June 13, 2006

The Lion's Den

Daniel in the bibleThe Story of Daniel and the Lion's Den is found in the Old Testament Book of Daniel, Chapter 6: Verse 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 afore time.

What was Daniel thrown in the den for? Daniel, as the story in the Bible tells us, prayed 3 times a day to God as was his habit. Some of the Kings subjects were jealous of Daniel and so,they devised a plan for his downfall. They dug a pit for Daniel, but they were the ones that ultimately fell in it!

Verse 4-9:
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 counselors, 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.
Then we take up with the verse that I previously mentioned about Daniel Knowing that the decree had already been signed and he went in and prayed anyway.
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.
The men that plotted Daniel's downfall wasted no time in finding him praying so that they could accuse him and be rid of him:
11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
But the King's heart was set to deliver Daniel, God had given Daniel favor with the King and the King loved Daniel. Notice how the King felt when he discovered that Daniel had went against the decree that was plotted by the officers:
Verses 14 &15
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.
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.

Daniel is at that point tossed into the Den with the Lions:

Verse 16 and 17:
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.

Daniel is tossed into the Den.
Daniel's deliverance and impact on the King

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music 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 innocence 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.

God keeps Daniel safe from the Lions!

Daniel suffered the ultimate persecution because of faith in his God. Yet even when faced with death, he opened his windows and prayed. This was something that was not going to keep Daniel from his obedient relationship with his God. Oh that we had more Daniel's these days.
But you know what? We do!
There are those today that will not bow the knee to man and man's theology. They will only be obedient to the truth. They will only be obedient to God and no other. Being persecuted when we have not done what is right is one thing, but suffering persecution when you do the RIGHT thing, now that is one of the hardest things to take. It is for me anyway.
When we are persecuted for doing what is right in the eyes of God, we do have reason to rejoice as Christ said. All too many times though, we prefer to say we're being "persecuted" when in fact we are not.

What happened to Daniel as a result of his faithfulness to God was the most classic case of persecution.
Daniel was obedient to the King, except in matters pertaining to his God. That is how we should be in this time we live in. These are perilous times. Just as we read about them in the bible, they are indeed and even more so than we could have ever imagined at times. But it helps to know that we can call out to God no matter the perilous nature of our times.

Daniel was so disciplined wasn't he?
3 times a day he prayed the Bible tells us. How many of us can say that we pray 3 times a day without fail?
I know that I can't say that.
I will be brutally honest and tell you that I'm not there yet. Oh yes, there are times that I do pray 3 times in a day, but as for being that disciplined each and every day without fail, I must say no. But I do want to! God is still working on me!
God has at times brought to my remembrance Daniel's prayer habits.

I think sometimes to myself, how much closer I would walk with Jesus if I did pray 3 times a day.
What kind of World would we be living in if all of us would pray and give of ourselves 3 times a day?
That's a thought isn't it??
Another portion of this chapter stands out and rings so true and echoes what is mentioned in other passages of the Bible. Particularly the Book of Proverbs.
If I paraphrase, it kinda goes like this:
Those who dig a pit for another will fall into it themselves.
This is what the presidents and princes of the King got in the end. For all their scheming against God's man, they were thrown into the same den that they had prepared for Daniel!
I just have to say this, This also reminds me of Haman in the book of Esther.. He was hung on the same gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai!
Isn't it amazing that if you just know the bible, these stories come back to your remembrance and the entire Word of God makes perfect sense in every way.

Daniel is the perfect example of one who DID what was right yet STILL suffered persecution but the really important part is that God DELIVERED HIM in the end!
So, when faced with persecution what are you going to do?
I say let's pray!

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