So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” Daniel 6:16 (NIV).
Even if you aren’t well-read on your Bible, chances are you’ve heard the story of Daniel in the lions’ den. Building up to now, we saw how Daniel’s peers were jealous of him and orchestrated a scheme to get him killed. Then, they smooth-talked the king into issuing a foolish edict. Then, they set Daniel up and got him sentenced to death without even a trial. That brings us to this verse, yet also remember a few key things to keep the story in context.
Daniel was most likely an old man when this happened, possibly a septuagenarian or octogenarian. Most paintings you see of Daniel and the lions show a young (and mostly naked) Daniel lounging on the rocks. This probably wasn’t the case. By the time this happened, Daniel would have been an old man, shuffling, trembling, but dressed in the finery of Persian Babylon. He would have showed courage and deep faith, yet he was also just an ordinary man of advanced age. I think that makes the story even more remarkable. Isn’t it amazing how God constantly uses seniors to demonstrate his most amazing glory? Think Daniel, and Jacob, Abraham, Moses, and even John later in life.
Also remember that Darius didn’t want to do this thing, yet he had unwisely ensnared himself in his own royal customs. The wily satraps had designed their scheme to trap both Daniel AND Darius, for there was more at stake for them than simply getting rid of a contrary Jew. If these experts and bureaucrats could control the words of the king, they could have anything they wanted. In verse 16, we read about an upright but reluctant Darius, one who knew of Daniel’s reputation and his scrupulous honesty. Perhaps they even were friends. Darius sent the innocent Daniel to an almost certain death, but only reluctantly so, imploring the ‘condemned’ to stand fast in his faith in this mysterious God. How ironic it is that the king who issued the decree commanding worship of only himself now implores his prisoner to enthusiastically break the royal law and put his faith only in the Lord.
What lions’ den have you been thrown into? Chances are, if you’ve lived any amount of time, you’ve faced down a dreadful thing or a terrible challenge. Did you believe the schemers who mocked you in your distress, or did you go humbly to our Lord and rest only in His protection and comfort? You’ve probably heard this story before. Come back tomorrow to learn about how God rescues us.
For further reading: Job 5:19, Psalm 37:39-40, Psalm 97:10, Daniel 6:17
Lord God, You and You alone are my only protection.
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