Lion reading: Daniel 6:1-28
Daniel enters our march towards Jesus’ birth. His story is of steadfast faith and obedience. NOTHING was going to stop Daniel from serving his God. Not even threat of death.
Daniel was a man of integrity. He couldn’t be bought. He didn’t respond to threats. He followed God with all his heart, his mind, and his soul. He was the king’s most faithful servant. He followed all the king’s edicts when they didn’t conflict with God’s laws or following Him.
Daniel was one of the three highest men in the kingdom, under the king. King Darius was planning on making him THE top man under him. This brought jealousy from all the other leaders. Daniel was a Hebrew after all; NOT one of their own people. Something had to be done to get Daniel in trouble to prevent the king for elevating him once again.
Try as they might, the other leaders could find no fault in Daniel’s performance of his duties or his character. The ONLY way to trap him was to make worship of his God illegal. Not an impossible thing because most other nations considered their king a god. Darius would therefore be simply declaring this one month his exclusive month.
When these disgruntled leaders approached king Darius they hid the real reason they wanted this edict. They only had one man in mind when making this new law; Daniel. If others got caught up in it, so much the better. They also only asked for this law for a short span of time; one month.
When king Darius agreed to this, his ego completely blocked his recall of Daniel. EVERYONE knew of Daniel’s devotion to his God. Daniel could be counted on as surely as the sun. Three times a day he would stop whatever he was doing and return to his special spot and pray to God. In Darius’ mind this injunction was to catch the rebellious while the others had planned it catch the righteous.
The penalty is interesting. It left room for God to intervene. When Jesus was crucified there wasn’t any doubt in the outcome. The Sanhedrin made certain ALL prisoners died that day on Golgotha. The two men who were with Jesus had their legs broken to ensure the outcome. Crucifixion = certain death. We know Jesus didn’t STAY dead but he DID die. With Daniel, if/when he disobeyed this injunction, he would be put in a place of expected death but not a surety.
Daniel refused to honor ANYONE above his God. He knowingly and willingly broke the king’s injunction. And he got caught doing so. I wonder if those seeking to catch him did it right away or if they held off hoping Daniel and king Darius wouldn’t recognize this was a plot specifically designed to catch Daniel.
King Darius had no legal option but to send Daniel to the lion’s den. He tried all day to find a way out of this situation but found none. When he finally did send Daniel to his punishment, it was with a heavy heart. But it was also with a hint of hope. “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” (verse 16b).
Darius was NOT mocking Daniel or his God, but urging him to call out to God for help. Darius spent the night fasting for Daniel’s safety. When morning came he hurried to the pit to check on Daniel. “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” (verse 20b).
Daniel was fine. There wasn’t a mark on him. He trusted in God and GOD delivered him. God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions. Not permanently though because as soon as Daniel was safe, those who sought his life took his place in the pit and before they even reached the bottom the lions were tearing them limb from limb.
King Darius and all those under his rule were commanded to serve only Daniel’s God from that day forward. King Darius recognized Daniel’s God as the “living God” who is able to do wonders.
One man’s faith and obedience to the Lord changed the whole kingdom.
Not every issue, even one of life and death, is guaranteed to work out the way Daniel’s plight did. If it did, none of Jesus’ disciples would have been killed. Jesus wouldn’t have died on the cross either. The thing that IS sure is that those who follow God WILL be with Him for eternity. Death is NOT the end!
Daniel chose the surety of his eternal future over the uncertainty of this life. He was willing to walk into the lion’s den if that was the fate for those who put their faith in the Lord. He wasn’t told before going in that God would shut the loin’s mouths. He simply trusted God to care for him; in this life or in the next.
Jesus had that same kind of faith and obedience. He willingly walked to Calvary. He faithfully remained on the cross. He knew there was no other way and He chose to obey. He trusted His Father to make all things right. And He DID! Our world was changed as a result of His obedience.
Lord Jesus, thank You for choosing obedience. Thank You Father for sending Your angels to Daniel. Help me follow in both Daniel’s and Jesus’ footsteps of obedience. I know that only Jesus made the journey from cradle to grave without sin but Daniel did a pretty good job under the circumstances. Build my faith to that point Lord. I put my life in Your hands; on earth and in Heaven.