All choices have consequences: “I appreciate the insight of Rick Warren: “Many of our troubles occur because we base our choices on unreliable authorities; culture ("everyone is doing it"), tradition ("we've always done it"), reason ("it seems logical"), or emotion ("it just felt right".)” The highest character choices are based on truth and faithfulness to your commitments. You may just get thrown to the lions. You can’t buy a meaningful and satisfying life at the dollar store. It takes commitment, faithfulness and consistency no matter the results. Is Jesus Lord of your life? Are you fully committed to your family? Filter all your choices through your commitments ~ what is the right thing to do.
Barb Nims and Connie DeBoer noticed one of the families in the church was missing week after week. They so much wanted the little girl to come to Sunday School. So they called. The mother sheepishly explained the little girl was embarrassed because she did not have any good clothes. Barb and Connie thought that’s no problem, so they went to the Clothesline and found several beautiful outfits for the girl. The girl was delighted. Still the family stayed away. The girl never showed up for Sunday School. After three weeks Connie called and asked if everything was all right. “Oh yes” said the mother all excited, “My little darling loves her clothes, that was so nice of you. In fact, she feels so good about herself we are all going to the Sumas Christian Reformed Church.”
There may be unintended consequences for doing what is right. Do good and right anyway. Make god honoring choices anyway. The highest character choices are based on truth and faithfulness to your commitments, no matter the consequences.
Sometimes, it is easy to anticipate doing the right thing will lead to harsh consequences. You might be thrown into a Lion’s Den!
The story of Daniel in the lion’s den is one of the most loved stories in the Bible. The story is filled with intrigue and twists, a duped king forced to follow a rule he doesn’t want and bad guys torn to pieces. Somehow Daniel survives! Daniel makes the right choice based on his faith in God, knowing the consequences of being tossed into a den of hungry lions. Nobody wants to be thrown into a Lion’s Den, but to remain true to God and faithful to our commitments, we must be willing and ready to face the Lions.
Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to make the right choices, the good, the God honoring choices. Daniel stuck with his commitments. He chose the Lion’s Den over freedom. Christians live in a world of spiritual hostility where the temptation to compromise our faith is with us every day. In many parts of the world, standing up for Christ means suffering and death. We continue to see Christians around the world killed for refusing to renounce their faith. For us it may mean ridicule, being left out, perhaps being passed over. It often leads to tension at home and on the job.
The book of Daniel tells us how to live for God in a hostile environment. His example shows us that it can be done but NOT without discomfort. If you stick to your convictions, you are sure to come into trouble sooner or later. The story of Daniel and the lion’s den reminds us that there is a spiritual battle raging. The devil himself is like a roaring lion who would devour us if he could (1 Peter 5:8).
The first part of Dan 6 (last week’s message) shows Daniel is a man of high character, committed to prayer; he consistently honors God through-out the his life. He prays to God even when a law is written to make it illegal to pray. Character is everything. Here’s a well known essay about doing the right thing no matter what:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have…and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Daniel is tossed into the Lions Den because he refused to compromise. He chose to do right and accept the consequences.
When you are committed to doing what is right based on your commitments and faith in God, what do you do when they call for the lions? ANSWER: You don’t change a thing. Keep on serving the Lord, keep on doing right, keep on living for Christ; whatever happens is what happens. Hold your head high. I would rather die with integrity than live with a compromised life. You can’t buy a life at the dollar store: it takes courage to remain faithful to your commitments and to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Darius realizes he has been tricked. Daniel 6:14 is wild. READ. Darius is the out of control King and Daniel is the prisoner at peace. The king could not repeal his own law because that would make him look weak. Darius is rooting for old man Daniel. In Dan. 6:16 he sends Daniel off to the Lion’s Den with these words, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” What a testimony to Daniels faith. Unbelievers recognize true faith in God. If you ever wonder if God hears the prayers of unbelievers, go no further than this amazing prayer of the King. I find it fascinating that in this entire chapter, there is no indication Daniel prays to save his own skin. It’s the King that is Daniels greatest advocate. Daniel is in this mess because he refused to pray to the King, and now it is the King that is praying to God for Daniel.
Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den. He did not know what would happen. The Lions den was a pit dug into the ground with an entrance from the side for the lions; a boulder was placed over the top. No one ever got out alive. Daniel was as good as dead, or so they thought. Notice what Daniel did not do… This is a lesson in what not do do when you are facing unfair consequences even though you did what was right:
- Daniel did not try to escape the consequences of his decision to obey God.
- He did not know what would happen.
- He did not make a deal with God to save himself.
All choices have consequences. When the king signed the law, Daniel was faced with a choice. Should he remain faithful to the Lord, or should he bow to the vanity of the king? Daniel did what he had always done; he remained faithful to God. That night the king didn’t sleep well, but Daniel slept like a baby. The king tossed and turned, paced the floor, refused all offers of entertainment, and even refused to eat. Early in the morning he rushed to the lion’s den, hoping Daniel had somehow survived. READ Dan. 6:26. I find it amazing the King even entertained the possibility that Daniel would be rescued. One person said it this way: “I don’t doubt that Daniel slept well, using one lion for a soft pillow and the long flowing mane of another lion for a blanket.”
The end of the story comes quickly: the enemies who plotted against Daniel are thrown to the lions (Dan. 6:24). Then Darius offers public praise to “the God of Daniel” (Dan. 6:26-27). What amazing words from a pagan king. Or perhaps he is a pagan no more. Perhaps like Nebuchadnezzar he became a believer in the one true God. We won’t know for sure until we get to heaven.
Daniel 6 is a prelude to the story of Jesus Christ. The parallels between Daniel and Jesus are striking: Both are innocent, both are hated, both are condemned to die. Jesus was put in a tomb of death and a stone was rolled across the entrance. Daniel did not literally die as did Jesus, but Daniel was rescued and in coming out of the put was figuratively resurrected to new life. In Jesus Christ we have the real deal: Jesus died and was raised to new life. Just as God sent an angel to Daniel, he also sent angels to the Lord Jesus Christ who testified: “He is not here. He is risen just as he said.” From that pit of death came forth the Prince of life. He is the One who has conquered death for ever and ever. He is Daniel’s God. His name is Jesus. He is our Savior and our Lord.
Daniel is a mere human who shows us what it means to make the right decision and trust God regardless of the consequences. Daniel points to Christ. The same God who rescued Daniel will rescue you from your sin if you will trust in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The most important choice you will ever make is whether or not to give your life to Jesus Christ, to trust him.
You can’t buy a life from the dollar store: there are always consequences to the choices we make. Sin, likewise, has consequences. The good news is that Jesus Christ paid the price when he died on the cross. Those who trust in Jesus are counted righteous in God’s eyes and their sins are forgiven forever. Run to the cross. Do not delay. Run to the cross and lay your sins on Jesus. In one shining moment your sins will be forgiven and you will receive a brand-new life. You will be rescued from the Lion’s Den.
God honors faithfulness. Because Daniel remained faithful to God, even to the point of being willing to die, God was with him and delivered him from his enemies, and from the power of the lions. All choices have consequences. Make god honoring choices, faithful to God and doing what is right. The highest character choices are based on truth and faithfulness to your commitments. Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to make the right choices.