Dare to be a Daniel
“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6 (ESV)
The account of Daniel and the lions’ den is, arguably, one of the best known Bible stories in the Christian world.
The story goes that young Daniel was one of the captives of Judah taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar around the year 6O5 BCE. The king saw great potential in Daniel and had him educated in the history and culture of the Chaldeans. After experiencing a troublesome dream and having it interpreted by Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon (Daniel 2:48). Daniel, however, didn’t take credit for interpreting the king’s dream but, rather, gave his God full credit for granting him the necessary inspiration.
Fast forward some years and the Babylonian empire was overpowered and replaced by the Medes and Persians. Under King Cyrus, Daniel was promoted to head of his administrative colleagues. As a result of their jealousy over Daniel’s promotion, they deeply resented him and hatched a plan to have Daniel overthrown. They petitioned Cyrus to make a decree that anyone found to be worshipping any god apart from the god of Cyrus, be thrown into the lions’ den. The decree was to be absolute, and Cyrus fell for their nefarious plot.
When Daniel got wind of their scheme, he immediately took the case to God in prayer. His enemies caught him praying to the true God and reported him to the king. As Cyrus’ decree could not be reversed, Daniel was taken and thrown into the hungry lions enclosure. As the story goes, God miraculously shut the mouths of the lions so they could not harm him. Cyrus then had Daniel’s persecutors thrown to the lions as punishment for their wickedness!
Daniel’s love for, and commitment to, the God of his fathers was so strong that nothing could force him to renounce his faith! In 1873 – no doubt inspired by the biblical story – American hymn writer, Philip Paul Bliss penned the hymn, Dare To Be A Daniel. The chorus reads as follows:
Dare to be a Daniel!
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!
This remarkable story of Daniel and the lions’ den has been an inspiration to countless Christians over the centuries when faced with various trials. We too can draw on the strength and courage that God imparts to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We too can ‘Dare to be a Daniel’.
Thank you, Father in heaven, for preserving for us the story of Daniel and his faithful commitment to you in the face of difficult challenges. Help us to follow his example when trials come our way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Study by John Magowan
About the writer:
John Magowan is a member of the Pastoral Council at Lisburn Grace Communion church, Northern Ireland.
Lisburn Grace Communion
Ballymacbrennan School House
129A Saintfield Road
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