Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Daniel, some lions and God

I was reading in Daniel 6 this morning, the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den. Quite amazing. God protecting Daniel in the lion's den, binding their mouths and keeping the lions calm while Daniel, a tasty meal for such the beasts, was safe. You can tell the power of God for when those accusers of Daniel at put into the den, the lions immediately devoured them. "...broke all their bones" is what in recorded in Daniel 6.

As I was reading, I thought of several things. Perhaps they will all show up here. The first thing that I thought about is how we act day after day. The enemies of Daniel, jealous as they were that he was doing so well in the kingdom that he was going to be elevated to position 2 in the kingdom, sought out something by which they could condemn Daniel. They pulled up his search history on his computer and found nothing. They checked all his texts and there was nothing. (All right, that is a little overboard.) The point is, they found nothing. He lived his life of faith each day. He did his best as a child of God to live the life that he was to live.

What about you and me? Can the same be said of us? If someone was to search us, what would they find? The fear and love of God or the fear and love of the world? When we are watched day after day, when people pour over our lives, what would they find? I am sure they would find all my sins. They would find the ways I have done wrong throughout the years. They would also find that I am forgiven. That I do try to follow the way of the Lord. Perfect? Nope. Forgiven? Yep. Living as a Christian, letting the light of Christ shine in my life and words? Yep. Understand, I am not saying that I am a perfect, sinless person. None of us are. But I do follow the Law of God. The Law as a guide is important to me. Not for my salvation but because I am saved. That is the way it was for Daniel. He wasn't perfect, but the sins he was doing were not such that they could accuse him of wrongdoing. May that be said of each of us.

Another thought I had (there were many,perhaps another day) is that even after he heard of the decree by King Darius, he continued to worship God just as he had before. Did Daniel know what could happen? Yes. Did he hide his faith our of fear for his life? No. Wow! Think that through. What would you do in that situation? Perhaps close the curtains, shut the doors and go to the basement where no one would see you worship God? Would you avoid the house of God in order to live like the rest of the world? (I fear that many people already avoid the house of God because of the pressure of other things in their lives. But this too is for another time.)

I think about this as I approach this weekend's sermon from the gospel of Luke. Would you take up your cross to follow Jesus? Would you give up everything for Him? Following Jesus is neither cheap or easy. There is no "cheap grace" as Dietrich Bonhoeffer would write. To follow Christ costs you everything. More on that Sunday.

Daniel - the lion's den - worshiping God - facing death. Those are all powerful images today in Daniel 6. Take a few moments to read that chapter again, not to see how amazing it is that Daniel survived, but to see how amazing it is to live in faith in Christ each day. Lesson taught. Lesson learned? Lord, I am still learning. Continue to teach me.

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