Friday, November 6, 2015

Daniel and the Den (Daniel 6)

As we continue to go through our series on the book of Daniel, we run across another one of our familiar stories – that of Daniel and the Lion’s Den. As was true with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednago, this story details God’s sovereignty with regards to protecting His people.

The story starts by just explaining that Darius has elected to divide his land into 120 provinces, and set Daniel as the first President underneath him. Essentially, Daniel is seen as a highly elevated position because he is regarded as trustworthy.

This of course sparks jealousy from the other princes who desire to have Daniel’s position. So they want to find a reason that they could manage to get Daniel in trouble. After close examination of his life, this is what they found in verse 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.”

So these different leaders chose the only route that would make sense, they tricked the king to make a decree that no one in the land could pray to any god or man for thirty days except the king, or else be thrown into a den of lions. You know, no big deal whatsoever.

Now, of course, Daniel responded to this by doing exactly as he had before, praying three times a day, opening his windows. Most people focus on the fact that he did this exactly like he did aforetime, but that’s because it’s important, so I’m going to as well.

He apparently always opened his windows in his chamber before praying. He had made no effort to conceal it. I find this important because he didn’t purposefully open his windows to make a point of rebellion.

But I also think it is important because it would have been so easy to justify closing the windows. There is after all, no obligation to open your windows when you are praying to God, and if it could be possible to conceal your actions, then why not? But that’s not what Daniel did.

And so to further the progress along, he gets thrown into the den of lions and the king is upset. He doesn’t want to see Daniel be killed, and in that thought, we see the set-up for the declaration of the sovereignty of God. In verse 16, we read,
“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.”

Now at this point, we see that a stone is brought in front of the mouth of the den, so that there is no possibility that Daniel can escape, leaving no possibility of a human rescue.

And the king goes to his palace and fasts all night. No way to tell whether he is praying to any god, so let’s be careful not to read into this that he was pursuing the God of heaven at this time.

Early in the morning, the king leaves his palace, and comes to see the den of lions. In verses 20-23, we see the declaration of God’s sovereignty in this passage,
“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? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 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. Then was the king exceedingly 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.”

At this point, Daniel’s accusers are thrown into the den of lions, and their children, and their wives. I imagine this is quite a large group of people. And the lions had killed all of these people before they ever reached the bottom. I guess these weren’t just a bunch of tame lions for some reason…

And then we once again end with a foreign king (in this case the king of Persia), declaring the power and sovereignty of God.

“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.”

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