“When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God. The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help. They went straight to the king and reminded him of the royal decree that he had signed.’Did you not,’ they said, ‘sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions’ den?’
‘Absolutely,’ said the king. ‘Written in stone, like all the laws of the Medes and Persians.’ Then they said, ‘Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, ignores you, O king, and defies your decree. Three times a day he prays.’ At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix he’d put him in. He worked at it the whole day long. But then the conspirators were back: ‘Remember, O king, it’s the law of the Medes and Persians that the king’s decree can never be changed.’ The king caved in and ordered Daniel brought and thrown into the lions’ den. But he said to Daniel, ‘Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this.’ A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel’s fate. The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting. At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?’
‘O king, live forever!’ said Daniel. ‘My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.’ When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.” Daniel 6:10-23 (MSG)
Growing up, we all liked to go to the zoo and see all the animals. From the zebras to lions to the goats, there were some animals that you could pet in the petting zoo, while others stood at a distance with a barrier separating you from them. Most people don’t want to find themselves in with the lions, even if they are supposedly tame. The level of risk and danger keeps us at a distance. We don’t want to put our lives in jeopardy. And in life, our aversion to adversity keeps us standing at a distance, wondering if God will come through for us.
Daniel had been conspired against by his enemies. As a result of a decree, no person in the land was to worship anything or anyone besides the King. Set as a trap to get Daniel, Daniel continued to faithfully look to God. Daniel was doing that which was right; he was honoring God. In the midst of Daniel honoring God, his conspirators caught him in the act of praying. According to the decree, the sentence for a person caught worshiping any god would be for them to be thrown into the lion’s den. Sunday school has taught us about the lion’s den. We see pictures with tame lions laying around Daniel. Yet, the reality was that the lions were hungry, and whatever was thrown in the den would be eaten. This was a mammoth situation; Daniel’s very life was on the line. It wasn’t Daniel’s masterful taming skills that caused the lions to shrink back; it was God. Daniel was still sitting on the dirt, surrounded by large animals that could end his life at any moment. He was at the darkest moment of his life, and God was still present. Daniel knew that God was with him, and he placed his whole trust in God. Interestingly, the ungodly king even had confidence in God. Sometimes we can think that there is a direct prescription for us to follow. If we follow God and pray, then nothing bad will happen to us. We won’t have to face difficulties and challenges; however, Daniel’s life attests to something quite different. Daniel was in the lion’s den. God did not save him from entering the lion’s den; his plan was a little different. God was going to deliver Daniel from the lions in order that all may know God’s glory. And God may allow you to walk through a difficulty in order that all may know His glory. Today, you may be standing at the brink of the darkest hour in your life. It might seem that all is over and that it is too hard to trust Jesus to help you. When it is too hard to trust Jesus, trust Him anyway. When the stone was placed over the lion’s den, the miracle was just beginning. It wasn’t up to what Daniel could do; he had to trust that God would work on his behalf. Even if it seems like you are doing everything right, realize that your ability to trust God through adversity will be the thing that pulls you through. God’s greatest miracles are yet to happen in our lives. Reach out and trust God to work strategically and masterfully on your behalf.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.