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November 2, 2012

Stand // Day 15

What in Your Life Will Stand Forever?

Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.” Daniel 6:3 (NLT)

Your legacy will be determined by where you stand in the defining moments of your life. We all get a few defining moments in our lives. In those times we can shrink back in fear or we can step out in faith. If we step out in faith, then what God does through us will stand forever. So many great stories in the Bible illustrate this truth. Heroes of the faith are remembered for what they stood for because it would stand forever.

One of my favorites was Daniel. As an exile in Babylon, God gave him a cushy government job working for the King. He remained in the royal service of the throne even when it was conquered by another King. Jealous of his position and privilege with the King, the other officials plotted to take him down. It would be a defining moment in Daniel’s life. He could not have imagined it at the moment, but the stand he took would stand forever as his legacy of faith. It’s become one of the most popular stories in the Bible – Daniel and the Lions’ Den! You know the story. But, do you know why he was thrown in the lions’ den to begin with? It may be more relevant today than we think.

Through the evil influence of the jealous officials, the King was unwittingly convinced to sign a government decree that prohibited prayer to anyone other than himself punishable by death in a lions’ den. These officials knew that Daniel prayed to the Lord God three times a day. They would see him with his window open looking toward the Holy City praying to God. Here’s an interesting side bar you may not have caught before about the story. The government decree was only for a 30-day period. Think of it. Daniel could have easily rationalized his decision to forfeit his prayer time for a month and pick it back up. After all, wouldn’t he be of greater use alive than dead? Furthermore, he could have decided to keep the windows closed so that those who had been accustomed to seeing him pray wouldn’t even know if he was praying. After all, wouldn’t God hear him as well in secret as to make a public scene out of it? Neither of these compromises seem like such a big deal, do they? In fact, I wonder how many other Jews felt the same way and made the decision that it was not worth taking a stand. We don’t know because none of their names are remembered. No one other than Daniel is credited with taking a stand. But, aren’t you glad he did! His stand gave God an opportunity to show Himself mighty in Daniel’s life and convince a pagan King that Daniel’s God was the Lord God. Here’s what the Bible says happened as a result of the stand Daniel took.

Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: ‘Peace and prosperity to you! I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.’ So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” Daniel 6:25-28 (NLT)

What in your life will stand forever? Consider the challenges you are facing right now to compromise your faith. You could rationalize it easy enough, but deep down if you are honest; you know what God is saying. Are you willing to count the cost? Will you just be a fan of Christ or are you willing to follow Him? Faith is often spelled R-I-S-K. We don’t know the outcome. That’s why it is called faith! We simply trust in the God who does and be obedient to what He says leaving the outcome to Him. What will generations to come say about the stand you are taking?