My current sermon series on Daniel ends with the most popular story about Daniel: The Lion’s Den. The retelling of the story tends to focus on what stands out the most: spending the night with flesh eating felines, and waking up to talk about it. The takeaway: God delivered Daniel, and God delivers us.
That’s certainly true, but it’s not the main point. The most important part of the story is Daniel’s witness, his testimony. What did people (especially his enemies) know about Daniel?
- He was prosperous. (enemies hate that).
- He was a man of integrity.
- He would not compromise his faith.
His enemies observed these, and tried to use #3 against him. They manipulated King Darius to outlaw all prayers except those directed to him (vv.6-9).
How did his enemies know that Daniel would not compromise his faith, but continue to outwardly express his faith? See 6:10:
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.
Daniel’s prayer was not just a single act of righteous disobedience, he was just doing what he always did. What did people know about Daniel’s faith? They knew he was dedicated to daily prayer, because he did it publicly. They knew that he would not compromise his faith, despite the cost.
What do people know about us?
Do people ask us to pray for them, because they know we are dedicated to prayer? Do people ask us questions about Jesus, because they know we are dedicated to reading Scripture? Do people see our church as having programs that benefit its members, or as a people that exists for the sake of our community and the world?