Devotion by Mike Geiger originally published November 4, 2011 on www.whataboutjesus.com
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Text: Daniel 6:10-12, 16-23
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 man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
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, “O 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, O king.”
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.
“When Opportunity Comes…It’s Too Late to Prepare!”
John Wooden was one of the greatest college basketball coaches in history as he led the UCLA Bruins to 10 National Championships in 12 years. Among the many words he used to inspire, motivate and drive his team to perform at their best, was the phrase, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” Not only is this true for basketball, but true for life as well.
Daniel was a faithful follower of the LORD. He spent a life time studying and growing in the words and ways of the LORD. His trust grew. His confidence to make decisions based on his faith increased. The LORD blessed him. Although he was one of the people of Israel who was taken captive to Babylon, Daniel was recognized for his wisdom and leadership and elevated to a prominent position in the Babylonian government. The LORD prepared him for the opportunities.
Then the challenge came. Those jealous of Daniel coerced the king of Babylon to issue a decree that “anyone who prays to any god or man except you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den.” The king followed his ego, only to realize that Daniel would have to be thrown to the lions. Daniel would not change his loyalty or his worship pattern. The LORD was first priority. The king he honored second.
The law was irreversible. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den. Death was certain, except the LORD intervened to reward Daniel’s trust, sending an angel to shut the mouth of the lions. “No wound was found on him, because he trusted in his God.”
The value of being prepared with a high trust and confidence in the LORD God, is that we’re always ready for what life throws our way. Maybe you’re not facing death by lions, but what about when life brings you challenges at work, in your finances, in your relationships, in your health, in your community, in your world? Do you face them with worry, anxiety, or a movement away from the LORD? Or are you prepared to see these times as an opportunity, like Daniel, to take the faith the LORD works and put it into practice with calm assurance of the LORD’s ability to see you through?
Daniel was prepared for the challenge he faced because he had connected regularly with the source of all strength, the LORD and his Word. We invite you to study further the life of Daniel and other people of faith to see how they prepared for life and the challenges it brings and how the LORD brought them through. Connect with a local congregation (http://welslocator.locatorsearch.com) to assist you in growing your connection to the LORD almighty. Spend some time on www.whataboutjesus.com to learn more about the God Daniel worshipped, served, and was willing to die for.
Prayer: Lord, life brings many challenges. Lead me to follow the example of Daniel to prepare for these challenges with a constant and consistent pattern of connection to you and worship of you. Empower me by your Spirit to always be prepared for the opportunities to trust you! AMEN.