Today: [Daniel 06] The Lion’s Go Hungry. In this chapter we see a new king over the empire who favors Daniel just as Nebuchadnezzar did previously. Because of this great favor of God on Daniel’s life, a conspiracy is formed that results in Daniel being thrown into a den of hungry lions, that he might die. In your life, you also will face persecution and pressure from those who hate the God you serve. Know that as the angel was present to deliver Daniel likewise there is deliverance for you in your situation.
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[Dan 6:1-28 KJV] 1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel [was] first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit [was] in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. 4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he [was] faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find [it] against him concerning the law of his God. 6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. 10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask [a petition] of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing [is] true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which [is] of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. 14 Then the king, when he heard [these] words, was sore displeased with himself, and set [his] heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
In this chapter of Daniel we see a regime change chronicling the fall of the empire of Babylon and the rise of the Medes and the Persians. Thus, we see the “head of gold” in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream pass from the scene to be replaced by the shoulders and chest of silver, representing the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. Darius was the third king of the Persian empire, who upon overthrowing Babylon appointed governors over his kingdom and according to verse 2 appointed 3 rulers one of which was the prophet Daniel. Thus we see that Daniel survives the overthrow of Babylon and in fact retains his honor and power under the new king.
Apparently due to jealous over what they considered a usurper, the existing princes under Darius conspired to overthrow Daniel by using his faith against him. In verse 5 we see that as they spied out Daniel’s life the only accusation they could hope to bring against him was in regard to his religious beliefs. Thus, they colluded together to manipulate Darius the king into requiring all men should pray to him instead of to any other God on pain of death, for 30 days. Here we see Daniel’s integrity. How many of us would have joined Daniel in the lion’s den for failure NOT to pray to God in a 30 day time frame. Not only did Daniel not refuse to pray to Darius, he continued to pray to the one true God in a conspicuous manner in which the spies of the palace could report back to the king and the result was Daniel’s fate of being sentenced to death.
Verse 8 mentioned the well-known fact in history, that when a king of Persia would sign a decree, even he could not reverse it. Through these means then, those jealous of Daniel put the king in a very difficult place and also at the same time assured Daniel’s impending death because they were convinced that he would pray in violation of the king’s edict that for 30 days all men could only pray to him, that is the king as a living god. We might look to this as a curious tale but wonder what possible connection this could have to our own personal life? Certainly, it speaks to us as an example of piety under pressure. Daniel was not only a man who would pray, but even under pain of death he would not even for a short while forsake his prayer habit. What about the idea of praying to the king? We might think that we certainly would not in the modern day ever be put in such a position. However, let the question be asked, in Christian culture do we ever look to the government, or a political party for what we should look to the Lord for? Are we trusting to politics, or are we trusting to God almighty? The answer is seen reflected in what prompts and goads our passions. Are we as passionate in prayer as we are in political discourse? Does our passion for the prayer closet fill our conversation and social media postings as volumously or more so than our political rants on Facebook? Does that not constitute a false dependency? Nature hates a vacuum. If we do not practically depend and resort to God in prayer is it because we have no needs? Where are we looking to in hopes of addressing society’s ills, or our own specific needs, to the political as a false dependency, or to the throne of God in prayer. Prayerlessness is only one part of the problem, the idolatry that Christian culture has erected in place of prayer is obscene beyond any exaggeration.
15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians [is], That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. 16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast [him] into the den of lions. [Now] the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: [and] the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast [them] into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. 25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he [is] the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end. 27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Darius the king has now fallen into the trap set for him by his underlings. Daniel must die. The command is given and Daniel is sealed with the king’s seal in a den of ravenous lions. The only outcome that could be expected was the dismemberment and death of Daniel and (so hoped his enemies) that would be the end of this Hebrew usurper. Verse 18 tells us that the king, very upset that he has been so manipulated, returns to his palace and spends the night in fasting and prayer. He loves Daniel. Daniel is in the king’s favor. Very early in the morning the king arises and hastens to the lion’s den. Crying out in great sorrow, hoping against hope he calls to Daniel to see if he yet lives. Something about Daniel’s testimony to the one, true God gave the king hope that perhaps Daniel had survived the night. The answer that Daniel gives in verse 21 always touches my heart: “O king, live for ever…” Daniel has such a heart of compassion. He pitied Nebuchadnezzar when he interpreted the dream that caused him to live like an animal for 7 years. He pitied Belshazzar even though the handwriting of God had condemned the king to death that very night. Now he pities Darius, and shows more concern for Darius’ life than for his own, even as he stands among the ravening lions whose mouths had been stopped by the hand of God Himself.
Notice in verse 22 that Daniel does not attribute his survival in the night to anything other than the sovereign hand of God in sending an angel to preserve him. It is very possible that this angel would have been visible not only to the lions but to Daniel himself. This angel was very likely the same angel that was the fourth man in the fire that spared Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Whatever the case may be the king hastens to order Daniel’s release, and for their treachery those who accused Daniel are cast into the lion’s pit and were consumed even before they hit the floor. As a result of these events Darius sends forth a decree that all men under his regime were to tremble and honor the God of Daniel who had so miraculously delivered the man of God.
This is the God that you serve. This is the angelic host that is assigned to you as it was to Daniel. Perhaps you are not in danger of being devoured by hungry lions, but if you are living for God you will face persecution and pressure from those that are without. Make it your determination to have the integrity of heart and the compassion in your soul that Daniel walked in. Refuse to live in compromise. Be a man or a woman of prayer. Never bow to the intimidation of others. Know that in the moment where all seems lost – GOD WILL COME THORUGH for you as He did with Daniel. This is the promise of God’s word and is the assurance of heaven in your life as well as Daniel’s testimony.
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