When a Lion Breathes on Your Neck

As we slowly walked toward the den of lions their deep roar rattled within my bones, sending a chill throughout my entire body. How could we possibly throw this man in with those ferocious beasts? I knew he felt the chill and heard the roar as well. Even so, I heard him utter under his breath:

“O God of my fathers; praise be your name forever and ever.
Wisdom and power are yours and you give it to the wise and the discerning.

I ask you O God that you would protect me now.

Only you, God, know what lies in the darkness as the light dwells within you.”

Just before he was thrown in, I spoke these words in his ear:

“May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

And with that, he was shoved into the darkness.

All night, I remained awake in bed unable to sleep, refusing my choice food and wine. I sent away my service, tormented inside by what had been done. For I knew the other administrators fabricated these claims against Daniel, but I, King Darius, must uphold the law; how deceitful that they force my hand! There was no corruption in Daniel, so they attacked him with his own passion for his God.  May they be dealt with severely. In my anguish, I cried aloud,

“O God of Daniel please have mercy on me.  Please be with your servant Daniel and by your mighty hand, protect him.”

With the first light of dawn, I rushed across my courts to the lion’s den, the dew still fresh on the grass, soaking my sandals. I hoped for a miracle. As I reached the stone that had been rolled across the opening my heart beat loudly within my chest. I  gently placed my hand upon the stone and yelled, my voice echoing against the stone as I did.

“Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

I sat in silence my hand upon the cool surface; I could only hear the heavy breathing of the beasts on the other side. My mind raced and I trembled, fearful of what I had done.

Then, I heard a voice, Daniel’s voice, cry out:

“O king, live forever!  My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.  They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight.  Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”

Joy filled my soul! Daniel’s God had rescued him! Daniel’s God is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed!

As I sit here to pen this decree to my people, insisting that they serve the God of Daniel, I am amazed by the trust and faith of this man – Daniel, servant of God.

Daniel's Answer to the King by Briton Riviere 1890

“Daniel’s Answer to the King” by Briton Riviere, 1890

When the Lion Breathes on Your Neck

I’ve been reading the book of Daniel this week. Chapter 6 is narrated above.

As I continue to understand the importance of TRUSTING God; redefining what I seek, I wanted to read stories of the same.

Putting myself in the moment by trying to think like Daniel and King Darius, I am amazed by God’s power and Daniel’s faith.  More importantly how Daniel’s faith affected not only the king, but an entire kingdom.  Daniel’s trust led to King Darius writing a decree mandating that his people fear and reverence God.

I thought about the proverbial lions in my life and how I respond when I feel their breath upon my neck.

How do you respond?

In seeking to redefine richness and clearly define what we seek, you will face lions.  Voices of doubt that try to devour your calling.  I encourage you to remain like Daniel; thanking God despite the circumstances and persisting without exception.

What lions are you facing today?

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16 Responses to When a Lion Breathes on Your Neck

  1. Denise Beidler Jackson January 18, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    You were able to make me believe I was King Darius, that I was there. I felt the dew on my feet, and the panic in my heart. That is what good writing is to me. Thank you for this experience. Well done.

    • Matt Ham January 18, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Wow Denise! Thank you for your encouragement and for stopping by!

  2. Rod Semple January 18, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Matt, great to hear from you. I enjoy the way you fill out the Character in story.

    • Matt Ham January 18, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      Thanks Rod!

    • UBthelight January 18, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      Yes!! I agree!

  3. annepeterson January 18, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Loved it Matt. You captured it. Great job.

    • Matt Ham January 18, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Thanks Anne! Loved continuing this style!

      • annepeterson January 18, 2014 at 11:38 am #

        I just did one on Mary, Lazarus’ sister. Going to post today.

        • Matt Ham January 18, 2014 at 11:48 am #

          Fun Anne!

  4. Sarah {the fontenot four} January 18, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    I can definitely relate to this. There are a couple areas to which I feel called, but there are a lot of seeds of doubt that have been placed in my mind telling me all the reasons why I can’t or shouldn’t proceed. I know those seeds are not of God. I am trusting Him that He will work all of this out so that I can do what I feel like I have been called to. Thanks for this word this morning.

    • Matt Ham January 18, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      Sarah I have to constantly remind myself that the God I serve is not a God of doubt! Think about one specific thing you feel he is calling you to, what is it? Try focusing on one at a time; step by step

      • Sarah January 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

        Good advice. Thanks!

  5. UBthelight January 18, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    “Voices of doubt will seek to devour your calling”. Wow. Thanks for sharing.

    • Matt Ham January 18, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks! Do you hear those voices too?

      • UBthelight January 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

        Sure, but I know they are just voices of discouragement… ungodly. In the world it is hard to not let them seep into your thinking. Especially when you’re trying to be patient for God to open doors to walk in your calling. 🙂

        • Matt Ham January 19, 2014 at 3:27 am #

          Hmmm – that last line sounds familiar!