Taming the Lions

Series: Growing Deeper – In prayer                                                             Daniel 6: 1-28

I came through an interesting article online entitled “Can you really tame a Lion” There is a picture of A man by the Name Joe Clavall, sitting comfortably among 12 of his atlas lions as he was rehearsing for a circus show in in London. The article went on to tell the story of Christian the Lion that has become a You Tube sensation, showing the touching 1972 reunion between a Lion named Christian and his former owners.

“Christian’s owners had raised him from a cub until he was about a year old, then a conservationist helped them to introduce Christian the lion to the wild. Many years later, when they paid Christian a visit at the animal reserve, cameras were rolling to capture the lion’s joy at seeing his former friends. Christian remembered them and even nuzzled their faces with affection like a regular housecat. Some people might think this is proof that humans can, indeed, tame wild animals. Is it?

However the article also goes on to tell the sad story of Roy Horn. Known worldwide for the love and pampering they showered on their pet wild cats (tigers/lion) and many years of great circus acts. However, it ended in tragedy after one of the tigers attacked Roy Horn during a 2003 performance. To this day, no one is exactly sure what prompted their valuable tiger Montecore to become aggressive. The cat attacked Horn so fiercely that he suffered partial paralysis and a crushed windpipe.

The writer of an unsigned editorial in a respected secular magazine (Fortune April 1974) asked the following question: “Why so much unhappiness, unrest and violence in the midst of so much material abundance?, Why the low morale….the sense that things have gone wrong? He later answers His own question and says “ All of these phenomena are related in one way or another to a single underlying condition- the loss of what might be the called the invincible means of support, the inner resources that in earlier generations lent purpose to people’s lives, connected them to the social order, restrained their conduct and helped sustain them in adversity.

Today we revisit the secret of Taming Lions. The secret of living peacefully in stress filled world. How to be at peace in the lion’s den. As we begin the year, We will be thrown in many Lion’s Dens if we already are not in one: In a world full of enemies, competitors, suspects, detractors and discouragers, How can we steer clear of anxiety, worry and Fear? How can we like Peter, keep walking on the water or like Jesus how can we sleep in the storm?

We draw our lessons today, from the best Lion Tamer, Daniel as recorded in scriptures in Chapter 6 of Daniel.

Let’s Get into the story

With the Persians now in control of Babylon and surrounding the territory , the new King Darius decides to reorganize his territory, In his Cabinet reshuffle, He set up 120 officials to help administer the region- collecting taxes and hold down rebellion and ‘do educational reforms’  These 120 officials reported to 3 Presidents/Prime ministers who answered directly to the King.

Daniel, an exile/refugee, when Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians, had survived the downfall of Jerusalem and now Babylon and by God’s plan was now in high positions in the land as one of the 3 presidents.

Not surprisingly, jealousy reared its ugly head among the 3 presidents and the nobles that was directed towards Daniel. His efficiency and integrity as well as favor with King Darius created tension among Daniel’s co-workers. No doubt a secret meeting was held and a strategy was adopted to find some cause to lay charges against Daniel to the King.

First they scrutinized Daniel’s professional life, they found no evidence of corruption, He was found honest hardworking and faithful and trust worthy.  Then they looked at his personal life- They followed him secretly after business hours, what kind of company did he keep, what type of place did he frequent, this pursuit was also fruitless vs 4 says they found no error or fault in him.

I quote an author “Alexander McLaren who described the court of Darius where Daniel worked as half shambles and half pig sty- Luxury, sensuality, lust , self seeking, idolatry, ruthlessness, cruelty was the typical environment that surrounded this man.  Yet like a flower among thorns- Daniel stood a man of character, integrity, and uprightness that even those who sought to accuse him found no reason.

We have just crossed into the new year, If you are a man like me, and you look back into the last year that has been, You will quickly discover that you may have escaped by a whisker. Friends and close relatives, have passed on, Some marriages have fallen apart, some businesses have fallen apart…yet you are still here by God’s grace. But you cannot say it was on account of your uprightness. May be you got lucky….may be God just spared you, may be you were just not caught?

But you know living like this is like walking on egg shells, so many uncertainties lie ahead of us this year, so many lions so to speak are waiting to pounce on you? As scriptures say the Devil is like a roaring lion waiting on someone to devour?

How did Daniel emerge a flower in this rotten world? How do we emerge bold, confident, keep our integrity, focus and sure step?  Daniel had discovered the secret: An intimate communion with His God on a daily basis that gave him strength, discernment and kept him from the traps of the enemy. This Communion with God was a pillar to all that Daniel was on the outside and in the inside. This communion with God had elevated Daniel to operate not in the standards of this world, but he had risen to the standards of God’s Kingdom that set him free from Anxiety, Fear or Worry. He was above board.

The Character of Daniel leaps out in these verses, everything about him was exemplary- It was Exponential- His integrity and consistency of His Life as a child of God in Vs 4-5, His courage in Vs 10, His singular faith in Vs 23, his discipline and devotion Vs 10. To have maintained such a demanding prayer schedule (3 times a day) required great discipline. In his position as president, He carried great responsibility, with much work to do, Under such a program the temptation to neglect the discipline of Prayer was strong, especially since he had to return home each noon for this purpose. Daniel maintained it because He understood the priority of his faithful contact with God.  Daniel’s priority list had communion with God at the Top. This explains in large measure the godly life and character of this man. This was the secret of taming the Lions? What about you? What is at the top of your priority list? How are you taming your lions?

Prayer was not an option for Daniel and should not be an option for us, It is a necessity. David puts it this way “As the Deer panteth for the waters so my soul longs after you” Perhaps the reason we have failed in taming our lions is we have lost that thirst for God. Our communion with God is weak. A prayer-less man is a weak man. Have you really developed a genuine thirst for God? Because there is nothing that invites the Lord more, when there is a genuine thirst for Him. May be the best prayer we can make is ‘Lord Teach Me to Pray’

“Prayer is the manifestation of a humble heart, dependence on God, Limited man calling to unlimited God”

Again Lord, what will you have me be this year: Be Intimate with me, Commune more with me. Our prayer of commitment: What will I do more, do less, do without so that I can grow in this character shaping discipline of Prayer.

And so, they found no accusation only if pertained to Daniel’s prayer life.

Have you come close to being accused of your prayer life? What are they accusing off instead- is it gossip, more meetings, is it complaining?

So when the law was proposed  that no prayer was to be made to no other God but the King, the King quickly passed it only to regret later that he had been tricked to set up his friend Daniel, something that He could not un-do.

What was Daniel’s response- He made a decision to continue his habit of praying 3 times a day as he always did.

He did not debate alternatives- cease praying for just 30 days and continue, or pray else where (perhaps in secret) or pray inaudible as he goes about his duties, but for Daniel- He was not a man who served God only when there was no price to be paid. He was faithful even when he knew it would cost his life.

SO they caught him and despite the King’s efforts to save him, Daniel was thrown in the Lion’s den. With these words “Your God who you constantly serve will deliver you” He sealed the door to Daniel’s fate. This was a long night for the King, but not for Daniel. Daniel’s peace came from that statement Jesus made in his prayer “Not my will but your will be done”

This I believe is the ultimate prayer, not made in a rush morning hour, but after careful consideration that God’s will is best no matter the outcome.

Prayer is not a way out of trouble, It is a way through trouble. Prayer is a submission to God, a surrender to God, it not man demanding his will but man submitting to God’s will. Prayer is a demonstration of those who have died to themselves and are eager to live God’s plan.

Yes Prayer begins with communing with God, being intimate and honest with our feelings and emotions to God and finally leading us to submission to God’s will for these things that cause us unrest.

The people of God today are not exempt from the lion’s den- some of you feel like you are living with lions. We need to be reminded that God is able to deliver us from or see us through our Den’s both ways we need faith. In prayer we exercise that Faith. Prayer is essential. If we are to Grow Exponential, then Prayer is Key

Let’s Pray….

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