Face your enemies the way Daniel did...
- 2003 9 Jan
If you're an outspoken Christian, maybe you'll be in the same situation as Daniel-the main course of a meal celebrating your own demise! The lions Daniel faced are perfect pictures of people who'd like nothing better than to consume you by criticism or harassment. How do you keep from being eaten alive by them?
Daniel for Dinner
Daniel was 80 when the Babylonian Empire collapsed and Darius, the new Persian king, considered making him Prime Minister. That's when his enemies decided to teach him a lesson by arranging to pass a law forbidding prayer to any god except Darius.
Daniel 6:10 says, Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he...What? Compromised? Complained? Plotted? Got even? Read a book on taming lions? He...went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open...he knelt down...three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Turning Down the Invitation to Dinner
Daniel refused to be consumed by others. How can we follow his example?
First, expect to find your name on Satan's menu. The nature of our Christian faith makes us a tempting snack. As he fled King Saul, young David cried, "My soul is among lions" (Psalm 57:4).
Second, be tough. Not even lions like a meal that's mostly sinew and backbone. "I will make you as...tough as they are. I will make you as...hard as a diamond; don't be afraid" (Ezekiel 3:8, GNB).
Why wasn't Daniel afraid in the lions' den? A child answered, "Because one of the lions was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and He was there with him." God has not promised to keep us from difficulty, but to be with us in the midst of it.
When John Chrysostom was exiled by Queen Eudoxia, he said: "The earth is the Lord's...If she wants me to be drowned...I think of Jonah...If I'm to be thrown into the fire, the three men in the furnace suffered the same. If cast before wild beasts, I remember Daniel in the lion's den...'If I still pleased men, I would not be the servant of Christ.'"
Third, remember that not even lions like meat that is too salty. When Jesus called us the salt of the earth, He was referring to our witness, influence, testimony. Satan hates it when his den becomes our pulpit.
By the end of Daniel's detention in the den, Darius commanded his subjects to "tremble and fear before the God of Daniel...the living God...steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which...shall endure to the end"(Daniel 6:26).
When God asks one of His servants to endure difficulty, He intends it for His glory and our ultimate good.
Turning the Restaurant into a Spiritual Retreat
When dinner is served in the den, and you're on the menu, remember Daniel and imitate his example. He didn't try to fight back, change his convictions, or close the lions' mouths himself. Daniel knew when he lived on his knees, he could rest in faith.
Seeing a painting of Daniel in the lions' den, Dr. C. I. Scofield testified: "As I stood there, great hope flooded my heart. Only a few days had passed since I, a drunken lawyer, had been converted...I thought...there are lions all about me too, such as my old habits and sins. But the One who shut the lions' mouths for Daniel can also shut them for me."
Trust God. Be realistic, be tough, be salty, and let God turn your lions' den into "dinner for two" - you and the One who has promised to be with you wherever you are.
Neither the devil, nor the lions, know what to do with people who refuse to be consumed by their culture or their enemies.