As I was preparing to write on a different topic this morning, I realized my Bible Study software still had a pane open to the passage of Daniel 6. I quickly skimmed the story, reminding myself of all I have learned from studying the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. As I reached the end of the chapter, I discovered I missed something very important.
Scripture always calls us to respond. And I did include some response actions in parts 1-3, however this morning I became fascinated with King Darius’ response to the incident over all, and I wondered what that would mean for us.
We pick up the story after Daniel has been found to be safe from the lions:
23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
The king was not just glad, he was exceedingly glad to find Daniel unharmed. But this is what I find interesting: Daniel was unharmed not just because God sent an angel to shut the lion’s mouths, but “because he had trusted in his God.” Wow! It’s not just that God randomly saved Daniel because he was a good guy. No, Daniel was unharmed due to his trust in his God. Do we have that level of trust? I know that I do not. Oh, I try to. I try to trust Him with the day-to-day challenges that come along, but honestly I find myself trusting myself more than I trust God. How often do I pray to God for help, then impatiently try to find the answer myself?
I find it very hard to trust. Maybe you do too. But look at the results in fully relying on God!! Daniel was unharmed in the midst of lions! And, if he had been eaten alive, he knew he would soon be with God, so everything would be ok. That’s the kind of trust I hope to have in God some day. But it takes work. It takes building a relationship with God. Spending time with Him. It takes discipline. And it means exercising our faith, no matter how little it may be.
The king was very angry. He had been deceived. Daniel had been “maliciously accused”. Have you ever been maliciously accused of something you didn’t do? I have and it’s an exasperating and frightening experience. One time early in our ministry during a business meeting we were accused of collecting welfare which made the church look bad for not paying us a salary above the poverty line. It was completely and utterly untrue–I had never even considered getting welfare, in spite of our very low salary! To be maliciously accused hurts. Especially when you don’t understand it. Especially when you are given no explanation.
So the king threw the malicious men into the fire, along with their families. Harsh punishment? Yes, I think so. Especially to kill the families along with the men. But the king was the King, and could make that decision. And all of a sudden these lions whose mouths had been shut, became incredibly hungry.
This next part I have questions about. I’m not sure if King Darius became a believer in the one true God, or else he just added God to the other gods that he worshipped. Either way, his response was one of reverence and even worship. You can see that here:
for he is the living God,
his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion shall be to the end.
27 He delivers and rescues;
he works signs and wonders
in heaven and on earth,
he who has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
The right response is worship. It is worship!! How often do we forget this, when God saves us or answers our prayers or grants us grace? I know I forget often, that my response should be complete worship of my God. Even when I can’t sense His presence or the answers do not come, my responsibility is to worship.
The very end of Daniel gives us one more clue as to Daniel’s character. It says:
You see, Daniel continued to prosper and serve King Darius throughout his old age, on into the reign of Cyrus. And King Cyrus was the King responsible for beginning to bring the Jewish people back together after the Babylonian Captivity. From being kidnapped as a teenager to watching his people start to be reunited in his old age, Daniel came full circle.
How about our lives? Will we have to wait all our life for some things to come full circle? Maybe. And maybe they never will. Maybe that hurt will always remain. But even if it does, we have a loving God who is the one true God, worthy of our worship whether He rescues us from our “lion’s den” or not.