I may get myself in trouble, but if there is one thing mom loves to do is play the same song over and over and over again. Always on the same songs to the point that the rest of the house hold has them memorized and roll our eyes every time she does it.
There are some who say that history, like mom’s songs, repeats itself. The main example to support this argument Goes like this Napoleon, after conquering much of Europe put his eyes on Russia. The major flaw in said plan, timing. He set off for Russia as winter was coming. Anyone who knows geography knows that Russia is colder than the rest of Europe. The Russians had the advantage and many of the casualties were not due to actual fighting but to the cold. Napoleon suffered more of those casualties than the Russians. Years later Hitler had the same ambition to take Russia. Ironically he didn’t pay attention to history, He started off on foot for Russia at the end of the summer with winter quickly approaching. Needless to say he had very similar results.
Now you may be wondering how Daniel and the Lions Den is a repetition of the past.To make the connection, lets dive into Daniel’s background.
When Babylon took over Jerusalem for the first time, they did three things. One, they set Zedekiah as “ruler” of the region. Second, took some of the treasure from the Temple to take back to Babylon as loot and finally they took young men of the royal family and of several of the Noble families back to Babylon, to be trained in the language and culture of Babylon and eventually enter into the service of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was the young men. Daniel would never return to Jerusalem that we know of, but would hear of Jerusalem’s destruction after Zedekiah’s betrayal. Through out his life Daniel became known as a man of God among the people of Babylon and for the gifts of prophecy and interpretation that God would bestow upon him. Daniel would serve under Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, see the end of the Babylonian Empire, and would serve under the Darius and Cyrus of the newly expanded Persian Empire.
Because of his reputation, he becomes the newest member of the my enemies want to kill me club, he just doesn’t know it yet. Daniel’s enemies play off Darius and get him to declare the decree that everyone must worship him for the next 30 days. In the Persian Empire once something has been signed into law, no one, not even the king can change it, unlike other empires where the king could make exceptions whenever he wanted to. This catch also comes into effect in Esther.
Daniel by this point is around the age of 80. He wasn’t going to change the way he lived, just because the law said he had to. In fact he may have suspected that this was coming. He had seen something similar happen with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, under Nebuchadnezzar’s rule and knew the results of continued trust in God.
We all know that the story ends with Darius running to the den the next morning and finding Daniel still alive has him brought out and the people who made the law and their families get thrown in, but notice what Darius writes afterward starting 6:25
25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and people of every language in all the earth:
“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 Cyrus the Persian.
Compare this to what Nebuchadnezzar said in chapter 3:28 after seeing four people in the furnace and the three who had been thrown in come out without a scratch on them.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
In both circumstances, God uses situations that to an outsider looking in, appear to be certain death to do wonders and glorify His name.
In both circumstances, the reputation of Daniel and the other three were further built and were used to bring the light of God into situations and places where He previously did not exist.The furnace was God’s way to get to Nebuchadnezzar. The writing on the wall to Belshazzar. and the Lion’s den to Darius. Each time to show the power of the Hebrew God to those who governed over them.
The largest example of this comes from the Roman Empire. God sent a man into the world that would split the Bible and history in two. He was convicted to death though he was innocent. Was laid to rest in a cave and three days later he rose from the dead. His followers took his word throughout the world. Everyone tried to stop the spread of the man’s teachings, but the news spread like wildfire. That man’s name was Jesus and he is still changing lives today.
God still uses people today in all walks of life each with different experience to reach a different part of the darkness. Now some of you are thinking that How can I be used? Or maybe you have a situation that you don’t see how God could ever turn that for good. I invite you to come to the altar, give that situation to God, Leave it here and watch what God will do.
Still there are others who will agree with me until Christ comes back about how God is using you to impact others. To you I invite you, as we sing our closing song, to come and Praise God for what he is doing in your life. This altar is not just for concerns but for praises as well.
Daniel remained faithful even in the midst of death. Let us be reminded to seek out God and how he would continue to use us for his will. Amen
***** This was a sermon from Sunday, June 7, 2015 at Mt Pleasant UBC in Angola, IN the scripture is below.
If you have a bible, turn with me to Daniel chapter 6 starting in verse 3.
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 these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May 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 human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law 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 human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law 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, Your Majesty, 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 King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, 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.
Father God, Let these be your words not mine as I bring this message before your people In your name I pray. Amen.