Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Non-Conformist: In the Lion's Den

This week finished up our last series at h2o for the year. We took a three week survey of the book of daniel, and ended by looking at daniel in the lions den.

How in the world did Daniel end up in a lions den? If you read the book of Daniel, it seems like he constantly finds himself in the kings favor. Two weeks ago we talked about how he refused to eat the King's diet and compromise in that way, and how he and his friends were set apart from their peers by their excellence. Last week, we talked about how his friends ended up in a fiery furnace for refusing to bow before an idol of the King, and we also heard about how God delivered them.

But this week, this week Daniel ends up in a lion's den. It doesn't seem fair. Daniel is an old man by this time, and the king seems to really like him. But there were others who resented Daniel. They resented Daniel, not because he was a bad person, but because he wasn't. They resented him because they couldn't find fault with him. The only way they could find fault was in the way he followed God.

They tried to get him in trouble for following God. Seems kind of silly doesn't it? Wouldn't it be amazing if we led that kind of life though? What if people who could find no fault with Christians except that we followed our God zealously? Personally I think that would be amazing!

As we end this series called the non-conformist, I want to encourage you to be a non-conformist when it comes to this world and it's way of doing things. Let's strive to set ourselves apart--not by our weird Christian insider language, and the fact that we tote Bibles around, but because we are passionately pursuing God.

I'll point out one other thing. Daniel's obedience to God landed him in the den of lions. Sometimes we get this weird idea that we won't undergo persecution or hardship when we are following Christ. God didn't deliver Daniel from the lions den--but he did deliver Daniel in the lions den. Sometimes we have to go through some major difficulties in this world.

I think about my mom in this instance. God didn't save her from cancer, but instead he delivered her right in the middle of cancer. He walked right with her through every difficult step. And because of that truth--my mom was able to bless many with her story. She's with Jesus now--He came and met her in the middle of the cancer, and He brought her home.

When you see trials coming your way, it's the natural tendency of all of us to avoid them if at all possible--I'm sure Daniel didn't want to be in the lions den. At the same time, there are just some things we cannot do--we can not compromise our faith in our King to secure a better spot in this world.

Let's honor God with our lives, and trust him to walk with us in those challenging times. He has the power to deliver us, and in the end no matter what the outcome in this world, our truelife will be better for it when we resist the urge to compromise.

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