2009-11-12 - The Lion's Den
Daniel 6:15-16 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, "Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed." 16 Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions' den The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you." (NASB)
This is probably one of the best known stories in the Bible. Here we find Darius tricked by the leaders in his government that he himself had appointed. They were jealous of Daniel's favor with the king and crafted a way to either discredit Daniel or destroy him. When Darius is told that Daniel has ignored the law that they had suggested and the king had accepted he realized that he too had been trapped. All attempts to support Daniel were blocked. The law of the Medes and the Persians applied to the king as well and could not be revoked. The king's statement to Daniel as the stone was rolled over the mouth of the lion's den was more of hope than of faith that Daniel would be spared.
Not surprisingly we are told that Darius was unable to sleep all night. The king himself had sealed the stone with his signet ring preventing anyone from altering the sentence that was specified by the injunction. Darius came as early as he could holding the strands of hope that his friend was still alive. The framing of Darius' question is interesting: ... has your God been able to deliver you? The witness of God in Daniel's life was the hope that the king of the greatest empire the world had known clung to that morning. Daniel was able to answer King Darius assuring him that God had delivered him from the hungry beasts and had found Daniel innocent.
Could the Lord have delivered Daniel in some way that kept him from having to pass through the lion's den? Certainly. But God had determined that Daniel would not be saved from but through the lion's den. Daniel, like his young friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, was delivered from certain death through his trial. Daniel sensed the presence of God's angel and the three young men were joined by a preincarnate appearance of Christ in the fiery furnace as the forth man seen in the fire. The three youths had proclaimed to then King Nebuchadnezzar that their God was able to deliver them, though that deliver was not assured. Either way they would not dishonor their God as Daniel also had continued to faithfully pray.
What is your lion's den?
Sarah grew impatient and gave her servant Hagar to her husband to bear the son that God had promised. How things would have been different if Sarah had not faultered. Before we are too hard on Sarah, a look in the mirror is probably appropriate. When have settled for what was not God's promise? When have we not stood up for our faith when the situation we were in got difficult or became tempting? Before we start throwing stones we should be aware of the house of glass that we live in before the Lord.
Is your God able? Sarah was able to rejoice in her son Isaac who was born to her when she was decades beyond child-bearing years. She had been shown her failure and learned from it. The witness to Darius, Daniel's accusers and the nation was deep and powerful.
Our God is able. Selah.
Grace & Peace,