Most of us have heard the story of Daniel and how he was thrown into the lion’s den because he refused to honor King Darius’ decree. This law said that no one could bow down to any other god except for him for thirty days. Daniel, of course, was devoted to God because he knew Him, and he was not afraid of what the king would do if he disobeyed this ruling. As a result, he prayed to God as usual and got thrown into the den of hungry, untamed lions for punishment. So, why didn’t the lions eat Daniel?
Daniel had a very close-knit relationship with God. He knew God better than he knew any person on earth. He spent hours in prayer each day with God and cherished every second of it. While some of these prayers were interventions on behalf of the people, most of Daniel’s prayers were intimate as he craved to know, worship, and be with God.
The one thing Daniel did—that most of us don’t do—was to become so drawn to God that he lived in God’s presence. When Daniel was on his knees before God, he forgot everything around him and became lost in his relationship with His Heavenly Father. And Daniel didn’t do this simply as a tradition that he upheld, but rather, he did it because he longed to know God and to talk with Him.
We learn in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God will never allow us to be tempted (by the devil) beyond what we are capable of handling. The devil would like us to think that God just leaves us on our own to figure things out, but that is not what God does. He promises us in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us nor forsake us. So if God leads us to a challenge, it’s because He’s with us and has given us the ability to overcome it.
And how do we do that? Many of us think that it’s through our knowledge, wisdom, and abilities, and while these may be tools that God allows us to use, they are no match for the devil. We cannot fight the devil on our own merits as he will outsmart us every time. The only way to win is through Jesus. He has already defeated the devil. Jesus is our Lord; therefore, when we face trials the only way to overcome them is with Jesus—in His presence.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome theworld.—John 16:33
The more we study the Bible and pray and worship God, the closer we are drawn to Him. When we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it was the first step to salvation. We separated ourselves from the world and returned to our Heavenly Father, but this was only the beginning. We need to spend time with God because we crave His love and presence, and then we will begin to transform into His child, filled with His love and wisdom and understanding—and trust.
It would be comparable to an adopted child who finally meets his biological parents one day and returns home to them. He may have left his adopted parents’ home and moved into his new home, but he does not know his parents. He belongs to them and has come home to them, bears their name and is their inheritance, but that’s all. Now he must get to know his parents because they are strangers to him even though they are family. To do this, he must spend time with them, join in with the things they do, uphold their traditions and become part of their lives. It takes time because it is so new and different, but with the parents’ guidance and love, the child will soon take back his rightful position in that family and be able to speak and act on their behalf. Why? Because he knows them and has become one with them. He’s filled with their presence and has no fear of anyone that comes against him. The child knows that his father is powerful and that the mention of his name will make all enemies fall to their knees.
Daniel knew God. He spent time in God’s presence. His heart was devoted to God, and he knew that God had a purpose for his life. In fact, Daniel spent so much time in God’s presence that God showed him visions of things to come. Daniel met God in those visions, and he knew God better than most of us.
When Daniel was on his knees during that fateful prayer, he knew that the counselors’ spies would see him, but he didn’t care. He knew that the decree had been set up in a plot to kill him, so it wouldn’t matter if it were then or later on; he’d be caught praying to God. Daniel knew God, and he knew that God would protect him—even from the hungry lions. And so, when Daniel hit the rocky floor of that den, he didn’t panic and scream, or cry and try to get out. He didn’t look at the lions’ fangs and faint. He immediately prayed to God to get into God’s presence where he would be safe.
In God’s presence! This is the key to winning our battles!
- Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.—Psalm 16:11
In God’s presence, we are safe. Nothing can harm us or come against us because the devil sure doesn’t want to be there. We rest in peace while God’s angels fight the battle. And for Daniel, that meant that he was at peace in the presence of God and that the angels closed the mouths of the lions. They didn’t see Daniel as a supper item. They saw him as a temple that held the presence of God, and so the animals were at peace because the devil wasn’t around to antagonize them.
- What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?—Romans 8:31
When we face trials in our life—whether they’re to do with our health, finances, family issues or whatever the challenge is that comes against us, the first thing we need to do is get into God’s presence. Nothing that belongs to the devil can live in God’s presence.
Jesus tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all of our cares upon Him; that means to not only pray about the problems and give them to Him, but it also means to get into His presence so we can know that He has taken them. When we walk and live in God’s presence, we will always have the victory over our problems, just as Daniel got the victory over his visit with the lions.
- Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.—Psalm 95:2
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