Can Your God Save?
“He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” – Daniel 6:27 NLT
This is what I call a “Sunday School story.” It is one of those stories from the Bible that we are told in Sunday School as children when we are growing up. When I was a kid, it was told with the use of Flannel-Graphs, those colorful fabric pieces that were cut-out pictures of the characters that stuck to a piece of flannel. As the teacher told the story of Daniel and the lion’s den, we kids would take turns placing the figures of Daniel and the lions on the flannel-covered board. We were amazed at the bravery of Daniel. As a matter of fact, this whole story was about Daniel – thus the name, Daniel and the lion’s den. It was all about the faith of Daniel, the bravery of Daniel, the courage of Daniel, and the prayerfulness of Daniel. And it is still easy to read this chapter and think that this is a story about a man, a very brave, courageous, prayerful man. But the hero of the story is God. He is the one who ensures that there is a happy ending. He is the one in whom Daniel believed, to whom Daniel prayed, and to whom Daniel owed his life.
Even Darius the Mede recognized that God was going to have to be the one to save Daniel from his predicament, because even as king, he was unable to rescue Daniel from a certain death in the lion’s den. “So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you” (Daniel 6:16 NLT) Darius knew that it was Daniel’s God that would make the difference – not Daniel. And Daniel himself knew that it was God who was going to have to get him out of this mess. When he heard about the new law, Daniel did what he always did, he prayed to God. This time he had something new to pray about, and he did. “Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help” (Daniel 6:11 NLT). Faced with a difficult situation, Daniel turned to God for help. And the amazing thing is, God didn’t answer Daniel’s prayer the way I would have expected. He didn’t miraculously change the law. He didn’t give Darius a disturbing dream and cause him to revoke his decree. He didn’t cause a strange new disease to break out among the lions, wiping them out and thus, sparing Daniel’s life. No, Daniel was arrested and had to face his punishment. Where was God? What was He doing? What was He thinking? The last words Darius had for Daniel were, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you” (Daniel 6:16 NLT). Even Darius knew it was all up to God now. Only He could prevent tragedy from striking Daniel. And He did.
The next morning, Daniel was found alive and unharmed. There wasn’t a scratch on him. And Daniel knew why. “My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight” (Daniel 6:22 NLT). Daniel had trusted in God, and God had come through. Why? Because, “He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions” (Daniel 6:27 NLT). This story is about our God, not Daniel. Sure, Daniel was a man of faith, but the whole point of the story is the ONE in whom Daniel had faith. Yes, Daniel was a man of prayer, but the moral of the story is that it is GOD ALONE who answers prayer. We are sometimes guilty of making the Bible about men. We read stories about the men and women of the Bible and we determine that we either should emulate or avoid their examples. We are told to “dare to be a Daniel.” We are encouraged to “fight the good fight” like Paul. We are encouraged to be a “man after God’s own heart” like David. And while modeling our lives after other saints isn’t necessarily wrong, we would be better off focusing our attention on the God in whom they believed. He is the real moral to the story. God saves. He rescues. There is not predicament too big for Him to handle. He is the living God.
Father, forgive us for making it all about us. Our pride is so great. We sometimes think You exist for us. We seem to believe that the story is all about us. And we lose sight of the reality that without You, there is no story. There would have been no creation. Mankind would never have existed. None of us would have taken our first breath. And not a single one of us would have the slightest chance of making it through this life unscathed without You. You alone are God. You are the star of the play. You alone deserve glory and honor. Not Daniel. Not Moses. Not Paul. And not us. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men