Preaching Articles

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!”
Daniel 6:16

Daniel is one of the most courageous and faithful men in the entire Bible. But not for the reasons we usually think.

For example, when telling the story of Daniel and the lions’ den, most people usually focus on Daniel’s courage in the lions’ den itself. But what’s curiously missing from the whole story is any description of Daniel’s experience in it. Not one word.

One hundred and fifty-three verses on his life before the lions’ den. Aside from when he tells the king that God had shut the mouths of the lions, zero describing his time in it.

And the reason is because Daniel’s courage and faith in the lions’ den isn’t the point. After all, shutting the mouths of the lions was God’s thing. Once Daniel gets thrown in the lions’ den, what is he really going to do?

Daniel’s courage and faithfulness was shown in the way he lived that got him thrown into the lions’ den. The real miracle was when his enemies were looking for a way to accuse him but they couldn’t find anything in his life. So they had to make up a law forbidding prayer to anyone but the king to get him thrown in. And yet he still prayed. That’s real courage. That’s real faith. And it was that courage and faith that became the setup for God’s display of faithfulness.

I think most people want a lions’ den experience. Maybe not the danger, but they do want to see God do huge things in their life. Come through for them in big ways. Decisively display His deliverance. Show people that our God is still a God who can accomplish the impossible.

But most people will never have the opportunity to prove God’s faithfulness in the lions’ den because they have not proved their faith in everyday life.

They’re not going to see God come through for them in a huge way financially because they haven’t learned to trust Him with 10% of what they have.
They’re not going to see increased favor at work because they segregate God from their work.
They’re not going to see God use them in powerful ways at their school because they live in such a way that no one knows they even believe in God.

Don’t try to be like Daniel in the lions’ den. Be like Daniel who prayed every day and had integrity. Be like Daniel and serve God continually in every aspect of your life. Have the courage and faith to live in such a way that God actually has a platform to show His faithfulness from.

And then God will do His thing in the lions’ den.

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. The church has been listed by Outreach Magazine as one of the fastest growing and largest churches in America. 

Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the ChatterboxGreater, and Sun Stand Still.

Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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John E Miller

commented on Jan 20, 2012

That's good. Daniel refused to take on the ways of Babylon. He stood for God's truth and God's law and eventually HE influenced Babylon rather than it influencing him. Do we individually take such an uncompromising stance? Do we in our churches take such an uncompromising stance. Daniel's heart was right with God.

Keith B

commented on Jan 20, 2012

So Daniel earned the right to be tested in the lion's den because he was faithful? Furtick almost gets it...but in the last paragraph he blows it. He states that if we're faithful, God will "do his thing". Maybe God won't...maybe God will let you get eaten by lions. Maybe he will glorify himself through your suffering.

John E Miller

commented on Jan 20, 2012

KB you are right and all the martyrs from Stephen to this day are the proof of it. I dislike the phrase "God will do His thing". We must speak about the Eternal God only in the most reverent way. The point I was trying to make was that there is a big question as to the influence the world is having on the church. This applies particularly to the churches in the western world that have adopted liberal theology.

David Hodgin

commented on Jan 20, 2012

Excellent article.

Dean Johnson

commented on Jan 20, 2012

I actually do like the phrase "God will do his thing," because it doesn't attempt to constrict or define what God will choose to do. He may shut the lions mouths and he may bring you out, but in his sovereignty he may choose not to for his glory. I'll be faithful, and leave the rest up to him.

Carla Patterson

commented on Jan 20, 2012

Poor theology to preach that folks won't, "...see God come through for them in a huge way financially because they haven’t learned to trust Him with 10 of what they have." Earthly prosperity is not the promise of obedience.

Brant Menswar

commented on Jan 21, 2012

@ k b, I don't think Furtick misses it at all. I actually think he is both saying what you disagree with and agreeing with the fact that God's thing might be for you to die for your faith. Either way, God IS going to do his thing! kb, good call though to make sure we don't miss the point that "God's thing" might not be our comfort and/or safety!

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