Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Lamb's Prayer In A Lion's World

Now when Daniel learned that the decree
had been published, he went home to his
upstairs room where the windows opened
toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he
got down on his knees and prayed,
giving thanks to his God, just as he had
done before.
                             Daniel 6:10 NIV 

    As a young man Daniel became an exile in Babylon when King Nebuchadnezzar’s troops marched into Jerusalem and carried the Jews away. According to Scripture, Daniel came from a royal lineage, had no physical defects, and was handsome, intelligent, well informed and quick to understand. Because of these traits he caught the attention of the court officials who were ordered by Nebuchadnezzar to find and train these young men of perfection for service to the king.

     From the beginning, Daniel determined not to indulge himself in the riches of the Babylonian kingdom but to remain true to Jehovah God. Daniel knew the risks of remaining faithful to God as he watched three of his friends thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down and worship a golden idol. He also knew that his God could deliver—even from a fiery furnace.

     Decades passed, kings died and others took the throne as Daniel remained a Babylonian captive. Eventually the Medes and Persians took hold of the empire and Daniel, now in his eighties, continued to be faithful to God as he worked among the non-believers of the land. Because of his exceptional qualities, Daniel distinguished himself among the administrators of the King's holdings.

     As jealousy reared her ugly head, a plan was set in motion that should have cost Daniel his life. King Darius, through the prompting of his administrators, issued a decree that over the following thirty days anyone who prayed to any God or any man other than the king would be thrown into the lion’s den. King Darius put the decree in writing which meant that it could not be repealed. The trap was set!

     When Daniel heard about the decree, he went home and continued to pray just as he had done before—on his knees before an open window three times a day.

     The administrators' trap was sprung as they went before King Darius and explained how Daniel refused to obey the king’s decree. As they threw Daniel into the lion’s den, the king spoke these words, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

     While King Darius paced the floor during the night, Daniel must have rested comfortably on the soft mane of the lions as the angel of the LORD stood guard over him. Darius was overjoyed when Daniel emerged from the den unharmed. Those who plotted against Daniel, along with their wives and children, became breakfast for the hungry lions, and King Darius issued a new decree:

     “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must
      fear and reverence the God of Daniel.” (Daniel 6:26)

     Amid the great empires which held him captive, Daniel could have thrown up his hands and decided not to rock the boat. Instead, he chose to live a life of obedience and faithfulness to the One True God Jehovah as with excellence he fulfilled his daily duties for the king. His prayer life sustained him through decades of captivity as he stayed connected to the Father.

     Daniel’s life should inspire each of us as we live our lives in this world knowing that we are not of this world. We too must obey the laws of our land, unless they conflict with the laws of our God. We too must live and work among those who do not believe the truth. We too see daily animosity toward those who believe and follow the One True God Jehovah.

     Like Daniel, we must stay connected with our God. It is of the utmost importance that we know His Word and commune with Him through daily prayer. It is not out of the realm of possibility that one day we may be commanded to bow down or die.

     If that happens, I want to be found a faithful follower of the Good Shepherd who sacrificed His life for mine. I pray my adversaries will find me on my knees face down before my Heavenly Father praying a lamb’s prayer in this lion’s world.

© Joyce Powell

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