Thrown to the Lions
Father, help me to long for You, not just long for what You can do for me.
Read Daniel 6:1-28
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life…will be able to separate us from the love of God…in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38,39). What an incredible promise!
The seventeenth-century Royal Enclosure in Gondor, Ethiopia, has some spectacular castle-palaces and empty lion dens where kings kept black Abyssinian lions. Being inside the dens was a dark and scary experience, even without the lions!
Daniel had a long, outstanding administrative career in the royal courts under successive rulers of the Babylonian, Median and Persian Empires. His trust in the God of Israel never diminished. He was faithful to the covenant law and known as a man of blameless character. This, however, did not protect him from opposition and jealousy from his peers. When their hostility threatened his life, his faith did not waver and he continued to pray in spite of the consequences. The threat of being thrown to the lions would deter many, but Daniel trusted God, whatever the outcome.
Some Christians may compromise their faith in times of persecution or physical danger, but Daniel’s example encourages us to stay firm. We live in a world in which we suffer the consequences of our own or others’ sin. This is the environment in which God, in his wisdom, has chosen for us to be conformed to the likeness of his Son (Rom. 8:29). Jesus suffered opposition and all the powers of evil. He remained blameless and “for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). God works his purposes out in ways we could never imagine. Our call is to persevere, remain faithful and show the blameless character of Jesus to those watching. When we face dark and scary experiences we can know without a doubt that God is with us. Sometimes he shuts the lions’ mouths. At other times he gives grace and strength for us to face our “lions” and say, with the psalmist, “I will fear no evil, for You are with me” (Psa. 23:4).
Pray for greater trust in God’s all-sufficient grace and for perseverance and integrity of character in all circumstances.
I pray, Lord, that whether you deliver me from difficult circumstances or sustain me in them, I will always seek to give You all the glory.
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