Do you ever feel like every one’s against you? I’ve met people who simply have a knack for getting on people’s bad side. I’ve also known those folks who were conspiracy theorists–everything in life is designed to get them or make them miserable…I’m the victim…it’s someone else’s fault! The truth is we are all sinners and that we all contribute to our own circumstances in one way or another. But how do you handle those circumstances? How do you react on those rare occasions when you are truly wronged? What get you through those times?
Consider Daniel. He has been through the ringer, and we are only up to chapter 6! This week he will quickly find himself in his most challenging predicament yet–The Lion’s Den. At the beginning of our text things seem to be settling down, until a group arises who desire to take Daniel down. Why? Because he had “distinguished himself…from the others due to an extraordinary spirit.” They are so bent on his demise that they trick the king into making a law against praying to any god apart from Darius. This is no conspiracy, they government was out to get him! Daniel’s crime was being a godly man of prayer. How would he respond? He continued to pray as he had done previously.
I wonder, if a similar ordinance went out today how many Christians would be convicted of praying to this God? We must be careful here. I don’t think Daniel was in any way trying to seem spiritual before others. I don’t think he was showing off his religion in a way that made him look good. We’ve seen over and over the ways in which Daniel transfers glory to God for everything good in his life. This testing and trouble that he is going through seems to reveal his true loyalty. He is revealed as one who truly loves and seeks to obey God.
There was of course another man who was wrongly accused, and hated by a select group of people in authority. The only accusation available to them was similarly one “in regard to the law of his God (Dan. 6:5).” Here’s what He said about the outward appearance of religion:
Matthew 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 6:5-6 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
So when the testing comes, what will be revealed in your life? Perhaps you are in need of encouragement but don’t know where to turn. Maybe you are finding yourself in the middle of a situation that requires serious faith and commitment right now. Regardless of where you find yourself, I hope that you will join us as we consider our corporate need for God’s replenishing work in our lives. Things may seem smooth now, but just as we’ve seen in Daniel’s life, the lion’s may be just around the corner.