I’ve been asking myself lately, where is my focus? Where should my focus be? So many things are wrong in this world, and much of the news is bad. In fact, many things today are just terrible, and it seems to be getting worse. It is easy to be negative. I think it may even be our natural bent as humans.
In 1890, Briton Rivière painted an illustration I saw recently of the Biblical story of Daniel in the lions den. In Daniel in chapter six, King Darius planned to put Daniel in charge of his whole kingdom because he had distinguished himself above all others. Daniel’s opponents seemed jealous of his skill and ethical behavior. As a result, they secretly devised a plan to get rid of him. Over 120 of these leaders went before King Darius and convinced him to issue an irrevocable decree that no one could worship anyone or any thing except the king for the next thirty days. Anyone found disobeying the decree was to be thrown in the lion’s den.
Daniel’s opponents knew that Daniel got on his knees and prayed three times a day, every day, giving thanks to the Lord. They counted on his faithfulness to find fault in him before the king. After the decree, Daniel never hesitated. The Bible says that Daniel continued praying to God just as he had done in the past. Once the king was told of Daniel’s violation of the decree, he was reluctantly compelled to throw Daniel into the lion’s den.
The artist, Rivière, presents a very interesting perspective in his painting of Daniel’s situation in the lion’s den. In the painting, Daniel is not focused on or looking at the large group of hungry lions. His back is turned from the lions. Daniel, in the painting, is focused completely away from the lions and upward and on the Lord, who every day heard and answered his prayers. The painting is titled – Daniel’s Answer to the King.
I have to ask myself, what am I focused on these days. Bad news sells and in its own way, is attractive to draw us to it, BUT — God has a positive plan for all the problems in this world. He wants our focus on Him. He calls us not to fear. He has a purpose for us and calls us to shine. We must shine, not as just a ‘little light’ like the children’s song says, but brightly, clearly, and proudly, shining and showing the way to Him.
In spite of his situation and all of his problems, Daniel kept his focus on the Sovereign of all things and the Source for life both now and eternally. Daniel’s attitude is powerful and inspiring. The story of God’s provision for Daniel in the midst of the predators and problems he faced is magnificent!
The Bible says in I Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Yes, the devil – the lion of this world – the evil is all out there. But, let’s remember that the Lord is listening to his servants. He loves us and will protect and care for us.
I’m inspired to be more positive and bold by this wonderful painting and the true story of Daniel, who was an exile in a foreign land doing his best to serve God first and then his fellow man. I pray that I will keep my focus on the One who holds the world in His hands.
Romans 8: 31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 14:8 says, “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
I think Daniel knew these things well. I’m still learning. I’m learning to lean on these verses. I hope in them, and I hope this story and these verses will give you hope and inspire you as well to stand, and shine, and show the way for souls who are lost without His love.
May God richly bless us all in our service to Him.