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Characters In The Making
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      • Psalm 8:title–9NIV

  • “Daniel: Faithful In Adversity”
    Daniel The Actor In The Lion's Den!
    Scripture: Daniel 6:1-28, 2 Samuel 6:1-23
    There once was an out of work actor named Daniel
    He was so down and out that he’s ready to accept any acting part that came along. One day he saw an advertisement in the PAPER, ACTOR NEEDED TO PLAY A GORILLA.
    I could do that," Daniel arranged an interview.
    The employer turned out to be the local zoo
    The zoo had spent too much money renovating the grounds and improving the habitat that they can’t afford the gorilla.
    So, Until they can get more funding, they’ve decided to use an actor in a gorilla suit. Needing the money, Daniel took the job.
    At first, he felt not only dishonest by fooling the customers but also undignified in the ape suit,
    But after a few days on the job, he begins to be amused by all the attention and started to put on a show for the spectators - hanging upside-down from the branches, swinging on vines, climbing up cage walls and roaring beating his chest.
    Soon, Daniel is drawing a sizable crowd.
    One day, when Daniel was swinging on a vine to show off to some children, his hand slips and he goes flying over the wall into the lion’s den. He panicked. There was a huge lion not twenty feet away, and it looked very hungry. So the man in the gorilla suit started jumping up and down, screaming and yelling, "Help, help! Get me out of here! I’m not really a gorilla! I’m a man in a gorilla suit! Heeellp!" The lion quickly pounced on the man, held him down and said, "Will you SHUT UP! You’re going to get both of us fired!!!"
    Introduction:
    1. Being accused of something when you are totally innocent of
    any wrongdoing is difficult to handle.
    2. It must have been for Daniel.
    3. Because Daniel did what was right, he was sentenced to death.
    4. Daniel is much more than a thrilling child’s story; there are many valuable lessons from the life of this man who slept with lions.
    I. Background to Daniel
    A. Promise of Judah’s fall (2 Kings 20:16-18).
    2 Kings 20:16–18 NLT
    Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord: The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.”
    B. A Description of Judah’s Captors (Habakkuk 1:5-11).
    Habakkuk 1:5–11 NLT
    The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it. I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands. They are notorious for their cruelty and do whatever they like. Their horses are swifter than cheetahs and fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their charioteers charge from far away. Like eagles, they swoop down to devour their prey. “On they come, all bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind, sweeping captives ahead of them like sand. They scoff at kings and princes and scorn all their fortresses. They simply pile ramps of earth against their walls and capture them! They sweep past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god.”
    C. The fulfillment of Judah’s fall to Babylon (Daniel 1:1-7).
    Daniel 1:1–7 NLT
    During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.” The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach. Azariah was called Abednego.
    D. Daniel and his friends are put to the test
    (Daniel 1:8-21).
    Daniel 1:8–21 NLT
    But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.” Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others. God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams. When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.
    E. Daniel was promoted and now, as an old man, he is tested again (Daniel 6:1-5).
    Daniel 6:1–5 NLT
    Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”
    II. The Plot Against Daniel
    A. The Responsibility of Daniel (Daniel 6:1-3). Daniel 6
    Daniel 6:1–3 NLT
    Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.
    B. The Reputation of Daniel (Daniel 6:4-5). 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
    Daniel 6:4–5 NLT
    Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”
    C. The Accusation of Daniel’s Peers
    Daniel 6:6–15 NLT
    So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” So King Darius signed the law. But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?” “Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.” Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament. In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.”
    D. The Reaction of King Darius (Daniel 6:14-28).
    Daniel 6:14–28 NLT
    Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament. In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.” So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night. Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den. Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
    1. To Daniel (Daniel 6:14).
    Daniel 6:14 NLT
    Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.
    2. To Daniel’s Accusers (Daniel 6:24).
    Daniel 6:24 NLT
    Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.
    3. To Daniel’s God (Daniel 6:26-27).
    Daniel 6:26–27 NLT
    “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
    “For he is the living God
    and he endures forever;
    his kingdom will not be destroyed,
    his dominion will never end.
    27
    He rescues and he saves;
    he performs signs and wonders
    in the heavens and on the earth.
    He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”
    28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus[b] the Persian.
    III. Practical Lessons from Daniel
    A. With Adversity Comes Opportunity (Philippians 1:20; Matthew 5:16; Job 13:15; 1 Peter 2:19).
    Philippians 1:20 NLT
    For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.
    Matthew 5:16 NLT
    In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
    Job 13:15 NLT
    God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him.
    B. One never has to choose to do wrong (1 Corinthians 10:13; Revelation2:10).
    1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
    The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
    Revelation 2:10 NLT
    Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
    B. Serving God is not always easy (Romans 8:28; John 15:18-19).
    Romans 8:28 NLT
    And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
    John 15:18–19 NLT
    “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
    C. Don’t be ashamed of your faith (Mark 8:38; Philippians 1:20; Matthew 10:33)
    Mark 8:38 NLT
    If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
    Philippians 1:20 NLT
    For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.
    Matthew 10:33 NLT
    But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
      • Habakkuk 1:5–11NLT

      • Daniel 1:1–7NLT

      • Daniel 1:8–21NLT

      • Daniel 6:1–5NLT

      • Daniel 6:1–3NLT

      • Daniel 6:4–5NIV

      • Daniel 6:6–15NIV

      • Daniel 6:14–28NIV

      • Daniel 6:14NIV

      • Daniel 6:24NIV

      • Daniel 6:26–27NIV

      • Philippians 1:20NIV

      • Matthew 5:16NIV

      • Job 13:15NIV

      • 1 Corinthians 10:13NIV

      • Revelation 2:10NIV

      • Romans 8:28NIV

      • John 15:18–19NIV

      • Mark 8:38NIV

      • Philippians 1:20NIV

      • Matthew 10:33NIV

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