Focal Passage: Daniel 6:6-13, 16-17, 21-23
The word “courage” occurs 24 times in the Bible (ESV). Fourteen times the words “took, take, or found” are used in conjunction with “courage.” Daniel’s act of courage was remaining faithful to God in prayer even though he knew that it was going to cost him something.
While the cost for us isn’t the same as some other Christians across the world, it is starting to cost us something to remain faithful to God in our society. So how can we choose to take courage in a contrary culture? Let’s find some motivation as we view the story from Darius’ perspective.
Imagine that you are Darius. You’ve just been duped by who you thought were advisors and leaders you could trust. You’re most beloved counselor is facing a gruesome death in the lion’s den and being bound by the law even the king could not break, all you can do is hope for a miracle.
You know Daniel serves a different God and you’ve seen unique commitment from him through your time ruling together. As you watch the old man lowered into the pit full of hungry predators you cry out a word of encouragement which is as much for yourself as it is for Daniel, “May your God, whom you continually serve, rescue you!” (Daniel 6:16).
It’s the middle of the night and you cannot sleep. Every time you close your eyes you imagine the lions devouring Daniel. You can’t eat, you bring in no entertainers as is your usual custom for restlessness.
As soon as the sun peaks over the horizon you rush to see if somehow Daniel survived the night. You cannot help but cry out to Daniel and you are just able to make out his muffled voice from deep down in the pit. He is alive! You can’t believe it! You eagerly listen to Daniel’s narrative of his night with the lions and how an angel kept their mouths shut. It’s a miracle!
After enacting swift and severe retribution upon the nefarious leaders who tricked you, you sit down and make a royal decree. You take a moment before writing, reflecting on the powerlessness of your gods and marvel at the power of Daniel’s. You tell the people that Daniel’s God is the one, true, all-powerful God.
Let’s hit the pause button on you being Darius for a second and ask one question. What would have happened to Darius if Daniel had chickened out?
Imagine how radically the circumstances would have changed if Daniel obeyed the king’s edict and stopped praying.
Darius would have certainly felt confident as he reigned a people that were solely dependent on him, but he would have gone on without an example of the power of God. There is little doubt that Daniel would suffer the inevitable despondency that follows cowardly actions. Daniel wouldn’t have been thrown to the lions and wouldn’t have a miraculous story to tell Darius, and therefore, the people would have received no proclamation from the king proclaiming the glory of God!
Yes, God is sovereign, but Darius depended on Daniel’s courage to learn of the one true God. I wonder who needs yours. You may now fully stop using your imagination and remember Psalm 31:24, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” B&R