Athlete, Convictions Require Courage
Daniel 6:20 (NASB)
’Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?
Daniel was part of a group of Jewish young men deported to Babylon to serve in the royal court. Through the years, Daniel often served in elevated positions because of the respect he gained by his character.
Now pushing 90, he was appointed to a position over the entire kingdom. That appointment aroused the jealousy of other Babylonian leaders who plotted to bring him down. You can read the whole story in Daniel 6.
They trapped the king into making a decree that anyone who prayed to any God besides the king would be thrown to the lions. They knew their plot would work because Daniel’s convictions would prevent him from worshipping anyone but God.
Daniel’s response to the decree was to continue his daily practice of kneeling in prayer to God in front of his upper story window. He made his allegiance to God obvious to those who plotted against him.
Daniel spent a quiet night with lions as an angel had closed their mouths. The king, sorry he had been betrayed, retrieved Daniel from the den the next morning and then threw his accusers to the lions.
Winston Churchill, who led Great Britain through the devastation of World War II, said, “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities … because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” In other words, without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.
A wide receiver can have All-Pro hands and speed, but his abilities are meaningless if he lacks the courage to run routes over the middle. How effective are leadership skills if a leader has no courage to speak up?
It has been said that fear is a reaction; courage is a decision. John Wayne said it best, “Courage is being scared to death — and saddling up anyway.”
We don’t know if fear affected Daniel’s emotions. Considering the consequences of his decision, we know his actions took courage. Today it is easy to say you believe in God, but it will require courage to live for Him.