Peninsula Community Church
September 1, 2019
Daniel 6:19-22 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”
As we begin this study, today, let me ask you a question. Have you ever experienced a real, true, genuine miracle? When I talk about a miracle, I am talking about much more than finding a good parking place at the mall, although that might be a real miracle, especially at Christmas. I am not talking about going to your favorite restaurant and finding out that you are getting the last serving of your favorite meal before they run out. I am talking about a full fledge no holds barred miracle. You see the word miracle has been abused much like the word love. In both cases, the power and majesty of the words have been lost or diminished.
Today, I want to assure you that miracles still happen and they can happen in your life. Before we get into the meat of the message, let me take a moment and define what a miracle is. The Bible does not use the word miracle too often, but when a miracle happens in Scripture there is no denying it and no mistaking it. The dictionary defines a miracle as a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable (understood) by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. Baker’s Dictionary of the Bible defines a miracle as “an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God.” A miracle is not limited to the laws of matter or the mind, as a miracle interrupts fixed natural laws. C. S. Lewis defines a “miracle” as an interference with nature by a supernatural power.
Take creation for example. God supernaturally speaks the world into existence out of nothing. That is a miracle. By His words we have the earth, a miracle. The seas, oceans and land are divided, a miracle. We have birds, flora and fauna, and all sorts of creatures created, a miracle. We have the days measured by the sun and moon, a miracle. We have the complexity of humankind, a miracle. The truth is miracles always point to God as the instigator and provider. He steps outside of the boundaries of the natural and provides something that could not be provided or explained by any other means.
Today, many are attempting to discredit the Bible by trying to explain the miracles of the Bible by way of natural means. Such miracles as creation, the parting of the Red Sea, the Virgin birth, the resurrection, and so on are all being tested by those who would seek explainable reasoning to define the miracles of the Bible. Here is the deal though, sometimes there is no explanation and no reason, that is why it is a miracle.
Our story today is one more of God’s story where God brings a miraculous intervention on behalf of His children. In this case it was Daniel, the faithful and dedicated servant of God. When we read the first part of the story, we find Daniel is accepted by Darius, but is being setup by Darius’ cohorts. They were conniving in order to attack and destroy Daniel. They falsely accused him and when their accusations did not stick, they went after the one thing that defined Daniel the most, his faith in God. They in fact created a conflict that needed to be resolved. And of course they were the ones who had to resolve the problem. Please know that when people cannot attack your character they will try to attack you where it hurts the most. They will attack your beliefs and they will attack your family. When that fails they will create conflict.
In their conniving, they tricked Darius into signing a 30 day decree that anyone making a petition of prayer would be cast into the lion’s den, where they would be eaten alive. Notice there was no command to worship Darius or any other God. They were not to pray. Does this sound familiar? Prayer is being removed from the public square in our day. The enemy of our souls knows that without prayer we become weak and easily persuaded to compromise and change. However, after the decree was given, notice that Daniel did not hesitate to continue to pray three times a day. You see laws can change, decrees can be made but remember you cannot legislate righteousness and obedience. We must be obedient to God, no matter the cost or the price. The secret is that when we are obedient and we are faithful, God comes through big time in big ways. What did Daniel do, he worshipped and he prayed? He could have played games, but he chose God and he chose faithfulness to his faith in God.
This reminds me of Romans 12:2. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Daniel did not conform to the world’s standard just to fit in, but he renewed his mind by going to God in prayer. Daniel did not conform to the ways of Babylon or the edicts of the king. He stayed true to the commands of God. You shall have no other gods before me. He loved God more than he loved being accepted by those who were godless. He trusted God more than he trusted the king’s advisors. Note that it is by testing that we discern the will of God. In testing our faith is assured. If we allow it, God shows us His will and what is right and is good.
Because he did not obey the edict, he was thrown into the lion’s den. The fact is when one was thrown into the lion’s den those days, the lions were often starved for days before hand. In this way, they were ready to devour whatever was thrown into the den. But instead of attacking him, a miracle took place. Rather than devouring Daniel, God shut their mouths so that he would not be eaten alive. What was a natural occurrence, being eaten by the lions, was instead a supernatural intervention and the mouths of the lions were shut so they would not harm Daniel!
Here is the amazing thing about this miracle. God not only saved Daniel, but God used that miracle to reach those who were engaged in the process of putting him in the lion’s den. An amazing thing happened when Darius returned to the lion’s den. Darius realized that God had saved Daniel and he wanted what Daniel had. Let me ask you this morning, when you go through deep difficulties and people witness you doing so, how do they respond? Do they turn to God or witness God doing something amazing or do you they turn from God because of your experience? You see that we can experience the miracles of God and yet still complain and grumble which diminishes the world’s view of God. In this case, because of the testimony of Daniel, Darius turned toward God. That was the second miracle. But notice what Daniel did. Rather than take any of the credit, he turned all of the praise and honor back to God. Notice that he stated “My God sent his angel and shut the lion’s mouths.” He gave credit where credit was due because he could take no credit for the work of God.
I love this. Listen to Daniel 6:21-23 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Notice the third part of this miracle. Notice how God defended Daniel. Those who had connived with Darius to make this happen were thrown into the lion’s den. Their entire family were thrown in and they were immediately devoured. God protects His people. God saves those who trust in Him no matter what. Daniel trusted God and God came through big time.
As a result, Darius made a proclamation to the people in Daniel 6:25-27. Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”
As we close, listen to this. If God could close the mouths of lions for Daniel, part the Red Sea for Moses (Exodus 14:21), make the sun stand still for Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14), send ravens to feed Elijah (1 Kings 17:2-16), open a prison door for Peter (Acts 16:26), put a baby boy in the arms of Sarah (Genesis 21:2), and raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44) then He can certainly provide for you. You have no reason to despair or be hopeless today. Nothing you are facing today is too hard for Him to handle. Trust Him to take care of you, just like He took care of everyone that came before you. Remember the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews (Hebrews 12:1-2). They are watching us. They are cheering us on. They have experienced the miracles of God and today they stand as a testimony to what God can do with the man whose heart is fully devoted to Him.
So, let me ask you, what is your lion’s den? You may be facing some difficult times. You may feel betrayed and wounded. You may have had someone come against you and spread lies about who you are. You may be faced with having to hold onto your convictions in your workplace. What is your lion’s den? You can go quiet, blend in, compromise, or you can stand firm regardless of the consequences. When you choose to stand, you are choosing what’s harder. You are choosing the lion’s den. And that is okey because in this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, God has overcome the world (John 16:33). God will save you and He will protect you. Trust Him! Give Him the credit He deserves! Amen!
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.
Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom