Sunday, November 1, 2020

Daniel, the Thankful Prophet


by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

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 6:10).

Pray to anyone except the king, and you will be thrown to the lions.

Write for anyone except the King, and you may well be thrown to the lions also.

I have seen lions in the wild, up close. Asleep, they appear lazy and uninterested in me. But awake, springing alert on lean, sinewy legs, stretching their regal heads to the sky with a deafening roar, they are nothing less than absolutely terrifying.

My years in Africa among lions invade my dreams. I sometimes dream of lions lurking, quietly sneaking around my garden. I wake up in a cold sweat, relieved I am in a house with secure walls and locked doors.

Daniel received news that his life was at risk because of the faith he practiced. If he continued his daily habit of thanksgiving prayer, he would be sentenced to a painful death in the jaws of roaring, tearing, lions.

I find his response shocking. Determined. Completely calm. Inspiring. Utterly courageous and full of faith. 

I want to be like Daniel.

He Went Home to his Upstairs Room

We know from the Biblical narrative of Daniel’s life he was a man surrounded by faithful friends. But I see no evidence in this passage that he ran to his friends to dissect the decree and strategize how to face the consequences. Instead, he withdrew into solitude, the quiet place where he always retreated alone with his God. This was Daniel’s first reaction to a government decree that threatened to destroy his life and religious liberty.

He Prayed, Giving Thanks to God, Just as he had Done Before

Dropping to his knees, like always, Daniel gave thanks to God. 

Just as he had done every single day for years. 

To the birds on the rooftop, the neighbors watching surreptitiously from behind their laundry next door, Daniel was doing what he always did. No sign of having received bad news.

I wonder what he gave thanks for?

Some years before, as recorded in Daniel 2, after famously interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he prayed a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving for wisdom and understanding. Today, in light of the latest kingdom drama, Daniel sank to his knees fully aware of the greatness of his God and the power of God to deliver him in any circumstance.

This is probably why the next day when Daniel was dragged away and thrown to the lions, the current king remembered Daniel’s reputation as a man of great faith who served a great God. As Daniel descended to the darkness of the pit, he was followed by the king’s words, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (Daniel 6:16)

Apparently, the king couldn’t sleep for thinking about Daniel’s plight. At the first light of dawn, he rushed to the pit to check on him. Sure enough, Daniel had survived and gave God all the glory.

In the end, the very ones who accused Daniel were the ones devoured by lions.

How must we live today, writer? The lions are roaring, hungry. People of faith are under scrutiny. How we respond in the privacy of our upper room will make all the difference in the outcome. 

Before we speak to others through our pen, let us withdraw alone with God. May we fall to our knees and give Him thanks for all He is. 

He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things. He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him. He shuts the mouths of lions. Through us, God chooses to reveal to the world that He is the living God and he endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed; his dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves.

How great is our God and worthy to be praised! 

This litany of thanksgiving was all taken from Daniel’s story: Daniel 2:19-23, 6:21-22, 26.

Lord, thank you for giving wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. Make me your instrument today. Amen.

TWEETABLE

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers), an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: Barnes & Noble , Books A MillionAmazon.

You can also find Audrey at www.audreyfrank.com, as well as on Twitter and Facebook

8 comments:

  1. I too want my faith to be like Daniel's Powerful. Thought-provoking. Thank you.

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    1. I've been thinking much lately about wisdom, knowledge and understanding throughout the Old Testament. I too want to be like Daniel. Blessings to you today, Elisabeth!

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  2. A powerful post! Definitely a keeper! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for reading and encouraging, MaryAnn!

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  3. As you have experienced seeing lions in the wild, you know more than most of us the reality of what Daniel faced. And yes, can I please be like Daniel too?

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    1. I saw a man on Disney Channel yesterday cuddling with a lion and it made me cringe. I can't unsee their power up close! But our God is greater, and He is the Lion of Judah and one day maybe we will nuzzle right up to that great Lion:) Blessings to you Barbara.

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