Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Humility of Daniel

Humility, as defined by a Christian article I once read, is doing God's will no matter the cost to our personal life or pride. Daniel, among many Biblical men and women, displays a certain affinity for humility. In Daniel Chapter 6 is the well-known story of Daniel in the Lions' Den. In the beginning verses it states that the Persian King set 120 satraps, small-time princes, to rule through his empire, faintly similar to state governors today. Over these he set three administrators, one of which was Daniel. Later, Daniel has proved his exceptional God-given skills in administration, and Darius begins to plan to set Daniel over all the kingdom's rulers. Soon after jealously takes hold in his co-workers, and they search for any cracks in his life, but due to Daniel submitting to God, they find nothing evil about him. But while they are observing Daniel, they realize he prays to God three times everyday out of his window towards Jerusalem. So then they go to the king and by playing upon his pride they convince him to make a irreversible law which orders all of his subjects to pray only to him and if they disobey and pray to another "god" they will be cast into a den of lions, which though sounds strange to modern ears, was most likely a common capitol punishment among the Medes and Persians. So now Daniel, obviously realizing the trap set before him,has two choices, one being obey the king, or he could disobey his boss. But this would end up ruining all he had worked for the larger part of his life and he most likely receive the punishment of death, yet he, by harkening to the calling God had set in his life, would be forced to completely trust God to take care of him. Some of us may think that Daniel could have compromised by praying secretly to God, thus preserving both his life and relationship with God, but for two reasons, this was not a immediate choice to Daniel. One he would be backing down from his enemies and submitting to man, showing his trepidation of earthly power, and two he would be disobeying God out of fear for his personal life. Daniel, being the incredible man of faith he was, chose to not back down from his adversaries and to continue his prayers to his heavenly Father. So when Daniel prays out his window the next day, the satraps and administrators see it and run back to the king to tattletale on Daniel. Then the king was distressed by this and the Bible records in verse 13, "he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him". But at the end of the day the satraps request for him to be thrown into the den of the Lions and as the law was irreversible the king had to give in. Daniel was "thrown" into the lion's Den, most likely through a hole above their cave, which was sealed by a large roundish rock. Afterwards King Darius returns to his palace and passes a sleepless night. Then comes the best part of the story, early in the morning the king runs down to the mouth of the den, and calls down to Daniel as written in verse 19, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?" Daniel promplty replies telling of how the Lord had sent his angel to close the mouth of the lions. The king is overjoyed, and orders for Daniel to be hauled up. He is examined afterwards, and not a single scratch or bruise is found on his body. Then, the king's anger grows toward the men who has accused Daniel of praying to God, and then are themselves, along with their families, thrown into the den by the command of the king. But a very interesting note is shown afterwards in the Book of Daniel, and it says in verse 20, "And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones". The hunger of the lions was so great that the lions crushed all of the bones in the many bodies thrown down to them, before they even touched the floor of their den. But the retribution and reward of Daniel's remarkable faith does not end there. The king then writes a new decree to all nations, which is recorded as follows in verses 26 and 27, “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed,his dominion will never end. 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.” Thus ends Chapter 6, Daniel through great trust in God, and obedience to the calling of God in his life, brings the most powerful man in the earth at the time, to a faith in God. God really does use all things for His glory. In our lives we will face our own lions and satraps, but and we must learn from Daniel's example which is to gird ourselves with humility and obedience. For when we do this, we allow the mouths of our own ferocious "lions" to be shut, our "satraps" punished, and God's glory to be made known in a greater way.