Happy Monday! Before we get into today's blog post, I want to apologize to everyone who subscribes to this blog via Mailchimp -- I heard you only received the first post last week. Yikes! After a whole lot of sleuthing, I discovered that because I was in Alabama for a conference (which is in a different time zone), my scheduled posts went out in CST rather than EST, affecting all of my RSS feeds. So sorry for the inconvenience! It's all fixed now. In the meantime, you can catch up on Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5 here.
Scripture: Daniel 6:1-28
Observation: After King Darius gave Daniel increasing power in the kingdom, others were jealous and came up with a decree designed to oppose Daniel. The decree stated that no one could pray to any god except for the king himself for the next 30 days. If they failed to obey the rule, they would be thrown into a den of lions as a punishment. Daniel was immediately caught praying and punished by being thrown into a den of lions – and due to his faith in God, he walked out unscathed.
Application: Remember when you were young and your parents told you not to do something? “Don’t bike in the street without your helmet,” “Don’t leave this house without a coat,” “Don’t even try to hang out with your friends this weekend until your room is clean,” and so on and so forth. If we were wise, we’d begrudgingly listen, but if we were feeling sassy (me during my entire fourth grade year) or defiant or downright invincible, we’d just go ahead and do it anyways.
Sometimes we’d pause and measure the cost of the consequences – was “accidentally forgetting” our helmet worth getting a lecture? Was going to a friend’s house while our room still looked like a disaster zone worth getting grounded for a few days?
And sometimes, in our wild youth ways, we’d just do it anyways, without pausing to think or care about the consequences.
Daniel was a “do it anyways” kind of guy.
However, unlike our parents who enforced rules to protect us, the authorities in Daniel’s life enforced rules to persecute him. And he refused to give in. Look at verse 10:
“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room with its windows open towards Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.”
He did it anyways.
No one was going to keep Daniel from doing what his God called him to do. No law, no decree, no threat, no consequence, no fear would keep him from doing the will of the Father.
When it comes to following the will of the Father, do you have a “do it anyways” attitude?
Pause and think about all the fears and worries you have crowding your life right now. What’s holding you back? What’s causing you to second guess? Is there a consequence too big, a reward seemingly too small that’s preventing you from moving towards God’s best for you?
When we let our fears – fear of the unknown, fear of consequences, fear of persecution – hold us back, we let fear lead our lives rather than God, the very God who could save Daniel, his faithful servant, from a den full of ravenous lions.
It’s time to let go of your fears and do it anyways.
Let us be like Daniel, the one described as “faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.” (v4)
When our faith is bigger than our fears, we can live courageous lives.
And nothing – not even a den of lions – can stand in our way.
Prayer: God, I pray for Daniel-sized courage. I give all of my fears to you today and trust that you will replace my fears with faith. I praise you for your provision, your faithfulness to us. Amen.