Wednesday, May 16, 2012

{Wednesday Wrap-Up: being bold}

Wednesday Wrap-Up:  A Mid-Week Refresher to Help Us Make It Through the Rest of the Week
{a new weekly post I'm creating on the blog to help myself, and hopefully you too, keep my mind focused and my heart set on the right goals by reviewing something I've learned about God this week, a wrap-up of my week's studies, if you will}

This Week:  Daniel
Our Bible class studied Daniel last week.  I just love Daniel's story (which, as I didn't really know until I was an adult, is much more than just the story of him being thrown in the den of lions).  I'm pretty sure that if you spent any sort of time in church as a kid, though, you know at least the most popular story of Daniel life--he was thrown into a den of lions and he survived.  Amazing!  What (again) I don't think I realized until I was an adult was what made this victory so special.

Daniel was a different sort of man.  He was exceptional at his job and therefore favored by the King.  Because of this, Daniel's peers were VERY jealous.  They decided to devise a plan to hurt Daniel.  The only problem was that Daniel was such a good guy that they couldn't find a single thing to tell the King about that would get Daniel in trouble.  (Talk about a role model!)  There was only one way they could figure out to mess with Daniel. They knew that every single day, Daniel prayed to God three times a day.  So they decided that they would go to the King and flatter him and convince him to pass an irrevocable law that disallowed anybody but the King from praying to God.   Well of course, Daniel was so dedicated to God that he just kept on praying.  Daniel's peers (the ones who set him up) went to the King and tattled on him and swiftly reminded the King that the there was absolutely no way he could revoke the law he had passed.  The King really didn't want to have to throw Daniel into the den of lions (remember, the King really liked Daniel), but there was no way under the law to revoke his decree. So the King was forced to go through with the punishment.  

{An aside: Let me remind you...we're not talking about sweet, little Simba here.  We're talking about real, live, ferocious animals.  Male lions, at full adult size, can weigh over 550 lbs.  550 POUNDS!!! Whoa.}

Terrifying. (beautiful, but terrifying)

WHAT?!  That's a whole lotta animal.

Daniel was gathered up and taken to what his peers thought would be his death.  But Daniel knew better.  He knew that because of God's faithfulness, God would deliver him.  And the King hoped for this result too.  The King went back to his palace.  He was so distraught, he couldn't even eat or sleep.  The next morning, the King ran over to the den and called for Daniel.  Would you believe that Daniel answered back, affirming that he was totally okay?!  The story tells us that when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.  

There's so much to be learned from Daniel.  His story is so special because it's not just a story about some guy surviving being thrown into a den full of lions, with no way to escape.  It's indeed a story about God's character.  It reminds us that God LOVES it when we choose Him over everything else, when we do what is right despite what the rest of the world is doing.  And He is so faithful.  I cannot begin to imagine the emotion Daniel must have been feeling, walking into that den.  But Daniel was able to walk into that den (and to daily choose God over everything else, for that matter) because he knew God's character.  

Likewise, God saw Daniel's faithfulness--He knows us.  God saw everything that Daniel was doing in his life and He rewarded him for it.  It's a great reminder that even when we feel like no one else sees what we do, it's okay--God sees, but also a reminder that in the end, our salvation (from lions, from being separated from Him) comes from His power and His grace.  God appreciated Daniel's faithfulness, but in that final moment, when the stone was rolled over the opening to the den, there was nothing else Daniel could do.  The only thing that could save Daniel was God's intervention.  And that's how it is with us, too.  It is very important to be obedient and choose God daily (we're called to do so)--God sees us when we make daily choices to be faithful to Him and He rewards us for that, but in the end, it is not those actions that save us--indeed, there is absolutely nothing that we can do to earn our salvation.  All we can do is place ourselves in His hands (through Jesus) and trust that He will deliver us.  

So this week, I am actively trying to remember God's character--His faithfulness and His love for His children--and letting that truth lead me toward choosing Him over everything else.  I hope you will too.

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