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March 9, 2021



 


BIBLE READING

 

Daniel 6:1- 26


6 It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

6 So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 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. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:

“May you prosper greatly!

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

“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. 27 He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

"AS IF"


Daniel, is described to us as smart, tough, principled, and unshakable: he is the heroic character the story needed. The more you read and reflect on the book of Daniel the more clearly we see that Daniel was indeed daring and brave. However, his heroism, bravery, and daring were not the result of some great inner strength that he had, rather, the source of his bravery and heroism was in the true hero of the story “the God whom you serve continually,” (Daniel 6:16) who rescues Daniel from the lion’s den and his three friends from the fiery furnace. They were strong because God was strong. The truth is that even Nebuchadnezzar and Darius could see this.


Look at what Darius said, “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. 27 He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”


I once read that when we live differently from the culture, we attract people. How we live differently is important. Like Daniel, we must be faithful to the living God and, at the same time, at one with the people we live with, serve, and love. Followers of Jesus have been at times in their history, arrogant and difficult to live alongside of. I remember a Church in Winnipeg that used have on it’s sign “the greatest argument against Christianity is Christians.” We are especially so when we forget that as Jesus Community, we are exiles.(see 1 Peter 1:1-2) And as exiles, we cannot forget that we are stewards of this place, not owners.


So, how then shall we live? In the light of the great story of God's redemption of His people, in the specific prism of light cast through Jeremiah and Daniel, how then shall we live? For me, it comes down to this: we need to live as if Jesus is king—because He is. We need to live as if this is His world —because it is. We need to live as if those around me need to hear that Word of grace—because they do. We need to live as if all these things are true—as if they are the truest of truths in a world of falsehood—because they are. With the help of Jesus, we will live differently. We will live according to a different measure of success. And we will be at peace. That gift to us can then be a gift given to others, a gift they so desperately need. That Church in Winnipeg I mentioned above, I did not finish their statement. It went like this “the greatest argument against Christianity are Christians, the greatest argument for Christianity are Christians.”


May God bless the community of Saints at Ambassador Community Church as we live according to the truth.


 

TAKE AWAY


How does living an “As If” life, like that described above make a distinctive difference in your responses to daily life?


Are there any specific areas of your life that God is asking you to differentiate from the world around us.


 


PRAYER


God, I ask that today by your Holy Spirit that you would grow my Christian distinctiveness in order to bear witness to Jesus Christ. I want to live as a follower that displays the “greatest argument FOR Christianity,” so develop in me the faith of a Daniel to live out of the knowledge that you are strong in all things. Amen.

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