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
Such a familiar scripture and a very well-known story. We have heard it in some form or fashion our entire lives how Daniel got put in the lion's den and didn’t get eaten. It is an interesting metaphoric testament of Faith that we can apply to our lives today, without the lions of course! When we view this story through a modern lens, perhaps we can see ourselves today or in the past caught up in unusual-draining-heart-wrenching-dysfunctional-disruptive circumstances or, dens. How many dens have you been in? Do you remember how you got away unscathed? Do you have scars from the den? Do you have memories that haunt you? What if I told you prayerwas our protection above all measures against anything in opposition to what the Most High God has planned for us? I can elaborate. When life is full of trouble, pray. When there is trouble in our homes, pray. When there is trouble in our country, pray. When there is trouble on our jobs, pray. When there is trouble in our very own minds, we have got to pray.
Curtis Blow said, “it’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.” The quagmire is not the answer, but the very questions we ask ourselves while we are in trouble. How can I keep from going under when I feel all alone? How can I get back up after being knocked down so many times? How can I stand when the odds are stacked against me? The short answer is that it all comes down to a simple matter of trust. In churches all across America, people sing,
🎼I will Trust in the Lord till I die.
Truth be told, none of us has ever met anyone willing to die for the Gospel. That’s a praise moment right there because it’s a good thing God is not asking us to die! It’s a good thing God is not asking us to be jailed or whipped for the sake of the word. But God is asking us to trust His word and to have faith in Him. The Bible says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
The next set of questions we ask ourselves that take us down the preverbal rabbit hole is, how can I have enough faith in God to keep me during a trial? How can I keep moving forward when my world is falling apart? How can I be strong when I don’t see any hope? The paradox is in the questions, not the answer. I believe it is at these times in our lives we must know without a shadow of a doubt, we are soldiers of the Most High fighting on the battlefield for the Lord, and we can never lose focus when the Word of God teaches us, “For we walk by faith and not by sight…” We can never forget, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” We can never forget, “God can do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask for through Christ Jesus” when we put our trust in Him.
The cunningness of the adversary is worth mentioning here because many of our issues stem from our thoughts - and the type of questions we ask - amid trauma and drama that will cause us to doubt the promises. The more we trust God’s word and pray, the more forceful the adversary will be in scrambling our minds to prevent us from looking up and praying. Let me restate the answer, it all comes down to a simple matter of trust.
As I began dissecting the particular passage of scripture above and began looking at the life of Daniel, I learned that Daniel was a celebrated Jewish Prophet. Daniel was the fourth of the so-called major prophets of noble descent. Daniel’s name means: “God is my judge” or “who in the name of God does justice”. Daniel was taken into captivity by the Babylonians around the age of 15. Daniel was not a priest like Jeremiah or Ezekiel. But like Isaiah, Daniel was a prophet. He was a descendent from the time of Judah and probably of royal blood. Daniel was an interpreter of dreams and signs. Daniel lived a long and active life in the courts and councils of some of the greatest kings in the Bible. Kings like Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and Darius. I learned Daniel’s spirit of excellence was the reason why he was preferred by the king over all the other presidents and princes. It was the favor of God that gave him favor with man, the king. And so, the prophet Daniel was put in the position of governing the whole kingdom.
The short of the story is as a result of his title, all the other presidents, governors, princes, counselors, and captains got together to hate on Daniel. I paraphrase of course, however, the term “hate” is legit. Because that’s a whole lot of opposition! They wanted to do something to stop Daniel from praying to his God because they could not find any other fault with him. Again, I paraphrase, this is when one of his “haters” came up with a decree, or law. They didn’t put Daniel’s name on the decree. Yet, it was clear the new law was meant for him as it stated anyone caught praying or making a petition to any God for thirty days (the day the law was signed) was to be put in the lion’s den. Obviously, this meant the judgement against him was certain death. The same way the electric chair and the needle is certain death in our penal system today if we are found guilty by our peers.
This should remind us that whenever we decide to stand for God, or whenever we make up our minds that for God I live and for God, I die, there are going to be some haters. There are going to be those people who want to count us out. There are going to be some good days and some bad days. But the promise in the scripture say, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Now let us come back full circle to substantiate the answer to our troubles, which is, we must trust the Most High. We have to keep praying. We have to keep standing. We have to keep believing and knowing God is able to keep us no matter where we find ourselves mentally or physically. We have to trust that God is our den keeper.
The massive value we gain from this familiar scripture is, prayer is the key to trusting the Most High and it is our weapon. To be like Daniel (or to live the word of the Most High God), we have to keep praying. Daniel knew the power of prayer. Daniel knew that the decree was signed and Daniel still went to his house with the windows open towards Jerusalem, got down on his knees three times a day, and gave thanks before God, as he always did. You see, Daniel was used to praying and giving God some thanks. Daniel didn’t wait until he was in danger before he started praying.
Like Daniel, we must pray and give God some praise having full knowledge of our situation. We must learn how to praise Him in the morning, praise Him the noonday, and praise Him when the sun goes down. We cannot wait till our backs are against the wall. We cannot wait till we feel as if we can’t make it. Like Daniel, we must be in a relationship with God so we ourselves have confidence that God can keep us in our time of trouble.
What we can plainly see is because of Daniel’s relationship with God, Daniel knew his faith in Him would demonstrate to the eye of his mind, the reality of those things that could not be discerned by the eyes of his body. We can determine it was his praying relationship with God that allowed him to walk by faith, not by sight! Daniel knew that faith makes things possible – not easy. Daniel had to have a firm persuasion and expectation that God would give His Holy angels, charge over his situation. Daniel knew that God would keep him. Even in the lion’s den, Daniel knew that God was able. Do you know God is able? Think about it and say it aloud to yourself so your spirit man can hear it in your soul.
Hint: Say, “GOD IS ABLE” so confidently that there is no doubt in youthat the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit hears it from your heart.
Now that we are directed into the mindset this is a fixed fight and we already have the victory, let’s not focus on Daniel or the circumstances that put him in the lion’s den. Let’s not focus on the problems we are facing in our own lives. Let’s not focus on our past disappointments or what I refer to as, those “things” meant to stop us from walking on the path the Most High has prepared for us. The Bible says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” That reads like God’s got our back and it’s a fact. It’s also a fact that God will never leave nor forsake us. So, why focus on the dens in our lives when we serve the den keeper? Instead, let’s focus on God and how He’s able to keep us when we turn to Him in prayer.
Ask yourself these questions: Do you believe God can keep you in whatever den you may be facing right now? Do you have enough faith to trust that the same God who shut the mouth of the lions, is the same God who can keep you no matter how painful or desperate your situation may seem? Friends, I’d be wrong if I didn’t tell you that there will be some rainy days. I’d be wrong if I didn’t tell you that the enemy will try and take you out. I’d be wrong if I didn’t tell you there will be some setups and setbacks. Because the Bible says that, “…the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy.”
I want to encourage you this week now, more than ever, is the time to start trusting God. Now, is the time to know that you are not beyond His reach! Because we serve a God who can change our situation without changing our condition. It’s time to trust God because there’s power in His name, there’s deliverance in His name, and there’s healing in His name. It’s time to pop our collars and act like we know that God is able and that He is, our den keeper.
Let me remind you this week that we serve a God who can pick you up, turn you around and place your feet on solid ground. We serve a God who’s a deliverer. We serve a God who’s a provider. Now ask yourself why worry? Why cry? Why should you hold your head down and act like you’re defeated? Why complain? Why stress yourself out? I am asking you at this juncture because it’s a good to check in with yourself. Form a mental note that the adversary will make another move for you so, be very sure you know, God is your Den Keeper.
The following lyrics written in 1882 and sung by Louisa M.R. Stead, are still relevant today. She wrote them out of her tragedy.
🎼“Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at His word …Just to rest upon His promise …Just to know thus saith the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him over and over!”
I penned this message to remind you to take God at His word because it was God who led Moses when he stood at the Red Sea with nothing more than a stick in his hand, allowing the children of Israel to pass through it on dry land; it was God who was with David when he went up against the Lion and the Bear; God was the fourth man in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We must remember our salvation. We must not forget God was with His Son Jesus when they hung him high and stretched him wide. Jesus never said a mumbling word till He rose from the tomb on that 3rd day with all power in hands. And God will be with you till the end. The saints of old used to sing,
🎼“Have you any rivers that seem uncrossable? Have you any mountains that you can’t tunnel through? God specializes in things that seem impossible and he will do what no other power - Holy Ghost power - can do.”
The song resonates so deeply in this season because we all have witnessed the miracle that GOD IS the den keeper!