Summary: How are Christians to handle persecution which is expected because of faith in Christ?
There is a word that we do not hear very much in America today; the word persecution. But in other parts of the world, last year alone, over 150000 Christians were martyred. Persecution means cruel or inhumane treatment. Anyone here wants to be persecuted? No one likes to be mistreated! Just listen to the local news!
Today, we will again be reminded of the persecution of Daniel. Why was he persecuted? Can we Christians in America be persecuted?
Jesus said in John 15:20 “Remember the words I spoke to you: ’No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” Because Jesus Christ was persecuted, any follower of Jesus will also be persecuted. As Christians, you and me, even here in America will be persecuted!
Just go to a Local Government Meeting and express your Christian values and watch how people will react to you. We will face persecution as we stand for Jesus Christ.
How did Daniel handle persecution? How are we to handle persecution?
Praying to God was a priority to Daniel. Because Daniel obeyed God rather than men, he was thrown in a den of lions! Daniel was persecuted for his faith in God.
Did Daniel deserve to be killed??
We read in v22 that Daniel was innocent of wrong doing!
The king himself was distressed about throwing Daniel into the lion’s den because he knew Daniel was an honest man; but the king had no choice but to follow the rules set in their society.
Bad things can still happen even though one is innocent of wrongdoing. And, let us also note that bad things can still happen even when rules are established. We have been facing this in Wisconsin haven’t we?
I think we can learn from King Darius even though we have no indication of his belief in God until Daniel came out of the lion’s den. King Darius was very concerned for Daniel. How did the king handle his distress for Daniel?
Look again at v16…… King Darius had concern for Daniel and the king placed Daniel’s fate in God’s hand!
And look again at v18……… The king fasted for Daniel! When we get to heaven, I think we can ask King Darius if he prayed for Daniel. My guess is he did!
And what does v19 indicate? The king was anxious for and desired the best for Daniel!
Daniel was persecuted, thrown into a den of lions, because of his faith in God (obeying God rather than men).
How hungry were those lions? Look again at v24…..
Those lions Daniel faced were very hungry!
What happened to Daniel? Look again at v21-22………
God intervened and Daniel was not hurt; and we note in v23 that there was not even a scratch on Daniel! God miraculously protected Daniel! Why did God protect Daniel?
We can note at least 2 reasons why God protected Daniel. In v22, we note that Daniel was found innocent in God’s sight. Daniel did not do anything wrong! And secondly from v23 we note, Daniel trusted God!
Now, you may disagree with me; but can I suggest that another reason why God protected Daniel. Do you think God knew what was going on in King Darius heart? Isn’t it possible that Darius was truly concerned for Daniel and he was truly seeking God? After all, we see in the end that King Darius became a Believer of God. Therefore, is it really too much of a stretch to accept the fact that God protected Daniel in response to King Darius prayer? King Darius was a seeker of God and God provided an opportunity for him to call on God! The king knew in his heart that it was wrong to have Daniel killed but there wasn’t anything he could do but turn to God!
In v23, we note that the king was overjoyed that Daniel was spared! The king could have been really upset that someone is greater than him! The king wasn’t angry or upset and he wasn’t just happy. He wasn’t just joyful, he was overjoyed, he was super happy! Why do you think the king was overjoyed of Daniel’s salvation??
The king was happy that Daniel was saved because:
1. the king knew that Daniel was a good man
2. the king witnessed the miraculous power of God
3. the king found out who the liars were
4. the king found the God he has been looking for!
And because of the king’s experience with God, the king did 3 things:
1. the false accusers were deservedly judged
2. he believed in God
3. he desired prosperity to all by believing in this God