Devotional Pondering: Death, Lions, Stinky Dark Pits & Prayer.

Don’t mess with nature.”  This phrase is so true.  Many people have gone out into nature, whether on the plains of the Serengeti or in the vast expanse of the ocean or else where, without respect for the elements and the wildness of nature and have paid for it.  Nature is wild.  Nature is fierce.  Nature is hungry.  

…so are lions. 

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We all know the story of “Daniel and the Lion’s den’.  We’ve heard it in Sunday School or at a Vacation Bible School some where (maybe long ago) in our childhood.  I want to re-examine that story today.  I’ve been pondering something in my heart, and I feel the Lord has led me to this passage once more.  

The narrative is found in Daniel chapter 6.  Perhaps you would like to take some time and read it again for yourself.  

Here’s the context: Daniel (a prophet and servant of God) is an official in the Persian empire under King Darius.  In those days Kings of Persia were considered gods.  No one would dare defy an edict of the king, for to do so would mean that they defied the very gods the Persians worshiped.  

But…Daniel served God, the only God, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.  Despite the tricks of others who had been appointed to serve under the king to trap Daniel, Daniel never wavered or faltered.  Daniel chapter six describes what kind of man Daniel was –

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

Did you catch that?  
Despite outward pressure to conform, Daniel did what he always did – He prayed.  He went upstairs, faced Jerusalem and prayed to God.  

How Serious Is Prayer to Us? 

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Daniel, despite a death sentence, continued to talk to his heavenly Father.  Our conversations with God ought to be like breathing to us.  It is vital.  It is imperative.  It connects us to the only certain, consistent, true power in the universe.  God loves it when we talk to Him.  In fact in the very beginning of time scripture records that He would physically come down and walk with Adam and Eve in the evenings…He wants to fellowship with us.  Prayer connects us to His fellowship and His love.  Prayer is serious business.  It ought not be taken lightly.  God doesn’t need a lot of “religious jargon” or flowery words to accompany our prayers.  They can be simple.  They should be honest.  They should be sincere.  Our prayers to Him are not prayers to a Genie in a bottle, or a litany of wish lists that we want from God.  He wants us to share with Him our lives, our concerns – both the large and small concerns…even the lions prowling around us ready to consume us.  

What are your Lions?

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Daniel was thrown into a dark, smelly pit that contained wild, blood thirsty lions.  He was all alone in that frightening situation.  All around him, in the inky darkness, prowled a fierce predator of nature.  Scripture doesn’t record Daniel screaming for his life.  The bible doesn’t record Daniel confessing his regret for defying King Darius’ edict – no!  Daniel was thrown into a pit of lions (a death sentence) and despite all odds, he continued to pray to God.  

What kind of lions are you facing today in your life?  What kind of pressures are you under?  Many within our world want Christians to buckle under these pressures, the father of lies Satan himself would love nothing more than for people of God to disobey and turn away from God.  The easy path in the midst of our lions is to conform to the world around us.  The easy path is to look, dress and act like everyone else around us…to fit in, to party it up, to do whatever pleases us.  But if we do, we will be consumed by the lions and we will be lost.  

That night, in the blood thirsty lion pit, a miracle happened.  God closed the mouths of the lions because a faithful servant of His needed saving.   

My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”  The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” -Daniel 6:22-23

Whatever lions you may be facing right now in your life, God says to us – “have faith in Me and have no fear!”  
1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”  
Are you facing wild, fierce pressures around you today?  Be bold, be strong and stand firm!  God will always be with you!

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me today to face my lions.  Forgive me when I have wavered and have given into the pressures of the world. Strength and equip me for today and help me to be Your faithful servant despite the prowling lions and looming pressures.  I long to be Yours and Yours alone!  -Amen.  

Something else to ponder today!  

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