Dear Members & Friends of First UMC,
Let all join together to pray for rain. The drought is severe. Please drink plenty of water and attempt to stay cool.
This week we continue with our sermon series on the Book of Daniel. The text is Daniel 6:10 (please read the whole chapter). The title is, “Daniel in the Lions’ Den.”
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Daniel 6:10
Daniel had been made one of the three “presidents” or princes of the kingdom. He had forty leaders under him and thus was a very powerful person by his office. Some, devised a scheme to have Daniel removed from his office (welcome to politics). They could not find any personal fault with Daniel. He was honest, hard working, and faithful in all areas of life. Thus, these wicked men, decided to use his own faith against him. Daniel had the practice of praying three times a day (daybreak, noon, twilight).
“Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17
So these enemies of Daniel convinced King Darius to pass a law which decreed that for 30 days all prayers had to be directed to Darius. In other words, Daniel could not pray to the living God but to a man or he would be put to death (the penalty for breaking the law was capital punishment).
Could any law keep us from praying to our Lord and Savior? I pray not. Again, our faith is not dictated by the culture but by the WORD of God.
Daniel knew in his heart that he would continue to pray three times a day to the Lord. The Bible says that Daniel went to his house. The Hebrew word is deneh and it means, “as he had done before.” He opened the windows (no AC in those days), he kneels towards Jerusalem and he prays to the living God of heaven. What a man of faith! Daniel would not put the law of man above the law of God. He knew that he would face the death penalty—yet he prayed and he prayed mightily.
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8-9
Of course, these wicked schemers were watching Daniel and when they saw he prayed to the true God and not to Darius they had Daniel arrested and brought before the king. It is interesting that it appears that Darius cared for Daniel and was upset that he had decreed such a law. He vainly attempted to have the law overturned, yet the custom was for the Medes & Persians a law could not be changed once decreed. It is reminds us of Pilate who attempted to free Christ but feared the people more.
In the end Daniel was put in the Lions’ Den and the stone was rolled shut. Moreover, King Darius put his signet ring seal on the stone. No one would dare undo or break the seal of the king.
The king couldn’t sleep and he wouldn’t eat. At daybreak he goes to the den and calls out for Daniel. Daniel proclaims, “My God has sent his angel and He shut the lions’ mouths.” God had sent Daniel an angel. Daniel was perfectly safe and at rest. This is the power of the our Lord God.
King Darius decreed:
“To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; his kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues,
And He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:26-27
May the example of Daniel give us courage to always be people of prayer.
I hope to see you all Sunday.
Rev. Richard L. Leggett
Pastor/ First United Methodist Church
1201 Main Street
Bastrop, TX 78602