Daniel and the lions’ den is a very popular Bible story. But did you ever think you would find yourself relating to the king in the story more than with Daniel? In the message this week, Pastor Zach gives us an outline where he explores three points about faith: what it is, why it matters, and how it can grow.
When we read in Daniel, Chapter 6, we see a man who serves God in a foreign land and never wavers in his devotion and praise. We see a “man of faith”. But, what does that truly mean? Secular culture has one definition, while religious circles have their own. But as we look at Daniel’s life, we see a clearer picture of what it truly means to have faith. As Pastor Zach says, “faith is simply trusting God, trusting that he will do what he says and that he is good.”
That is exactly what Daniel did. Through his actions, we see that Daniel deeply trusted God and believed his promises. He was so blameless that the king’s administrators knew his faith would have to be part of their plan to destroy him. They issued a decree to keep Daniel from praying to God. The law only allowed people to pray to the king. In this way, they hoped to bring him down.
And yet, Daniel continued to pray every day, three times a day, facing Jerusalem. He trusted God in word and deed. He proved it every time he disobeyed the royal decree. He was willing to defy the earthly king so that he could fully obey and submit to his True King.
This type of devotion is incredibly important to God. Pastor Zach discussed how our trust in God is very personal to him: to trust that he exists and is trustworthy. Daniel demonstrated this type of trust when he worried more about what God thought about him than others thought. Daniel showed this when he continued to pray despite it being a risk to his life. He demonstrated this when he was thrown in the lion’s den and when the king returned and found him unharmed. From start to finish, Daniel stepped out in practical obedience to God. In doing so, he set the stage to show the people a demonstration of God’s glory.
Daniel’s faith was a testimony to God’s goodness in uncertain and scary circumstances. His faithfulness contrasts with the king and his lack of faith. The king was scared and unsure. He lost sleep, wondering what would become of Daniel. But, when he rushed to the lions’ den the following day, he got to see faith in action. Daniel was okay, and his trust in God became a testimony that would fill the king’s heart with reverence.
This story reminds us that our actions or lack thereof say something about God. Like Daniel, we have the opportunity to point to God’s track record of faithfulness with our lives. We have the chance to show others with our words and actions that we live in complete surrender to God. It’s easy to relate to the king in this story. It’s understandable to want the data to back up our faith or to want someone to go ahead of us and show us the way.
Luckily for us, we have been given that in Jesus. Faith grows when we remind ourselves of God’s track record. Faith grows when we realize that Jesus was the better Daniel. He went before us. He lived a life of practical and perfect obedience. He lived and died in our place. And as he resurrected on the third day, he showed us just how trustworthy he truly is.
The king came to the lions’ den to see how trustworthy God is. We come to the empty tomb to see how trustworthy God is.
Daniel went first. Jesus went first.
And because of this, we can be men and women of faith.