Summary: Look Back at Daniel and the Lion's Den in this stirring sermon on perseverance in the face of adversity
We’re continuing our series on O.T. Old School, with stories you’ve learned since you were a kid. Last week, we talked about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and the Fiery Furnace. Tonight, we’re going to look at their friend, Daniel.
I was looking for a good illustration to start off this lesson,
and I just couldn’t find anything about a lion,
but I did find something about a cat,
so that’s pretty close.
This is very valuable information,
especially if you’re a cat owner.
Memo: HOW TO BATHE YOUR CAT IN 8 EASY STEPS
1. Thoroughly clean toilet.
2. Lift both lids and add shampoo.
3. Find and soothe cat as you carry him to bathroom.
4. In one swift move, place cat in toilet, close both lids and stand on top, so cat cannot escape. 5. The cat will self agitate and produce ample suds. (Ignore ruckus from inside toilet, cat is enjoying this) 6. Flush toilet 3 or 4 times. This provides power rinse, which is quite effective. 7. Have someone open outside door, stand as far from toilet as possible and quickly lift both lids. 8. Clean cat will rocket out of the toilet and outdoors, where he will air dry.
I can bet that if you tried to do this to a lion—first of all, he wouldn’t fit in the toilet, and secondly, he’d eat you before you knew it. In Daniel 6, we have the story of Daniel in the Den of Lions. Turns out that Babylon had gone through several king since Daniel was a teenager. He first was serving Nebuchadnezzar, then Belshazzar, and now Darius. When Darius came on board as King, some things changed. Let’s read the story—Daniel 6.
This is a very well known story,
but today I want to dig below the facts in the story,
and look at what was happening spiritually.
You see, it was no accident that some of these other leaders in Babylon were trying to figure out ways to get Daniel.
Daniel at this time was one of the most powerful people in the kingdom,
and he was also absolutely committed to God,
faithful, honest, full of integrity.
And as a result, everything he did was blessed by God,
which made him even more successful,
and he was on track to become even more powerful in the kingdom.
Now someone like that is going to be loved by everyone right?
Someone who is full of integrity, successful in everything they do,
and getting continual promotions,
they won’t have any enemies, will they?
We know better.
The Greek philosopher Plato predicted in 300BC that if ever a truly good man were to appear, a man who would really tell the truth, he would have his eyes gouged out and in the end be crucified.
300 years later a man like that appeared
He told the world the truth - about itself -
and even made the incredible claim: "I am the Truth."
And just as Plato predicted, Jesus was crucified.
Like Jesus, Daniel had lots of enemies,
because he was so successful,
because God blessed him so much.
But there’s no doubt that Daniel also had another enemy,
that we don’t read about here,
but that was certainly at work behind the scenes.
You see, Daniel was not just the most powerful leader in government,
he was also a spiritual leader.
If you read the last half of the book of Daniel,
you read all the visions he had,
and prophecies about when Jesus would come,
and about the end times.
Its incredible stuff.
And so Daniel had another enemy, Satan,
who was not happy with Daniels success,
and was not happy with his commitment to God.
So Satan was out to destroy Daniel,
any way he could.
1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
I believe that Satan, the roaring lion,
was using those other government officials
to have Daniel thrown to the lions.
We often don’t think about the fact that there’s a spiritual battle going on all around us every day.
We don’t see it, so we ignore it, and forget about it.
But there is a battle going on.
When I was growing up, I really didn’t like to fight. When I was in 5th grade, my brother and I were picked on by a bully. One day at field day, that Bully was picking on my brother, and my brother was just taking it. So, I was sitting next to him, and I got up and hit the bully 3 times, and then sat down again. My brother got in trouble for fighting, even though I threw all the punches. Then, a little later in my life, I went to a boys club with my cousins for the day. It was cool—there were plenty of games, and fun with the guys, and I remember stooping down to tie my shoe, when a little boy came and leap frogged over me. My cousins said, “are you going to take that?” so I said, “no.” I kicked the guy in the leg, and then the boy squared off and punched me right in the mouth. That was a fight that I didn’t want to fight, and it probably wasn’t fair that I didn’t know what I was doing. It’s kind of like that in spiritual battle. Most of us really don’t want to fight—maybe because we know the enemy doesn’t fight fair, or we don’t even realize there is a fight. But there is an enemy out there who is out to get you, and even if you ignore it, it doesn’t go away.