripture, in verse 1, declares through the voice of David that,

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want!” (Emphasis is mine)

So we have our first question, “who is the Lord to you?”  Have you claimed him as your Shepherd? Having a shepherd over you speaks of leadership.  He goes forward and finds the best places for the sheep to graze. When the sheep have to walk through particularly difficult paths, they have no fear because they are following their Shepherd.  Then he (David) says firmly, “I shall not want.”  He had discovered the goodness of his heavenly Shepherd.

Today, as you read this particular word, what are you lacking? Have you gone to your Shepherd today to ask him to lead you in the place of plenty?  Sometimes what we need is right in front of us but we can’t see. It is at these times that we should ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see. Ask him to open your eyes to see the provision that is in front of you and me.  

In the presence of your Shepherd, you and I should be comforted by the fact that we do not need to worry, but, in fact, that is exactly what we do.  We worry about how the loan is going to be paid, we worry about how we will buy the next set of groceries. What about the school fees for your children? Will God really come through for me?  When we worry we invalidate the ability of the Shepherd to prove himself in our lives.  We begin to limit his power because we have allowed worry to enter.

Today my encouragement to you is, allow the power of the Shepherd of your soul to be released today and see worry walk out the door. Allow God to flex his muscles and work his goodness in your life  so that you can boldly say, “Lord you are my Shepherd and I SHALL NOT want!!