"May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"
Veterans have done brave things. If you know one personally, then you definitely know this to be true.
They have fought for justice and for freedom. They have seen what you and I will probably never see. And they deserve to be honored and remembered on this day for their service to something greater than themselves.
Another brave person, and in my opinion one of the bravest people in the Bible, was Daniel—for obvious reasons (lions!). He served someone greater than himself and risked his life to that end.
Sometime after 539 B.C., by the time Darius the Mede conquered Babylon, Daniel had already risen to a position of importance in the Babylonian Kingdom. Darius recognized Daniel's worth and elevated him even higher to rule the leaders of the 120 provinces of the kingdom.
But Daniel's colleagues became jealous of him and his exceptional abilities, and so they devised a plan to get rid of the upstanding nobleman. In Daniel 6:6, we read …
"O King Darius, live forever! 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. 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put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed."
And so after apparently not a whole lot of thought about the matter nor its consequences, Darius made it so. When Daniel heard about it, he immediately stopped praying publicly to God and kept his worship to himself so as not to offend anyone else and in order to save his life.
No! Of course that's not what happened. But it's what I imagine for myself, should this type of incident happen in our society today. Really, I have thought about it. What would I do if it became law that I could not pray in public or worship a triune God or speak freely about my faith and trust in a living Savior? Would I be afraid? Would I fear for my safety and my future? Would I be silenced?
I'd like to think I'd have enough courage and bravery to do as Daniel did. Because he did absolutely nothing. Nothing, in terms of changing how he was living out his faith.
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 (Daniel 6:10).
At that point, you know that Daniel knew it was just a matter of time before he was going to be thrown into the lions' den. But there he was, praying in the face of his enemies. Unshaken. Unmoved. Unafraid.
You know the rest of the story (see Daniel 6:11). What resulted was God's miraculous protection and deliverance of Daniel, despite being closed up in a den with some hungry lions. And because of that display of faith and God's power, the king ordered Daniel lifted out of the den, had the accusers and conspirators and their families thrown in the den, and then decreed that everyone in his kingdom should fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
Who knows how many lives were affected by Daniel's act of bravery? Could you do what he did? Will you?
May we all take a lesson from Daniel today and see our faith stretched and strengthened as we strive to do brave things.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
You may not be faced with being thrown in a lions' den today, but what is your equivalent? Is it having an in-depth, "uh oh, we might disagree" conversation with someone who believes differently than you? Or could it be picking up the phone to call someone to apologize and right a past wrong? What about choosing not to participate in gossip or coarse joking? Could you walk away from that, even if it means you might lose face or friends? Determine to step out in faith and be brave this week. God will meet you there!
**Listen to the audio/podcast version of this devotional here.