Lesson Twenty Two


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Memory Verse: Psalm 34:7
Further Study: Daniel 6; Prophets and Kings, 539-548; The Bible Story, vol. 6, pp. 55-59

The job offer came unexpectedly. I had trained as a student for two years in my profession and recently graduated. I had worked in the field about six months when I was called in by the head of the department where I was offered the job of director of the school! This was not a school for children. It was in a hospital setting and 16 students were trained per year—the same school I had recently graduated from. I was completely taken off guard but accepted the position. That’s when it all began.

I was completely taken off guard but accepted the position. That’s when it all began.

I had worked with my colleagues for three years. We were friends. We shared assignments—working together with patients, eating lunch, talking in the locker room as we arrived and left shifts. We were friends. But not after I accepted that promotion. Everyone stopped talking to me, walked the other way, or left when I entered the staff lounge. For someone who was young and just entering the workforce, it was devastating. Two weeks from that initial job offer, I gave serious thought to deciding not to accept after all. 

God is in control in all circumstances.

Studying the first six chapters of Daniel offers the same lesson which bears repeating: God is in control in all circumstances. A corollary to this is to stay true to your faith and what you believe in. Why? Because God is in control. Each chapter offers a story that emphasizes this lesson. Now we reach the climax in Daniel 6—Daniel in the lion’s den. Let’s note three characteristics of Daniel.

Daniel was committed. Daniel was taken from his home in Jerusalem as a teenager. He is now an old man. He made a promise to God on that long walk to Babylon 60 years ago and he is still honoring that commitment no matter the circumstances.

Daniel was consistent. Daniel had formed a habit of worship. We know this because he prays three times a day. We can assume he also kept the Sabbath. His consistent life of worship was well-known to any who knew him. The threat of hungry lions didn’t deter his worship. 

Daniel was calm amid controversy. We’ve studied several stories of Daniel in challenging situations whether he was dealing with an unsavory menu, appeasing an angry king, delivering difficult interpretations to dreams, or death, Daniel remained calm.

I wasn’t facing death by lion at the hospital, but I do remember determining that those around me wouldn’t control my future. 

I wasn’t facing death by lion at the hospital, but I do remember determining that those around me wouldn’t control my future. Like Daniel, I was feeling the opposition of my colleagues who didn’t feel I should be promoted to my position. My students needed to pass a national board at the end of the year. At that point there had never been a class where all the students had passed. I dug in and taught those students with every fiber of my being. It was a long and difficult year I faced mostly alone. The day the results came in, when they all passed, everyone started talking to me again. Committed, consistent, and calm (most of the time) amid controversy, I had proven myself.

I don’t know where you are right now or what trials you face. While we’re not subject to hungry lions, sometimes it feels like we are when people treat us unkindly or we are shunned. Daniel’s life teaches us that in spite of our circumstances we are to remain committed, lead a life of consistent witness, and remain calm even in controversy. Why? Because God is in control. We need not be discouraged but renewed. God’s got this.

Digging Deeper 

As I studied this story I encountered an interesting comparison of Daniel to Jesus.* Note the parallel experiences:

Daniel was framed on false charges by Persian leaders.
Jesus was framed on false charges by religious leaders.

Daniel was detained while praying at a private location—his home.
Jesus was arrested while praying at a private location—Gethsemane.

Darius worked for Daniel’s release without success.
Pilate worked to release Jesus without success.

Daniel was turned over to be executed by lions.
Jesus was turned over to be executed on a cross.

Where the foreshadow (Daniel) differs from reality (Jesus) underlining the superiority of God:
Daniel emerges from the den without a scratch.
Jesus dies. He was put into a tomb but emerges triumphant!

*Tremper Longman III, Daniel, The NIV Application Commentary series, Zondervan Publishing, 1999, p. 172.


Making it Real

It seems appropriate to sing, hum, or read the lyrics to “Dare to be a Daniel.” This song was extremely popular in my youth. We sang it with gusto as it should be. If you don’t know it, learn it this week. Sing it in family worship adding a verse each day. Talk or think about what it means to “be a Daniel” today.

You can find the song sung by children here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k7wqHUpJOI
If you know the tune, but have forgotten the lyrics, here they are for your convenience:

Dare to be a Daniel
Dare to stand alone
Dare to have a purpose firm
Dare to make it known.

Standing by a purpose true
Heeding God’s command
Honor them, the faithful few
All hail to Daniel’s band. Refrain.

Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.


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