A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel’s fate. The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting. At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?”
“O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.”
When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.
[Daniel 6:17-23 The Message]
First things first, here’s some context for this story. The entire book of Daniel was written about Daniel, a prophet, and his fellow exiles. The book takes place after the first Babylonian attack on Jerusalem. Daniel and his friends were taken captive and escorted to the palace of the Babylonian king. They are put into a position where they have to assimilate to their captor’s culture and learn how to live, while simultaneously maintaining their faith. The book is full of challenges and stories of triumph. Daniel 6, in particular, recounts how Daniel’s peers and subordinates get really jealous of him because he has found favor with the Babylonian king and been appointed to a high position. Daniel’s enemies are trying to find a reason that he should be charged with a crime. They are so determined that they go great lengths to have a law put into place that gets Daniel thrown into the lion’s den. They set the trap, and Daniel gets caught. They thought that they’d won. That’s when it gets interesting.
The morning after Daniel had been shut in the lion’s den, surely left for death, he emerged without a scratch on him. He had remained faithful. He had refused to let law and culture dictate his relationship with God. And when they tried to have him killed, their plan backfired. That is insane. This chapter illustrates the miraculous rescue of Daniel
It’s easy to read that story from beginning to end and gloss over the fact that Daniel couldn’t have known in a worldly sense that he was going to be okay. When I imagine myself in Daniel’s shoes, I can’t imagine having faith like that, but I can follow that example. I think that is the greatest takeaway we get from this story. The example of Daniel’s faith and trust in God is so steady. In the face of extraordinary circumstances, Daniel was convinced that God was good. He was convinced that God was the number one priority in his life.
So how does that apply to you? Great question. Do you ever feel like you are stuck in circumstances that are outside of your control? Most parts of our life aren’t really in our control. Things like our family, our health, our future, all of that stuff… it’s all a little uncertain. But this is certain - we have access to God. Daniel understood this. He understood that every day, the best thing he could do was seek relationship with God. We can do that. We get to do that. I think that Daniel’s diligence in seeking out God is probably a huge reason that he was so able to remain calm and faithful when his life looked like it was crashing down around him.
So challenge yourself today. Seek out time with God. Get out your journal, pray, worship, and enjoy spending time in His presence. He is so eager to spend time with you. I promise!
- Sarah S.