As a government official, who was an exiled Jew, Daniel was not popular among the rest of his colleagues. He lived a life devoted to worshipping God, bearing a gift for interpreting dreams and visions. Daniel was “distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps” and “the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom”[Daniel 6:3].
A recipe for jealousy.
Since the other guys didn’t like him much, and they couldn’t find anything he had done wrong, they concocted a plan to get rid of him, by going after something he did right; his worship.
They got king Darius to sign a law prohibiting anyone from praying to anything or anyone, other than the king, for 30 days, or else face a den of hungry lions.
Sounded good to king Darius in theory, I guess.
Daniel makes the courageous choice to continue to pray to God, his enemies catch him in the act, Darius is shocked that his law has brought his best man Daniel facing the lions. The king searches out every way to rescue Daniel, but he falls short, and Daniel is brought to the lions.
Daniel: Obedience May Cost Us
Daniel was a respected official, the authority of the entire Babylonian kingdom was about to rest in his hands. Yet, he wasn’t liked by those around him. He knew that this new law was targeting him, he knew he was the victim in this whole situation.
Daniel recognized that to honor God, was to obey Him, no matter what the consequences would be. He could have chosen to wait 30 days before he would pray again, or he could have hidden himself to pray somewhere else, you know, just until the whole thing blew over. But he didn’t. He chose the path of obedience, and it cost him a night with some hungry lions.
We may find ourselves unpopular, especially when we hold biblical views in a secular culture. What will it cost us? What will we choose?
Darius: Waiting Expectantly
Working together with Daniel would mean that king Darius likely had a working understanding of his faith, and who Daniel believed Almighty God to be. Out of care and concern for his friend, the king earnestly seeks out a solution to save Daniel from the lions, but he couldn’t.
After exhausting all options that were humanely possible, Darius spends the night fasting.
More often than I’d like, I see myself doing this, working hard to do everything in my power, and when I fail, I ask the Lord to help. What would it look like for us to ask for His help, and let Him lead and guide us to the solutions.
The Den: God’s Deliverance
We see the rest of the story, when morning comes. Sunlight dawns, and the king races to the den.
He was waiting all night, expecting that the Almighty God could save Daniel. He cries out into the den in anguish “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” [Daniel 6:22]
Is He able to deliver you?
That morning, Daniel answered the king’s cry. God had sent an angel to shut the mouths of the hungry lions. Perhaps they were still drooling across the den floor, but they didn’t touch him.
A decree went out throughout Babylon, written by the king, testifying to God’s power and goodness in rescuing Daniel from the lions. What an amazing proclamation, for all the nations to hear.
How well do we testify God's goodness, to the world around us?
Our God is more than able to deliver us! Most importantly, He already has, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We can be free from the chains of sin and the burdens of this life and live in the hope and power He gives us, as we wait for His return to make all things new.
We may sit in the den as a consequence for our obedience, but we are sitting there already delivered. No matter what situation you face, if you love and follow Jesus, you are delivered. He is able to give you what you need for this day, for this moment. We must persevere in hope, and trust that in all things He is at work, both in and around us.
Be encouraged today, that even in shining the light of Jesus, we may face trials of persecution. We can step forward courageously in obedience, knowing that we can expect God to move, and that our hope rests in the truth - we have been delivered.
When is the last time your good choices led to a trial of some sort? How did you respond? What was the outcome?
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