Random verse for the day:
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. (Dan 6:19)
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. (Dan 6:20-21)
The chapter in general:
Hmmm... Did I remember to add Daniel to my list of favorite characters in my profile? I LOVE that man, that brother! I love this chapter, too! It's an account of miraculous intervention and divine (and poetic) justice, and the unfailing power of God to protect those who put their faith in Him and turn every weapon forged against them to their benefit!
The chapter opens with Persian/Median King Darius, having recently taken the kingdom and the realm from Babylonian King Belshazzar (who was killed in the process), appointing 120 princes over different jurisdictions in the realm, and three presidents over them, chief of whom was Daniel by virtue of his already notable service to the Babylonian kings Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar and the spirit of wisdom found in him.
Soon, the new king favors Daniel so much over the others that he considers appointing him to a position of authority over the entire realm, including not only all 120 appointed princes in their respective jurisdictions, but over the presidents they were bound to report to (of which Daniel was one at the time).
Not surprisingly, that didn't sit well with the princes or the other presidents who would have come under Daniel's authority, which would have become supreme in the land, second only to that of the king himself. They conspired to find some fault in Daniel they could exploit to get him out of the way, but because he was faithful to the Living God, no transgression could be found in him.
Not comprehending what they were up against, they then conspired to create a situation that would force him to transgress, at which time they would call him out on it to the king. This they do by convincing the king to decree an edict requiring that anyone who would make supplication to any deity other than himself for the next 30 days was to be thrown into a den of lions. They knew Daniel wouldn't comply because he was faithful to his God alone and indeed considered Him to be the one and only true God.
The king lets himself be duped by these men, but soon comes to regret it when they come to him with news of Daniel's continued faithfulness to his God and his steadfastness in prayer, even in the face of the king's decree.
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. 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. 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. (Dan 6:12-14)
According to the law of the Medes and Persians, once the king decreed a law, nothing could be done to change it, not even by the king himself. The conspirators seem to have been aware that King Darius was looking for a way to spare Daniel, so they remind him that his hands are tied.
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. (Dan 6:15)
Yup. Things aren't looking good for Daniel. Backed into a corner by his own pride and his own words, the king orders Daniel thrown into the lion's den, but he encourages Daniel on the way, telling him that the living God he worships is able to save him.
How 'bout that? Daniel must have made quite an impression on King Darius in the short time since his conquest of the Babylonians, no? And how stupid must have King Darius felt, knowing that he had been tricked into shooting himself in the foot by putting the life of his most valued and trusted governmental officer in jeopardy? The conspirators didn't only put Daniel in a bad position, they made the king look stupid by exploiting his prideful nature.
In compliance with the king's unchangeable decree, Daniel is thrown into the lion's den, and a stone is rolled over the mouth of the den to prevent his escape. The king spends the night fretting and fasting, and when morning came, the king arose early and rushed to the lion's den to see if Daniel had indeed come through it alive. He calls to him from the mouth of the lion's den, asking whether the Living God he worships was able to save him indeed. He is overjoyed by what he discovers, and, I'm sure, astonished. Not only did Daniel survive the night in the lion's den; he came through it without a scratch!
Daniel's response from out of the lion's den shows him to be a man of God and of wisdom:
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 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. (Dan 6:19-21)
Can you imagine? You, a king, are tricked into sending a man to a gruesome death. You know he's been a faithful servant to you and has done nothing to deserve punishment, but your hands have been tied by deceitful men and the law. You sweat it all night, you go to the scene of the execution early in the morning, call out to the victim hoping against hope that your mistake hasn't cost him his life, and what do you hear out of the lion's den?
"Oh king, live forever."
The news that he had survived was itself reason to rejoice for the king, but imagine how it must have warmed his heart to hear those forgiving words of loyalty! Not only has the man survived in miraculous fashion, but he is still loyal and kind toward you, having forgiven you the error and the trial you've put him through. That must have warmed the king's heart indeed.
But that warmth turned red hot when he thought about the men who had conspired to bring this about. They'd made a fool of him and nearly cost him the most valuable servant in the realm.
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. (Dan 6:24)
So what can we learn from this story? Try this on for size:
It's easy to be faithful to God when things are going well, but when we remain faithful to Him in the face of adversity, persecution or even death, we become a testimony, and more than that, we become agents by which God makes his glory and power known to his enemies and the whole world.
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 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. 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. (Dan 6:25-27)
Regardless of what the world may throw at us, no matter how evil or cruel or malicious their intent toward us, God is able to make all things, even those which are devised against us, work for our good.
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. (Dan 6:28)
He is faithful, His power is absolute, and He reigns over all. What more do you need to know?
Thought for the day:
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. (Isa 54:17)
"... my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2Cor 12:9)