the art of falling
Courageous rebellion. With trust as his watchword, Daniel looked death in the face faithfully relying on the Lord to deliver him.
Daniel is one of my favorite characters in the entire bible. Going back through his accounts allowed me to bring him and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego out of the depths of vacation bible school and into a new light where I can relate as an adult in a time much like the one they lived in. Although the book of Daniel is full of notable stories, themes, and warnings, there are a few that stuck out more than others that sunk in even deeper than their peers.
God allows us to distinguish ourselves through our faith. In Daniel 6, we see Daniel distinguish himself in a large crowd of otherwise much more qualified and fit-to-be servants of the king. The recurring theme of Daniel’s faithfulness and fortitude in the eyes of even the individuals holding the power to take his life is what ultimately proves to be the antidote for each King’s arrogance and pride toward God.
Without God, we can do nothing, therefore give God credit in all situations. Giving credit is very difficult sometimes. Especially when the Lord has blessed you with certain talents or abilities that others around you do not have. It’s very tempting to listen to the applause of the crowd once you begin to hear them chanting your name. How easy it would have been for Daniel to move up the ranks on the heels of his new-found talents of interpreting royal dreams, yet we see each and every time he is able to come through, he humbles himself by praising the one true God. Because of this, his success is not only continued but it is increased.
God is supreme over who he places into positions of influence and leadership. Daniel gives us this truth in Daniel 2:21 when he says, “He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings a nd establishes them. He gives wisdom t o the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” This should give us hope that however dire our situation seems to be with the ruling body in power, it is God who is ultimately in control of their rise, but more importantly of their fall. Each one of the arrogant rulers in Daniel saw their demise at the hands of God.
God allows us to distinguish ourselves through our faith.
The fall alone should have killed Daniel and his friends. According to the research I’ve done on Daniel 3 and 6, both the fiery furnace and the lion’s den would have traditionally been built in a way that the fall into both from the entrance would have likely killed the victim before the fire or the hungry lions. The furnace would have traditionally been built with a ramp leading up to a hole in the top. The den would have been built underground to a certain extent with an entrance to be pushed into.
The fall alone should have killed Daniel and his friends.
What does this mean for us? I think it draws an important parallel to the fall of man in the very beginning. The fall alone should have killed us too, yet in both instances in Daniel, God provides a way out just as he did with the sacrifice of his son. The fire was seven times stronger than usual, so Daniel’s friends didn’t die because the flames weren’t hot enough. The lions crushed the bones of the families who entered the den after Daniel was rescued, so it wasn’t because the lions weren’t hungry.
Our life is owed to a God who gives us a way out even when we don’t deserve it. We won’t escape Hell because it’s not strong enough to keep us there, we’ll enter into eternal paradise because we serve the God of Daniel who always offers us a way out.