Surviving the Crisis, Thriving Post-Crisis

Text: Daniel 6:1-28

“He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” ­—Daniel 6:27

A woman in Jacksonville, Florida had not seen her husband in 114 days after a state order barred visitors to nursing homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. That is, until she landed a job as a “dishwasher” at the nursing home where her husband resides. This woman’s love, it seems, couldn’t be denied! Even a pandemic couldn’t keep her away.

Morgan Freeman is noted as saying, “In the harshest place on Earth… love finds a way.” No matter what dire situation we might find ourselves in, we are never out of God’s reach. Scripture assures us that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing.

One thing we have seen consistently in our devotional series through the book of Daniel is that no matter how bleak the trials look, God always shows up. When the Jewish people are taken into captivity and exiled to a godless Babylonian empire, they are never out of God’s reach—even though it was their own sin that led to this fate. In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to conform to cultural idolatry. Yet even in the fire, God shows up as the fourth man walking alongside of them, just as He had promised to do long before the fall of Israel (Isaiah 43:2).

In Daniel 3, we saw these Hebrew teenagers standing while everyone else was kneeling. As we come to Daniel 6, we see one man kneeling while everyone else was standing. Why the inversion? Because Daniel is praying three times a day to his God, while his opponents and political opportunists seek out means to harm him. They despise Daniel and the God he worships. So they devise a sinister plan to bring him down. Yet it is in this context that we see the integrity of a godly man, and the power and preservation of our sovereign Lord.

Daniel’s enemies examined his life and found nothing to attack (Daniel 6:4-5), so they had to make something up to trap him. Their plan involved petitioning Darius, the king, by appealing to his pride and his desire for a unified kingdom. So they outlawed prayer in a piece of legislation that was aimed at flattering the king, saying, “whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.”

Daniel didn’t compromise. He didn’t stop praying. He didn’t stop worshiping. Even after the law was passed, “He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” The king had no choice but to throw Daniel to the lions. But the Lord showed up in that lions’ den and shut the mouths of the lions. Daniel was rescued alive. And get this: Daniel didn’t just survive the crisis; he “prospered” post-crisis! What should have mauled Daniel instead ended up leading to his prosperity and exalted God’s glory over the entire kingdom. Darius even made a new decree that all the people in his royal dominion were to worship the God of Daniel, attributing that He is indeed the “living God.”

Consider this beloved: Things that were meant to harm you will end up favoring you (Genesis 50:20). Things the enemy intended to kill you will end up prospering you (John 10:10). As followers of Christ Jesus, we don’t just survive a crisis; we thrive post-crisis. All this because nothing can separate us from the God Who loves us. Not pandemic. Not death. Not things present, nor things to come. Not financial hardship. Not persecution. Not sickness. Not aloneness. The God that rescued Daniel from that lions’ den is the same God who bankrupted heaven by sending His Son into this world, to die a criminal’s death in your place for your sins to be atoned. If He disrupted heaven and earth in such a fashion to save you, how much more will He do to thrive you (Romans 8:32)? Think about that as you seek to abide in Him this week.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of your word, that nothing can separate us from your love. For you have promised: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” You always show up. We are never left to ourselves, even when we are the makers of our own demise. We worship YOU, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Questions for Reflection, Small Group or Family Discussion:

  1. Under what conditions would you consider stepping into a lion’s cage? What would you do if your right to pray in any public setting was legally taken away?
  2. Why did Daniel’s colleagues plot against him (Daniel 6:3-4)? How did Daniel respond to the king’s decree (Daniel 6:9-10)? When have you chosen to submit to God’s authority over you rather than obeying the laws of the land?
  3. What happened to Daniel’s accusers and their families (Daniel 6:24)? When has God honored you for your integrity or faithfulness?
  4. What was the king’s pronouncement (Daniel 6:25-28)? What qualities in Daniel do you most admire?
  5. What steps can you take to trust God to resolve whatever difficult circumstances you face? What can you do to become a stronger, more courageous follower of Christ?

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This VBS curriculum is based on the Old Testament book of Daniel. The theme teaches children how to live with courage in uncertain times. It was designed as a camp curriculum for children 8-12 years of age. Can also serve as a 5-week Sunday morning children’s ministry teaching series.