Go Beyond with Faith
An online Vacation Bible School Study for Youth and Adults, part 2
Many space stories feature what we call alien life forms, but the word alien doesn’t always mean a creature from a galaxy far, far away. It also refers to anyone in a place other than their home country, an outsider. In our first Bible story we will meet, Daniel, an alien in a foreign land who showed great faith in God. We will consider how we too can Go Beyond with Faith. (Please read Daniel Chapter 6)
Have you ever felt like an outsider/alien? What made you feel that way?
The Bible story is set in Babylon during the captivity of the Jews. King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and took many of its people, including Daniel back to Babylon. Daniel was selected to serve the king personally. Though the Judeans impressed their supervisors with wisdom and skill, they clashed over religious matters.
Daniel rose through the ranks and become 2nd in command to King Darius. Other leaders were threatened by this and wanted to get Daniel in trouble and planned to use Daniel’s faith against him. The other leaders convinced King Darius to make a law stating it be illegal for anyone to pray to any God or human being other than the king with a punishment of death in a den of lions.
When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he knelt down and prayed and praised his God, just like he had done every day. Daniel knew his relationship with God had brought him wisdom, strength, and happiness. He trusted God to continue to take care of him. If you were Daniel, would you continue praying even though it was against the law? Are there modern day examples of a group of people standing up for their beliefs when they were not in the majority?
Although Kind Darius didn’t want to throw Daniel to the lions, he had no choice but to follow the law. King Darius who had not previously had an allegiance to God, made a strong statement of faith by stating to Daniel, “God, the one you serve so consistently, will rescue you.” (6:16) That is exactly what happened the next morning when they lifted Daniel out without a scratch on his body. Because Daniel had trusted in his God, he had been kept safe from the lions.
It is important to note that, while scripture states many such miraculous rescues at God’s hands, there are plenty of other examples where God’s people suffered and died for their faith. God’s love and protection does not mean we will be spared from all consequences, pain and even physical death. We should not trust God for a specific desired outcome, but that God loves us and will work with all that the world throws at us.
Daniel was a strong leader. Not only did he have an official position in the king’s court, he also led by example. What are we doing well as a church or community to lead by example? Are their ways we can do better? Are there ways we could go beyond? Daniel operated out of the gifts God had given him, and he used them to improve the lives of others. When we lack faith in God’s work and presence in our lives, it is easy to compromise our core values as we become needy for others’ approval. Daniel’s example encourages us to stand firm and trust not in our gifts alone, but in God working through those gifts to help and advance us in amazing ways.
As you consider your life and the world around you, what might God’s invitation be as it relates to this story? How are your talents and skills being used for God?
Not sure what your gifts might be? Try taking this spiritual gift assessment. I promise you, you have many gifts to give that make our world a better.
Please strengthen us in our inner selves from the riches of your glory through the Holy Spirit. Help us to grasp your love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. Help us to receive the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge, and to grow in our faith in your presence and power at work with us always. Amen.