The Book of Daniel, Daniel, Friend of The Lions, Daniel 6:16-27 - Lesson 27
Our Lord is teaching us in Chapter six that Christians will be persecuted for their faith, even to the place of such persecution coming from the authority of the state.
As Daniel chose to obey God rather than men we also may be compelled to break laws which oppose the law of God.
But along with persecution we are assured that God is able to deliver His people.
It may be from death or it may be through death but God will deliver.
This chapter illustrates the importance of prayer and the living of a disciplined life with Godís word implanted in the heart in such a way that character comes to the fore in times of crisis.
Today we enter Chapter six of Daniel where we find the king in a quandary as to what to do, now that he has been pressed by the corrupt presidents and princes to carry out the edict of the recent law that he enacted.
The corrupt men of Babylon have had their way, for the trap they had set for Daniel requires the king to honor his word for the law of the Medes and Persians was such that law, once made, could not be changed.
The king had agreed that no petition, save to himself, should be made to any god for 30 days not realizing that such a law to Daniel, would be a law against his God.
The trap was set and the trap was sprung and Daniel was in its grips.
The king, when he realized that his favorite, Daniel, was in the trap was sore displeased with himself and because he had high regard for Daniel, made every effort to deliver him but all efforts were to no avail.
He realized that the law must be carried out but he also recognized that Danielís God is the only one to deliver him if deliverance is to come.
The king recognized his limited power but he also recognized the unlimited power of Danielís God to shut the mouths of the lions for this is revealed in:
Daniel 6:16-18, 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. 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. 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.
Notice the parallel of this account to our Lordís burial following his crucifixion.
There was a fear by the Jewish authorities that his body would be stolen and bodily resurrection claimed by his disciples, so guards were placed to verify the fact the his body was secure and not free to be taken by his disciples.
The same caution takes place in this entombment of Daniel.
The king seals the den with his signet and requires the same of his lords, most likely the accusers, lest they say the king rescued him before the lions could have their way.
Because of this caution on the part of the king, the result is that God will receive the glory for Danielís deliverance, for there is no other source for such a deliverance.
King Darius was of an understanding heart for he encouraged Daniel by telling him that the God whom he serves continually will deliver him.
It is easy to see the great esteem that the king felt for his servant Daniel.
He knew he must do what he had to do but he also was heartbroken in the doing of it.
How Darius had such a heart as to encourage Daniel with such words exalting his God, I do not know.
From where did that heart come?
Certainly Danielís testimony was what got Daniel his appointment over all the presidents and princes.
In other words this king knew Daniel well.
Remember the king recognized his excellent spirit.
It almost seems as if Daniel won him to the Lord and because of this he could say with such assurance, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
Certainly he knew the history of Daniel with regard to Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar and his dream and wall writing interpreting abilities.
So after the king commends Danielís faithful and constant obedience, accompanied with words that tell him of Godís deliverance to come, he reluctantly lowers him into the lionís den.
He then places a stone cover on itís entrance, seals the stone, and most likely, but reluctantly gives instructions for the lions to enter the den.
Now the question is: Whose sleep is most interrupted that night?
From the ultimate outcome, which we know of course, Daniel gets a good nightís sleep while the kingís night is not so peaceful.
The king did not hear the words of Godís angel to the lions to keep their mouths shut that night.
Perhaps he said: Lions, my servants, keep your mouths shut tonight and also I want you to provide a pillow to my servant Daniel.
The lions growled a "Yes, Lord" in answer and immediately complied and faithful Daniel lay his head on the mane of one of the lions and he slept comfortably though the night.
This lesson should be impressed on our minds when we fear, for our Lord is able to deliver even to the point of changing natural things for our benefit.
He knew every lion my name and mane.
He talked to the animals and they listened and obeyed.
Touch not my servant Daniel in whom I am well pleased and let him have his rest.
Another lesson is that the child of God should be able to rest easy in the most difficult of circumstances.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.
But rest came not to the king for the king tossed and turned upon his bed wondering if his encouragement to Daniel about the deliverance of his God would be realized.
Daniel 6:19-24, 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. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lionsí 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 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. 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.
The long night is over, a fitful night for the king who had been deceived by his princes and presidents.
He quickly made his way to the den of lions, hoping that his words of verse 16: Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee, were rightly said.
He now asks the question if this came about.
Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
Darius had every hope that he would find Daniel divinely delivered.
He had not the power to deliver, but God had every power over his own creatures.
The king spoke with an afflicted voice down the mouth of the den and carefully listened for an answer in return.
The lions were quiet. Was it due to a satisfying meal?
Were their stomachs filled?
To the kingís everlasting relief Danielís voice lifted up to his ears from the den.
ÖÖÖÖÖ.., O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lionsí 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.
Notice how quickly Daniel gives glory to God for delivering him through His angel.
Not by might nor by power but by my spirit sayeth the Lord.
The kingís might, the kingís power was not enough to save Daniel but Godís Spirit did the deed.
We learn here that angels have power to shut the mouths of lions.
God created lionís mouths and He can open them and close them at will.
Our God was able to deliver Daniel and He is the same today and we can be sure that he can deliver us.
We can thank God that this account has been preserved to assure us that God is able to deliver His people, when men are totally unable to do so.
So joy filled the kingís heart when Daniel answered his call.
He quickly gave orders to remove Daniel from the lionís den.
I suppose immediately the stomachs of the lions began to growl with hunger for they went to bed hungry last night.
The angelís hand was removed and their mouths were open revealing big sparkling sharp teeth ready to consume.
They did not wait long, for an alternate menu was provided.
A much broader menu providing for a variety of tastes.
The king gave orders to arrest those who had maliciously accused Daniel, along with their families, and had them cast into the den of lions.
Some skeptics would perhaps say that the king made sure the lions were well filled before Daniel was cast into the den and they had no stomach for Daniel because they were filled and therefore Daniel was untouched.
Those skeptics can also shut their mouths for as the feet of these corrupt officials touched the den floor the lions quickly pounced upon them and as quickly they were devoured.
The angel of the Lord indeed shut and opened their mouths at Godís will.
Daniel 6:25-27, 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. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
This is in marked contrast to the former degree, that of petitions coming to the king, and only the king for 30 days.
The king decides this glorious event needs to be told to all in the kingdom.
But the main thrust of this tract that the king sends to his subjects is the glory of the God of Daniel.
It is difficult to believe that these words come from anyone other than a believer in Jehovah, the God of Daniel.
It is a similar declaration to that of Nebuchadnezzar who also declared his trust in God.
This message acknowledges God as the sovereign God.
A God far greater than any king of the earth, a God unlike any king for He is a God whose kingdom shall never be destroyed.
He is the God to whom all petitions must come, for he is the one who can deliver.
Since God had done what the king could not do in delivering Daniel, God is the only One whom men should worship and the One to whom their petitions in prayer should be made.
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Solomon said "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.
Who is at the end of this thing and who is not?
Daniel continues to stand and his enemies have literally been consumed.
Daniel continues his long ministry under Darius and well into the reign of Cyrus the Persian, the king whom God uses to deliver the captive Jews back to their land to rebuild the temple.