I’ve been examining the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den this week after hearing the first part of a two part sermon on the subject. Actually, I’ve become very fascinated with the story, as there is so much more there than what I was taught in Sunday School growing up.
I never knew the depth of the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. To me, it’s always just been a story. Or, worse than that, a folk tale. Until I really began to look at the scriptures in Daniel 6 this week, I had no idea how much truth was contained in this “children’s” story.
I left off with Daniel in the Lion’s Den, in the dark, facing the lions. What I want to note today is the king’s response to Daniel. Daniel was a favorite of the king; the king really liked Daniel, so he was torn apart when he found out he would have to throw Daniel into the Lion’s Den for worshipping the only true God. You can see the king’s reaction here:
What is shocking–absolutely shocking–is the King’s outburst to Daniel being thrown into the den. He says “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” It is almost as if the king is making an appeal to the one true God for Daniel’s deliverance. He recognizes that Daniel serves his God continually–that Daniel has a close relationship with his God–and he appeals to that relationship for hope that Daniel might be spared. He uses the word “deliver”. Remember this, it’s going to be important later on.
The king then returns to the palace terribly messed up: fasting and not sleeping.
The next morning at dawn, the king runs to the den to seek Daniel’s fate. Look for the word “deliver” again in these verses:
As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”
The king cries out in anguish, certain that his friend Daniel has been torn to pieces by the lions. He asks “…..has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Miraculously, the answer is yes. Daniel’s God sent His angel to shut the lion’s mouths, because Daniel was blameless before God and before the king.
Deliverer–Daniel’s God delivered Him. Daniel’s God–and My God–is a God of deliverance. The definition of “deliverance” is “salvation” or “liberation”; both of which happened to Daniel in this incident. He was saved and he was liberated from the lions.
But what about us today? Does God still deliver us today when we cry out to Him? Why does He sometimes choose to not deliver us from terrible difficulty? What does deliverance look like?
These are all questions I have when it comes to the concept of God’s deliverance. And I don’t have the answers. I know without a shadow of a doubt He has delivered me from dependence upon alcohol. More importantly, He has granted me deliverance and salvation from what I deserve, which is punishment for my sins. God is definitively a God of deliverance.
But I also know that He has chosen at times to not deliver me, or my crew and I, from tremendous hardship. I have asked Him repeatedly to deliver us from the financial difficulty, yet he allows us to continue to sit right on the brink between survival and disaster. He has always provided for our needs, don’t get me wrong. But relief from the anxiety each month would be such a gift. There are other things I’ve asked Him to deliver me from; for example, real depression that causes me to want to hide. I’ve begged for deliverance and yet that pain continues.
But Scripture is truth, and that is what I must cling to. And throughout scripture we are told that God is a God of deliverance and salvation. Skim the Psalms and see how many times you see those two words used as the psalmist cries out to God.
And look at the Gospel: God ultimately delivered His son through resurrection, which provides us the gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of His son. The ultimate gift of deliverance.
My friends, I know that sometimes it seems as if you may never be delivered from the hardships/difficulties that you find yourself in. Maybe you feel as if you will never be delivered from a sin that entangles your soul. But cling to the scriptures and keep running to God. Keep asking Him, but also ask Him to give you the strength to endure if He chooses not to deliver you from your lion’s den.
And if you don’t know the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I’d love to talk to you about it. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me here and we can make arrangements to talk.
I am so grateful that God is a God of deliverance. A God of Salvation. A God of liberation. O, my soul, how I long to be as faithful as Daniel was in serving his God–my God–continually, regardless of whether He delivers me from difficulties or not.